2023 Progress Report on NYCHA’s Sustainability Agenda

This is a progress report for the Sustainability Agenda released in 2021

Energy and Carbon

Energy and Carbon
Health And Wellbeing

Health And Wellbeing

Resource Management

Resource Management


NYCHA’s Sustainability Agenda, released during NYC Climate Week 2021, is NYCHA’s 5-year roadmap for creating healthier, safer, and more comfortable homes for residents. The Agenda is based on the five sustainability themes of Carbon and Energy, Health and Wellbeing, Community, Facilities and Resource Management, and Economics. It’s guided by the following principles:

  • Sustainable Design – Ensure that New York City will have an affordable and thriving housing stock for the generations to come

  • Integration – Ensure environmental and social sustainability is integrated into all aspects of NYCHA’s work

  • Innovation – Implement innovative technical solutions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, waste, water consumption, etc.

  • Market Transformation – Use NYCHA’s purchasing power to drive and influence industry

  • Inclusive – Use an ethical and inclusive model to execute projects and support residents

The second update to the 2021 Sustainability Agenda comes a year and a half after the Agenda’s release, but significant progress has already been made. For new initiatives, NYCHA is laying the groundwork for efforts that will scale up in coming years. In 2022, New York City was selected as a finalist for the C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Award in recognition of NYCHA's Sustainability Agenda, and a $70 million initial investment was made as part of the Clean Heat for All challenge. As of Earth Day 2023, the following are summary updates to all goals and strategies included in the Sustainability Agenda.

Goal 1: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050

Key strategies NYCHA relies on to reach its ambitious GHG reduction goal are building electrification, expanded solar installations, expanding reliance on electric vehicles, and installing micromobility infrastructure at NYCHA developments.

Below are the highlights of work accomplished as of Earth Day 2023.

Commitments for Goal 1

Strategy 1 – Implement NYCHA's GHG Reduction Roadmap

  • Energy Performance Contracts (EPC) – Financed $50.4 million in EPC projects since April 2022. This includes water efficiency, heating upgrades at Adams, Queensbridge North, and Queensbridge South.

  • Proptech Program – JLL and UrbanSense have completed the first round of Proptech sourcing. Over 200 applications from Proptech vendors were received and the top 30 pilot candidates are now being reviewed by NYCHA, DCAS, and EDC. Selected vendors will be invited to a pitch session, after which a feasibility analysis will be done for each of the final pilots selected.

Strategy 2 – Advance electrification and deep energy retrofits

  • Clean Heat for All – The heat pump demonstration units will be delivered by Midea in May 2023 and by Gradient in December 2023. Once delivered, they will be installed as a pilot in 24 apartments at Woodside and tested over the course of the 2023-24 heating season. NYCHA has completed electrical work in the apartments at the pilot site in preparation for the heat pump installation. NYCHA, with its consultant Cycle Architecture, completed design for new energy-efficient windows – these will be installed along with the heat pumps. NYCHA is in the process of procuring a window manufacturer to provide the new windows.

  • First Electric Space Heating and Hot Water NYCHA Building – Hoe Avenue-East 173rd Street (1700 Hoe Avenue) is NYCHA’s first building to substantially complete electrification of space heating and hot water. The through-wall air source heat pumps are providing heating and cooling since March 2023; domestic hot water will be turned on by the end of the summer.

  • Decarbonization Map – NYCHA’s Decarbonization Map is updated as of April 2023.

Strategy 3 – Expand distributed energy resources

  • Solar - NYCHA has 3 megawatts (MW) of roof leases for community solar at 5 developments completed, and two leases for an additional 3.1 MW were signed in February and March of 2023. NYCHA plans to release a solicitation for up to 10 MW of additional community solar in April 2023.

    In addition, 3.7 MW of solar has been installed or is in construction in PACT sites, leading to a total of 6.7 MW of solar across the entire portfolio.

  • Battery Storage - NYCHA is working with NYPA on an RFP for battery storage with solar at Borinquen Plaza I to support critical systems – the RFP is expected to be released in May 2023.

Strategy 4 – Expand electric vehicle programs

Note: formerly known as "Expand electric vehicle program". This commitment will now include micromobility as well as electric vehicles.

  • Electric Vehicles (EV) Program - NYCHA has 87 vehicles in its fleet of 933 that are electric of hybrid – 9% of its fleet.

  • Electric Micromobility Charging Stations – NYCHA and Con Edison will install outdoor charging and storage stations for micromobility devices at four developments – Queensbridge North and South in Queens, De Hostos in Manhattan, and Van Dyke in Brooklyn. This year Con Edison will release a request for proposals (RFP), seeking a vendor to provide the outdoor charging infrastructure and subsequent operations and maintenance of the installed equipment.

