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Exploring equitable electrification

Building Tomorrow Episode 1

Published February 7, 2023

Last year, we published a major research report, Grid Ready, which found that converting building heating and hot water systems from fossil fuels to electric heat pumps does not pose any near-term risk to New York City’s electric grid.

Our research and policy team recently expanded this analysis to explore how increasing power demand from building electrification impacts the grid in environmental justice communities. This new analysis, “Exploring Equitable Electrification,” found that the 15 NYC grid areas that may see the fastest electrification of heat and hot water systems and the earliest grid constraints are primarily Environmental Justice Areas. Therefore, it’s essential that building electrification policies and programs are designed to ensure an equitable transition—one that secures the benefits and mitigates potential challenges of building electrification.

On this episode of Building Tomorrow, hear from our research and policy team as they unpack the dynamics behind this new research!


Christopher Halfnight
Senior Director, Research & Policy

Chris leads Urban Green’s policy initiatives, working with stakeholders and policymakers to advance energy efficiency and green building in New York City and State. He was Vice Chair of and managed the 80×50 Buildings Partnership, a collaboration of more than 40 leading stakeholders to shape an energy performance policy for NYC’s large buildings. Prior to Urban Green, Chris was an attorney at Shearman & Sterling LLP and worked on energy policy at the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Natural Resources Defense Council. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws, and Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill University, as well as a Master’s in Environmental Management with a specialization in energy from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Danielle Manley
Manager, Policy

Danielle is responsible for advocacy, analysis and collaboration on Urban Green’s policy initiatives in New York City and State. She previously worked at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University’s Earth Institute researching and communicating local climate risk information for stakeholders in global cities and ecosystems, and served as project manager for the Third New York City Panel on Climate Change Report. Danielle also worked for nonprofits in Buffalo on environmental education and advocacy. She holds a Master’s Degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from the University at Buffalo.

Adam Schiabor
Manager, Research

Adam is responsible for conducting data analysis and research into sustainability topics. Prior to Urban Green, Adam worked at a non-profit healthcare company that was dedicated to using the Affordable Care Act to expand access to services and lower the cost of healthcare in New Mexico. Adam hold a B.S in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Oregon and a M.A in Economics from the New School for Social Research.

Exploring equitable electrification

Urban Green's Chris Halfnight, Danielle Manley and Adam Schiabor sat down to discuss our latest analysis on equitable electrification in NYC.


Prioritizing environmental justice as we electrify

Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy at WE ACT, joins Zakiyah Sayyed and Anushka Maqbool to discuss how electrification must benefit historically disadvantaged communities.


Grid Ready: Powering NYC’s All-Electric Buildings

Grid Ready looks at how power is delivered to NYC and how heat pumps will change electricity demand.