Lifestyle changes aren’t enough: here’s how to make cities truly sustainable

When it comes to reducing the carbon footprint, much of the discussion is about giving up certain things, like driving less or using less energy. But it is a privilege to have the resources and the time to contemplate such changes. People still have to go to work and take care of their children. And many of the communities that are already feeling the greatest impacts of our climate change also face environmental injustices.

So, beyond lifestyle changes, we need big investments in unattractive things like infrastructure and renovations. Up to 70% of a city’s greenhouse gas emissions come from its buildings, so this is a good place to start. In New York City, a green bank is providing loans to install clean, renewable energy projects in the city and surrounding area.

The New York Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC) current series of projects include renovations to JOE NYC affordable housing in Brooklyn and the Bronx to improve energy efficiency. These improvements are expected to reduce energy and water costs by 25%. Likewise, the Marcus Garvey Apartments in Brooklyn have had solar panels and energy storage added to some of their residential buildings to reduce utility costs, improve grid reliability, and provide on-site power generation. emergencies (such as increasing disasters expected with climate change).

These changes will improve the quality of life for the hundreds of people who live in these buildings and the millions who breathe the city’s air and feel its heat. And it will fit into their life so easily that they might not even see the changes. Additionally, savings from reduced energy bills and expenses can be used to repay loans, allowing NYCEEC to grant a loan to another community.

With a decade of experience supporting energy efficiency, rooftop solar, and energy storage projects, NYCEEC strives to improve people’s lives and reduce their carbon footprint, contributing thus to make whole communities healthier, more resilient and more equitable in the face of climate change.

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