    Additionally, in 2022, NYCHA submitted a grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) for electric micromobility charging and storage infrastructure at NYCHA.

Goal 2: Cultivate healthy and resilient communities based on design excellence

NYCHA strives to ensure that it is here to serve future generations, and to accomplish that we must adapt to the changing climate and landscape by incorporating best practices in energy, sustainability, and resiliency.

Below are the highlights of work accomplished as of Earth Day 2023.

Commitments for Goal 2

Strategy 5 – Update the NYCHA Design Guidelines and adopt sustainability standards

  • Design Guidelines – NYCHA hired Dattner Architects in Q1 2023 to create a web-based database that will host all NYCHA design standards for internal agency and external use by consultants. Dattner is currently creating the framework for the database that will host all NYCHA future standards and they will be highlighting any gaps and/or updates that NYCHA must address to current details and/or specifications. The pilot database will be live by the end of 2023.

Strategy 6 – Ensure healthy and hazard-free indoor environments

  • Roof Fan Replacement Program –NYCHA has completed the replacement of roof fan assets. Of 8,436 roof fans within its scope, NYCHA installed 6,188 new roof fans and retained 2,248 roof fans based on the assessment provided by the third-party engineers.

  • Leak Procedure Pilot 2.0 – NYCHA continues to implement Leak Standard Procedure Pilot 2.0 at Brevoort, Low Houses and Roosevelt Houses (Brooklyn), evaluate the response to the leaks and make operational and IT adjustments.

  • Lead Outreach and Remediation – In July 2022, NYCHA officially launched the TEMPO Abatement Program, which performs lead abatement in occupied apartments, prioritizing apartments with children under the age of 6. To ensure safe work practices, residents are relocated to hotels during the abatement process. As of February 15, 2023, NYCHA has abated 524 apartments through the TEMPO Abatement Program, and an additional 1,497 through move-outs and other programs.

  • Healthy Start @ NYCHA –The Healthy Start @ NYCHA program was launched in March 2022. The program works across systems to ensure expecting NYCHA families have a safe home and connections to supportive resources. In its first year the program served approximately 600 families that voluntarily disclosed a pregnancy to NYCHA. The Healthy Start team connects residents to resources across a network of 75 partners and liaises with 13 NYCHA operations units to break down silos and empower teams to address in-unit hazards for families. In collaboration with Environmental Health and Safety the program has conducted over 300 hazard inspections in the homes of growing families.

    Last May the program’s innovative cross-sectoral work was recognized on a national maternal health equity panel at CLPHA’s Housing summit alongside a representative of the White House’s Maternal Health Initiative.

Strategy 7 – Expand the Stormwater Infrastructure program

Note: formerly known as "Expand the Green Infrastructure program." This commitment will now include green infrastructure, multi-functional cloudburst, and Resilience Hub projects.

  • Green Infrastructure Projects – Substantial completion of green infrastructure assets has been reached at 17 NYCHA developments in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Construction kickoff at one additional project is expected in second quarter of 2023. Design work for an additional 17 new green infrastructure projects has been wrapped up and a construction manager has been hired.

  • Cloudburst Projects – In January 2023, NYCHA solicited teams comprising Engineering and Landscape Architecture firms for five cloudburst projects with a total budget of $85 million —Breukelen Houses, Nostrand Houses, Woodside Houses, Ingersoll Houses, and Butler Houses—to design multi-functional cloudburst solutions including above and below grade stormwater management and surface-level features which protect against the worst effects of climate change and provide resident-serving amenities.

    Another cloudburst project at South Jamaica is in procurement with construction anticipated to start in Fall 2023.

    A cloudburst resiliency project at Clinton Houses has begun and is currently in the pre-design phase. Geotechnical analysis, site selection and conceptual design is ongoing. A landscape architect is being procured by NYCHA to develop the vegetative assets and resident-serving amenities. This project is the outgrowth of a FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation Study and will be designed by DEP. It will be constructed by NYCHA through an $8.5 million FEMA BRIC grant.

Goal 3: Empower residents through community activation and workforce development

Through community activation, career development, and expansion of green spaces, NYCHA can support residents’ needs as it creates more sustainable spaces.

Below are the highlights of work accomplished as of Earth Day 2023.

