Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Cloth GEM: Green Preservation Model for New York City

Executive Summary from Crauderueff and Associates
The Community League of the Heights’ (CLOTH) Green Excellence Matrix (GEM) brings together the city’s multiple goals in a single initiative to improve quality of life and preserve affordable housing. Results sought through the Mayor’s One City Built to Last affordable housing plan, OneNYC sustainability plan, and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection Green Infrastructure Plan are being achieved through the CLOTH GEM. In sum, CLOTH is poised to save more than $4 million over the next 25 years by fully implementing the GEM, while supporting affordable housing preservation and climate resiliency.

The CLOTH GEM, developed to assess and implement the Green159 Initiative, provides a replicable model to preserve affordable housing, improve public health, and mitigate climate change.

Crauderueff & Associates with Solar 1 and CLOTH assessed a range of technologies to improve  CLOTH’s 36-building portfolio of affordable housing. We analyzed and prioritized potential improvements for sola PV (electricity), solar thermal (hot water), energy efficiency, green roofs, rain gardens, and urban farming. We used three main criteria in our analysis: economic benefits, ease of  implementation, and community revitalization. CLOTH, with the assistance of Crauderueff &  Associates, Solar One and Quixotic Systems, Inc., is implementing the first third-party financed solar thermal projects in New York State. This seminal agreement is resulting in the construction of six solar thermal projects across CLOTH’s portfolio at zero up-front cost during the first quarter of this year.

We anticipate the solar thermal improvements will save CLOTH up to $1.35M over the next 25 years.
In addition to technical feasibility, we developed partnerships and financing strategies to advance implementation of solar PV. We also have developed three potential financing strategies for CLOTH to consider with respect to solar PV on fifteen buildings: pursuing a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), developing a CLOTH Clean Energy special purpose entity, and integrating solar PV into CLOTH’s Year 15 refinancing. We anticipate solar PV will save CLOTH as much as $1.18 million over twenty-five years while leveling out the costs of nearly 3/4 of CLOTH’s energy demand. We also ballpark that basic energy efficiency measures, such as lighting improvements and participating in the NYSERDA EmPower program, will save CLOTH more than $800,000 over twenty-five years.

Green infrastructure, including green roofs and rain gardens, can further improve CLOTH’s building stock by doubling rooftop lifespan, improving air quality and enhancing public health. We have  identified fifteen candidate green roofs across CLOTH’s portfolio, and are commencing the first portfolio-wide green infrastructure project in NYC. Green roofs should be built on roofs that will not receive solar PV or thermal projects; joint solar PV + green roofs and solar thermal + green roofs  should be piloted. We also have identified six back yards to build rain gardens on 159th Street  between Amsterdam and Broadway. To fully implement the project, however, CLOTH requires additional resources and follow-on analyses, which will be pursued during Phase 2.

Finally, we provide three policy recommendations to help scale the CLOTH model citywide:
1) Develop a green predevelopment grant program; 
2) Provide grants for solar PV and solar thermal targeted to the affordable housing sector; and 
3) Develop an urban farming fund.

The following chart and two matrices summarize our key findings and recommendations. The chart  below projects the savings to CLOTH of fully implementing the GEM. Savings increase over time by off-setting increases in electricity and oil prices, as well as construction costs for roof replacements.  After year 6 the savings will increase more rapidly should CLOTH purchase the solar PV and solar  thermal systems from the 3rd party providers.

The summary GEM synthesizes the seventy-five potential projects that can be advanced through the  Green159 Initiative. The second matrix recommends building improvements with a corresponding  timeline. (The GEM matrix in the appendix demonstrates the specific locations each improvement should take place.)

The following Summary CLOTH GEM demonstrates all potential improvements to its portfolio. We analyzed all thirty-six buildings for all technologies other than rain gardens, which focused on the 159th Street buildings.
The full report is available free of charge at http://crauderueffassociates.com/reports/
by Crauderueff & Associates Green Systems http://crauderueffassociates.com/
A Report for the Community League of the Heights www.cloth159.org
February, 2016

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