Seeing is believing. For most when you say “green roof” or “energy efficiency”, it’s not something that’s either inspiring or understandable. New York City has the capacity for leading the world in sustainable urban living, but how do we do it? With over 79% of our emissions coming from buildings, one way is through the greening of our old buildings. The Human Impacts Institute (HII) is working to make a “Human Impacts Home”, where New Yorkers will be able to touch, see, and experiment with low-cost and DIY ways to “green” a building.
The Human Impacts Home will be NYC’s first low-income, green building demonstration and education site. We will open-up the rooftop, basement, backyard and storefront of the Human Impacts Institute’s low-income co-op headquarters in Southside Williamsburg, Brooklyn (a community with some of the highest asthma rates and lowest green space-per-capita in the City), as a place to see concrete examples of sustainability-in-action. As we further develop the Human Impacts Home, we will use the site as a space for education and training on renewable energy, water conservation, consumer choice, and urban sustainable living. In addition to this, the project will partner with City and State “green” incentive programs to help community-members better understand the application processes, as well as, the on-the-ground experiences of the program. We will also be working with local design schools and sustainability management programs (already in talks with Pratt, New School, Columbia, and NYU) to develop schematics and visual representations of the demonstration building.
One of the Human Impacts Institute’s main program areas is hands-on environmental education and leadership training. In less than one year, we have provided over 250 hours of environmental education for community members in NYC and beyond, including over 14,000 participants in our public outreach programs on climate change, energy, consumer choice, creative environmental messaging, and much more. Our Ecopreneurs programs of the Human Impacts Institute offer participants individualized professional development opportunities to incorporate environmental sustainability into their professional practices. Partnering with local organizations, agencies, and institutions, participants gain experience in program development, environmental auditing, monitoring and evaluation, and leadership.
Our HII staff include Professors at Webster University and the New School, as well as official representatives of Al Gore’s, the Climate Reality Project, who have educated tens of thousands in issues of climate change, energy and consumer choice over the years. Additionally, as the coordinating partner and founders of the NYC Climate Coalition, we are also working with White Roofs, Columbia University MA Climate and Society, Green Map System, and many other groups to address climate change issues in NYC and to push for a climate neutral NYC.
The Ford Community Green Grant will provide the Human Impacts Home with enough funding to develop a full envisioning plan and proposal for the demonstration building with our partners and local community members.