Bronx Program Attempts to Tie Green-Energy Savings to Lower Rents

Many aging apartment buildings in the Bronx do not have the resources to upgrade boilers and undertake major repairs and renovations to make them more energy efficient and to improve living conditions for tenants. In response to this problem, borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. has teamed up with city housing officials to create a program that will help those buildings pay the upfront costs for energy improvements, such as replacing an old boiler, insulating windows, or installing solar panels on the roof. In return, the building owners agree to use future energy savings to keep rents low for tenants and pay back the program through leasing fees for the equipment.

The Bronx program would start this year with about $2.5 million, of which $1 million would come from Diaz’s office’s capital budget and the rest from private investors and other sources. It would be open only to buildings in the borough and would initially begin with apartment buildings with 50 or more units and eventually expand to include smaller buildings. The program would be administered by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.