Press Release




New state-of-the-art cooling systems will be installed in two buildings as part of NYCHA's ongoing effort to make public housing more resilient to climate change.

NEW YORK – The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced today the launch of a new cooling system initiative to better protect senior residents from extreme heat in the face of rising temperatures.

A "smart" air conditioning pilot is currently underway at Meltzer Tower, a NYCHA senior building in Manhattan, where the Authority – for the first time ever – will provide residents with new air conditioner units. The cooling units will be linked to a networked central control system to ensure senior residents remain safe and comfortable in their homes during dangerous heat waves.

Simultaneously, a heat pump pilot at Fort Independence Houses in the Bronx incorporates energy-efficient technology for both cooling and heating within NYCHA buildings. This effort can benefit the developments' heating infrastructure and improve the overall quality of life for senior residents.

The technology is detailed in a new report titled "Sheltering Seniors from Extreme Heat," researched by Arup, a global design, engineering, and consulting firm. The report is an assessment of improvements to NYCHA's senior housing that would allow residents to remain safely in their homes during a summer heat wave and power outage.

There are more than 62,000 NYCHA residents who are 65 years of age and older – the fastest growing age group among NYCHA's population and those who are at the highest risk for heat-related illnesses.

"Extreme heat is one of the greatest threats for our growing community of senior residents," said NYCHA Executive Vice President for Capital Projects Deborah Goddard. "The roadmap we've created builds on our ongoing commitment to implement long-term, innovative solutions to keep our most vulnerable residents safe."

"Air conditioning saves lives," said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor's Office of Resiliency. "Expanding access to air conditioning is one of the most effective tools we have to protect seniors and other vulnerable New Yorkers as climate change drives temperatures higher and causes longer and more dangerous heat waves."

"NYCHA is addressing head-on the health inequities of our warming climate by developing sustainable infrastructure to protect the City's most heat-vulnerable senior populations at home even during power outages," said Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot. "We expect results from these pilots – air conditioning with high efficiency technology – to provide valuable insight and tools to make both NYCHA and other buildings resilient to climate change, which will protect the health of all New Yorkers."

"Arup is very proud to have worked with NYCHA on this important piece of research," said Arup Associate Principal for Energy and Sustainability Cameron Thomson. "Climate change is and will continue to have a significant, increasing impact on our cities and the way we live. NYCHA's progressive focus on the impacts of our changing climate for its residents demonstrates the kind of change we need in our approach to planning, designing, and managing our built environment into the future."

The report compares the benefits and costs of physical upgrades to NYCHA senior housing, including energy-efficient façades, mechanical cooling, and on-site generator backup. The pilot program supports Mayor Bill de Blasio's OneNYC efforts to become the most resilient, equitable, and sustainable city in the world.

Click here to view the report.

About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)

NYCHA's mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. Over 390,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA's 316 public housing developments and PACT/RAD developments formerly managed by NYCHA around the five boroughs. Over 190,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. For more information, visit, and for regular updates on NYCHA news and services, connect with us via