Pratt Center Project

Sustainable Community Development

EnergyFit NYC

The EnergyFit NYC Pilot seeks to increase energy savings and reduce carbon emissions in New York City’s one- to four-family homes. The Pilot offers a specific package of common energy saving measures tailored to particular building types in order to make it easier, cheaper and quicker for homeowners to save money while also improving home comfort, health, and safety.

The EnergyFit NYC Pilot allowed Pratt Center to test program design features that we believe can have a transformative impact on the small residential energy efficiency marketplace in New York City; namely a streamlined, easy-to-understand process coupled with a standardized package of energy efficiency measures developed for specific building types. The Pilot offered a specific package of common energy saving measures tailored to a particular building typology in order to make it easier, cheaper and quicker for homeowners to save money while also improving home comfort, health, and safety.

Against the background of global climate change, an ongoing local challenge in New York City has been to increase energy efficiency in the residential sector.  Historically, New York City’s one- to four- family homes have had very low participation rates in energy saving programs, and thousands of low- and moderate-income residents in communities burdened by high energy costs and an outdated building stock have struggled to undertake the retrofit process. This is due to a number of reasons including confusing program design and implementation processes, expensive project costs, inability to secure retrofit financing, and more. The programs do not take into account the lived experience of homeowners – they are difficult to understand, time-consuming and often not a good fit for the City’s small residential building stock, such as brownstones and row houses.

EnergyFit’s first phase began in January 2016 and focused on one- and two-family, attached, gas-heated, masonry homes. Its long-term goal is to support the design of a citywide program aimed at increasing energy retrofits in a range of 1-4 family residential building types, with a focus on building a successful program for low- and moderate-income homeowners.

The Pilot built on Pratt Center's multi-year Retrofit Standardization Initiative, which confirmed that buildings built during a similar time and of similar materials with similar structural features require the same types of upgrades to maximize energy efficiency and home health and comfort.  The measures for the Pilot’s first phase included:

  • Three-tiered air sealing and weatherstripping of the building
  • Air sealing and insulation of the roof hatch 
  • Air sealing and insulation of the attic cavity 
  • Health and safety fixes, as needed, up to $400

Homes selected for the EnergyFit Pilot received this package of measures. Post-pilot analysis led Pratt Center to a series of program design recommendations for a NYC focused small homes energy efficiency program.

To view the EnergyFit Final Report, click here.  

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