Retrofit NYC Block by Block brought six neighborhoods in four boroughs into an unprecedented campaign to get New Yorkers to reduce their energy use through smart investments in their homes. Energy retrofits —home improvements that reduce the use of heating fuel, electricity, and water—can significantly reduce energy bills, make homes healthier and more comfortable, and reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions.
The Pratt Center for Community Development worked with community-based organizations to tap each neighborhood’s social networks—block associations, houses of worship, businesses, and other local institutions—to get the word out to community residents and to demystify the retrofit process so that residents could create "green blocks."
Retrofit NYC Block by Block packaged and explained financial incentive programs that cover some (and sometimes all) of the costs of energy upgrades. These included incentives from the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), Con Edison, National Grid, the Weatherization Assistance Program and tax incentives. Retrofit NYC Block by Block also helped build new partnerships with job training organizations and contractors to create employment opportunities for community residents.
Retrofit NYC Block by Block was piloted in 2009–2010 as Retrofit Bedford Stuyvesant, in partnership with Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. The Pratt Center published a report, "Retrofit Bedford Stuyvesant, Block by Block: 2009-2010 Pilot Summary Report," summarizing the impact of the pilot phase and drawing lessons for future outreach efforts.
A second report, "Community Energy Efficiency Programs: A National Survey" assesses community-based energy efficiency outreach programs nationally and identifies best practices in the field.