In the late 1990s, the New York City public housing authority, NYCHA, challenged manufacturers to design a new energy-efficient refrigerator. While suburban homeowners had their pick of energy-saving fridges, no one was selling an efficient model that was small enough for a typical urban apartment.
In tightly-packed places like New York City, home to more than 6,000 high-rises, many of the effects of urban canyons and urban heat are unavoidable, said John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council in New York City.
As summer heat waves converge with a surging pandemic and an impending economic collapse, energy-efficient homes are becoming particularly critical to Americans’ well-being. New York’s state government, for its part, is eyeing a long-term solution to this conundrum.
On average, heat kills more people in the United States each year than any other natural disaster. In New York City, around 120 people die from heat exposure annually. Eighty percent of them perish in their homes.