Commitments for Goal 3

Strategy 8 – Connect residents to workforce development and entrepreneurship opportunities

  • Youth Workforce Development with Green City Force (GCF) – In 2022, in partnership with NYCHA, GCF’s Social Enterprise programs saw continued success boosting graduate paid experience across fields of energy, urban forestry and zero-waste as: 12 alumni completed energy audit, HVAC and retrofit projects across nearly 70 NYCHA developments; 10 alumni inventoried nearly 9,000 trees across 38 NYCHA developments; 4 alumni performed outreach to NYCHA residents as part of the City Cleanup Corps; and the GCF alumni-led Compost Power team doubled in size, continuing to support community composting at 9 NYCHA developments.

  • Compost Power – NYCHA was awarded a $195,218 grant from New York State Department of Environment Conservation for composting services at NYCHA developments. NYCHA has partnered with Compost Power, whose CEO and Founder Domingo Morales is a former NYCHA resident, to build and staff compost systems at Polo Grounds Towers and Patterson Houses. In addition to installing compost facilities at select developments for this project, Compost Power also operates composting at GCF farms. Compost Power hired 21 alumni in the past year in both full-time, six-month stepping-stone positions as well as longer-term contract roles, to widen underserved community compost access, support compost improvements at GCF Eco-Hubs and train GCF Corps members for zero-waste career tracks.

  • Clean Energy Academy – The Clean Energy Academy was awarded funding and program oversight via a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to support training 100 residents over two years for careers in the Clean Energy Industry. National Grid, Trinity Wall Street, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), RISE Power & Light, and the Northlight Foundation have committed additional in-kind funding to support training residents for careers in the Clean Energy Industry.

    NYCHA REES and Sustainability identified LaGuardia Community College as the preferred training partner for this program and hired a Program Coordinator and Outreach Specialist to recruit for the first cohort of 25 residents, scheduled to commence in Spring 2023.

    The program will be delivered to four cohorts of 25 residents each, and will include safety/industry certifications (e.g., OHSA 30), math, construction skills and tools training, workforce preparation, building science, fundamentals of building electrification, understanding energy efficiency and solar PV installation.

  • Resident Business Opportunities – NYCHA has made changes to its Procurement Policy Manual (PPM) to include provisions to ensure economic opportunities are available to residents and resident-owned businesses.

Strategy 9 – Mobilize community activation through resident-led sustainability programming

  • Sustainability Grant Program – NYCHA and the Fund for Public Housing (FPH) successfully rolled out the inaugural grant program with four resident projects awarded funds up to $5,000. Current projects are expected to be completed by November 2023. NYCHA and FPH will later re-open applications to support more resident-led projects for sustainability and climate action.

  • Resident Involvement in Procurement NYCHA's Sustainability department is incorporating residents into their procurement process across various RFPs such as Con Edison and NYCHA’s micromobility demonstration project.

Strategy 10 – Expand NYCHA farms, gardens, and urban agriculture programs

  • Farms at NYCHA program – the expansion was reinforced through a commitment in the Housing our Neighbors Plan. In 2022, Farms at NYCHA grew with the addition of new planned farms at Astoria and Castle Hill Houses. By 2025, NYCHA will establish six additional food production hubs to achieve the goal of 15 farms. Each farm will produce and distribute an average of 5,000 pounds of fresh produce a year and deliver layered health and wellness programming. To support these efforts, New York City is investing $7.1 million over three fiscal years.

Goal 4: Ensure efficient building operations and resource management

NYCHA needs significant sustainable infrastructure upgrades for waste and water management. In conjunction with improvements to equipment and resources, NYCHA is working towards building a culture of sustainability amongst its staff, especially front-line workers. Through continued staff training and recognition programs, NYCHA seeks to empower staff to build pride in their work and become environmental stewards.

Below are the highlights of work accomplished as of Earth Day 2022.

Commitments for Goal 4

Strategy 11 – Develop resilient landscapes and grounds at NYCHA

Note: formerly known as "Develop resident stewardship programs for NYCHA's resilient landscapes” and moved to Goal 4. This will include resident and staff initiatives to improve NYCHA's grounds

  • Leaf Mulching Pilot – NYCHA initiated a leaf mulching pilot in fall 2022 at Jefferson Houses in Manhattan and St. Mary’s/Moore Houses in the Bronx. Expansion of pilot is planned for 2023 pending funding.

Strategy 12 – Ensure proper maintenance and longevity of investments

  • Standard Procedures – NYCHA is reviewing janitorial and supervisors’ Standard Procedures to ensure that new sustainability investments, such as cardboard balers, are cared for in a proper manner for the lifespan of the equipment.

  • Staff Guidebook – In collaboration with NYC’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY), NYCHA is developing a caretaker’s guidebook focused on recycling collection and management. Anticipated release is 2023.

