Pratt Center Research

Energy Efficiency

EnergyFit NYC Interim Report

Report  |  October 19, 2016

In January 2016, the Pratt Center for Community Development launched the EnergyFit NYC Pilot to test an innovative new approach to implementing energy retrofit measures. There are 863,867 one- to four-family homes in NYC, the vast majority of which have not received an energy retrofit. This interim report presents preliminary results from the EnergyFit Pilot, which tested an approach that promises to dramatically scale residential retrofits in NYC’s dense low- and moderate-income communities by creating standard retrofit packages that can be applied to these hundreds of thousands of homes without a costly energy audit and without compromising energy savings.

Due to the prevalence of the typical New York City row house, the Pilot focused on retrofitting 1- and 2-family, attached, gas-heated, masonry homes built before 1930. Through Pratt Center’s multi-pronged recruitment approach, a large number of NYC homeowners received information on EnergyFit NYC and energy efficiency in general. In the end, Pratt Center connected with 730 interested homeowners, conducted 414 intakes and 89 assessments and completed 32 retrofits within the first six months of 2016. Each home had the same package of work installed, and included:

  • Three-tiered air sealing and weatherstripping of the residence(s) and the basement 
  • air sealing and insulating the roof hatch 
  • air sealing and insulating the attic cavity 
  • health and safety tests including testing for high levels of carbon monoxide and gas leaks

Blower door tests conducted the day of the retrofits demonstrated the positive impact of the retrofits on these homes: on average, homes experienced a 29% reduction in air infiltration (e.g. cool air entering during the winter requiring greater use of the heating system to maintain a set temperature or the reverse for air conditioning).

Based on our efforts to date, Pratt Center’s interim findings are:

  • Similar homes call for similar energy efficiency measures 
  • Homeowners immediately experience the benefits of the standard package
  • Energy efficiency home improvements are in high demand 
  • Homeowners desire a simple, user-friendly energy retrofit process 
  • A standardized approach can shorten the process from outreach to retrofit completion and bring welcome convenience to homeowners
  • Resolution of health and safety issues should be part of any energy retrofit program
  • Contractor feedback has been positive and opportunities to reduce soft costs exist

Following the winter heating season in 2017, Pratt Center will conduct a full analysis of the Pilot’s impact based on qualitative homeowner feedback and weather normalized utility bill analysis.  

 Year-1 of the EnergyFit NYC Pilot was supported by the New York City Council.

Learn more: EnergyFit NYC  |  Retrofit Standardization Study