Skip to content

⚡ "Making Low Income Housing Energy Efficient"

Climate 21

Photo by Steven Wei / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Tom Raftery
Guest: Ryan Cassidy | Director of Sustainability & Construction | RiseBoro Community Partnership
Category: ⚡ Energy | Energy Efficieny

Subscribe now

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:59] “In New York City, and in a lot of major urban areas, multifamily housing is one of the largest producers of greenhouse gasses and users of energy […]. So New York State and New York City realized over the last probably 15 to 20 years that we can't approach the climate problem without dealing with […] especially multifamily buildings. These are really dense buildings […] that provide the bulk of the housing in New York City.”

[3:14] “There's been a real revolution in New York State over the last 20 years with the quality of the new construction that we're building, as it relates to energy. […] On that side of the equation, there's a path forward there to build more efficient buildings. But the real challenge […] that most cities face is that most of the buildings that are there in the city are already built. […] So if we only address new construction, that's only a tiny sliver of energy consumption. So the way to get to energy reduction is to really deal with existing buildings. And so that's where the challenge comes in.”

[4:34] “The way that we've done it at RiseBoro has been to use passive house construction. Passive houses are a type of building that's been around for quite some time in Europe, and recently came back to the US in the last 10 years. And it's really all about insulation and air sealing. So if you have a really well insulated building that isn't leaky and is airtight, you can drastically reduce your loads in the building and then use far less energy. […] These are deeply efficient buildings that use anywhere between 60 and 80% less energy than a standard building.

[6:17] “New York City didn't really have much of an energy code all the way up until probably 2015. […] There's now these energy scores that you'll see on the outsides of buildings […]. So property managers and building owners don't like to have a C or D hanging outside of their beautiful residential building and tenants are becoming more aware of what that is and what it means. And so that's been one very visible policy that the city has implemented. […] What goes along with that is, ultimately penalties for not getting your building to an energy efficiency standard that the city wants to see. […] Right now it's just for informational purposes, but over time there's going to be actual fines. […] And so the idea is that it starts to drive these meaningful upgrades.”

[9:24] “Air sealing and insulation are the keys to load reduction and reducing energy use in a building. And the best way to do that with occupied buildings […] is to do it from the outside. […] And so this is an opportunity to not only change their energy profile, but to really change them from an aesthetic point of view that can be really meaningful to people as well. So recladding buildings with a really dense insulation is the best way to lower the loads and the best way to get to these deep energy retrofit savings. The second piece is broadly called electrification. And what that means is that we're moving off of fossil fuels to heat buildings and to heat hot water. And we're moving to systems that are electrical. And in almost all cases, that means an air source heat pump.”

[17:06] “We've undertaken a study with MIT over the last two years to study air quality inside existing apartments. And when you turn on a gas stove appliance in an apartment, your air quality is drastically affected. […] You're talking about air quality, that is worse than standing next to a major highway in terms of particulate matter. […] So if we can get rid of the gas appliance, and also introduce real ventilation into apartments, those are the two pathways to improve indoor air quality. And you couple that along with the decreased pests and decreased moisture intrusion, and you've got an apartment that now [is] really healthy to be in.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 29 min | 🗓️ 05/04/2022
✅ Time saved: 27 min

Subscribe now