Strategy 13 – Re-envision waste management and recycling at NYCHA

Note: NYCHA will report on organic waste collection infrastructure from 2023 on.

  • Clean Curbs for All – NYCHA is piloting mechanical collection at select curbside collected locations. In 2022, NYCHA issued a Request for Proposals to pilot mechanically collected waste and recyclables in September 2023. NYCHA evaluated the proposals and issued a Recommendation to Award in April 2023. NYCHA anticipates contract award will take place in 3-4 months following VNC approvals and Comptroller registration.

  • Centralized Waste Yards – Construction/installation will start in April 2023 and will be evaluated for 6 months following construction completion. A Design-Build contract was initiated in October 2022 to redesign 7 centralized waste yards over the next year and a half. The team is progressing 75% designs and plan to start construction this summer. In parallel, Grain Collective is creating designs for the next 15 locations, with construction documents to be bid out late Summer.

  • Pneumatics System Collection – NYCHA initiated a Design-Build contract in June 2022 to retrofit Polo Grounds Towers with a pneumatic waste collection system. The DB team is due to complete design documents in Spring 2023 and the construction for the terminal building is underway. The system is designed to connect to Rangel Houses, and implementation is pending funding.

  • Organics – In 2022, NYCHA expanded on-site organics collection and processing to Polo Grounds Towers and Patterson Houses by adding 3-bin compost systems built and operated by Compost Power. NYCHA is also participating in DSNY’s expanded organics collection program, establishing new in-building organics collection (brown bins) at College Point and Leavitt in Queens and supporting sidewalk organics collection bins (SmartBins) at over 29 NYCHA sites across the 5 boroughs.

Strategy 14 – Design for circularity and recycle construction and demolition waste in Capital Projects

  • Construction & Demolition Waste – C&D specifications will be revisited through NYCHA’s forthcoming Design Standards work. Additionally, NYCHA partnered with Columbia-Fordham-CUNY students for summer 2022 internship to better quantify the percentage of C&D waste that would be recyclable.

Strategy 15 – Improve water management in buildings

  • Water Monitoring Study – NYCHA installed a water monitoring and leak identification system at Vladeck Houses. A report on the finding will be put together after monitoring the data for a year.

Goal 5: Leverage all funding and financing toward healthier and decarbonized buildings

To achieve this goal, NYCHA is implementing six strategies.

Below are the highlights of work accomplished as of Earth Day 2023.

Commitments for Goal 5

Strategy 16 – Retain ownership of energy and water savings

  • Water Baselines – NYCHA received approval from HUD for an energy performance contract (EPC) that will include water leak repair and establishment of water baseline for MCP billed sites. This will allow NYCHA to install water saving fixtures through EPCs.

Strategy 17 – Bring in more funding through the Preservation Trust

  • Preservation Trust – The next steps on establishing the Preservation Trust are: 1) developing a resident voting process - NYCHA drafted and finalized the Trust voting procedures, and the Authority is in the process of onboarding the election administrator and preparing to publicly announce sites for voting; 2) creating a new agency - NYCHA is in the process of vetting and appointing board members and creating legal and financial frameworks for the new agency; 3) develop a project delivery approach - NYCHA is working with City and federal partners on regulatory and financing requirements.

Strategy 18 – Bring in more funding through PACT

  • PACT Pipeline – As of April 2023, NYCHA has converted over 15,000 apartments to the Project-Based Section 8 program through PACT. This represents over $3.5 billion in capital investments. NYCHA also has over 21,000 apartments in the planning and engagement phase of the program. Once converted, these will represent another $4 billion in capital investments.

Strategy 19 – Earn revenue through energy and sustainability incentives and demand management programs

  • Demand Response Programs – NYCHA is enrolled in demand response programs for gas reductions in the National Grid territory. NYCHA is also enrolled in demand response programs for developments with emergency generators. NYCHA will release an RFP to further enroll locations with emergency generators and future heat pump installations.

Strategy 20 – Establish Green Revolving Fund

  • Green Revolving Fund – NYCHA has established a GRF with over $2 million placed in the fund from 2022 incentives and other programs..

Strategy 21 – Advocate for equitable investment in NYCHA

  • Carbon Trading – NYCHA continues to advocate for benefits to the Environmental Justice Communities. In particular, NYC’s Carbon Trading study outlined a scenario where under suggested Option #1, buildings not in environmental justice communities would have to buy some credits from the City in auctions, while getting most credits for free; the City would use the funds from these sales to subsidize retrofits of buildings in environmental justice communities.