Efforts to Make NYC Public Housing
More Energy Efficient


Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg, for your leadership and vision.

Thank you, President Clinton, and the Clinton Climate Initiative, for your commitment to a greener city, nation and planet....

And to Chairman Hernandez and the New York City Housing Authority, thanks for taking a vision and turning it into results.....

New York has always stood for the newest, the biggest, and the best. If there was change to be made, New York led it. If there was an example to set, New York set it�not just for the nation but the world.

It's good to know that some things never change!

You've set an ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 30 percent by the year 2030. It is a major challenge for a major city. And it can only be met with a major team effort.

That is why I am pleased to support the concept of the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program.

Estimates show that about 70 percent of greenhouse gases in cities like New York are produced by buildings. NYCHA is the second-largest owner of residential buildings in the nation. So you are in a unique position to help solve the problem.

I want to emphasize the teamwork we've shown. NYCHA came to us in October with the idea. And, in collaboration with the New York regional office, we've been working closely with them ever since. We call this the "One-HUD" approach, and it works.

We look forward to reviewing your final submitted proposal. And we'll continue to work with the city to promote energy conservation measures as outlined in the Regional Management Plan.

Retrofitting buildings is not just good for the environment. It's good for tenants. It can reduce energy usage by 20-50 percent.

HUD spends about 10 percent of its federal budget on utilities, $4 billion nationwide. The savings can be used on repairs, expansion, or affordability. On people, not power.

We at HUD are eager to be a part of the solution. For example, our "Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency" with the Department of Energy and the EPA is working to reduce utility costs in current housing by 10 percent by 2010.

But government cannot do it alone. It's important to bring builders, bankers, and environmental and energy companies into the fold, as you've done.

The private sector should be made a true leader in this effort�not just a "cash cow" to be milked.

The CCI calls for a "business-oriented approach." I agree.

We need private sector expertise to audit the problem�and its spirit of innovation to solve the problem.

We also need a "reality check" to keep government from getting too far ahead of the curve, imposing unrealistic mandates that may look proactive, but turn out counterproductive.

HUD is happy to offer its own expertise.

We found that a five percent reduction in public housing energy usage could yield $2 billion in savings over the next decade.

That brings me to our Energy Performance Contract program. It's making a real difference right here in New York City.

It uses cost savings from reduced consumption to offset the cost of new conservation measures.

Working with the New York City Housing Authority, we've been able to replace aging hot water tanks and boilers and install energy-efficient light bulbs in hundreds of buildings across the city.

We're making great progress�and NYCHA and the mayor have been great partners.

Now we must step it up. We are not just retrofitting buildings for today, we are writing new blueprints for tomorrow.

Let me close by noting where we are. Eastchester Gardens was built in 1950. It was a time when environmental protection was not high on the public policy agenda. It would take 20 more years to pass the Clean Air Act. Even by 1975, the average car's fuel economy was still only 13 miles per gallon. And that was leaded gas, by the way!

The men and women who built Eastchester Gardens would be amazed at our progress today. I believe that decades from now our progress will be far greater than even we can comprehend.

Why not? This is New York City, after all. And this is America.

Thank you.


Content Archived: December 27, 2011