Sustainable Housing: A Community Effort

GHHEditor July 26th, 2016

Carolyn Zezima, an attorney and advocate for healthy housing and food systems, is also the president of NYC Foodscape, a New York-based consulting and advocacy firm focusing on urban agriculture, sustainability, and nutrition. Zezima’s new book, Sustainable Affordable Housing Management: A Money-Saving Guide to Keeping Your Site Green, Healthy & Energy Efficient, is an invaluable tool for housing managers, tenants, and anyone in between. Zezima’s book outlines a variety of ways to create, fund, and maintain sustainable improvements in affordable housing sites. With the help of Zezima’s book, housing sites can become healthier and safer communities.

Sustainable Affordable Housing Management tackles several key areas for potential sustainable changes: sustainability planning, utility conservation, improving air quality, “going green in our daily practices”, healthy food access, and energy efficiency. In these areas, Zezima turns conversations with affordable housing and sustainability experts into concrete suggestions for change. Zezima’s book also expands upon conventional ideas of sustainability. The book shows how making changes like community gardening, green cleaning and painting procedures, limiting secondhand smoke, and improving access to healthy food are all “green” ideas that can improve housing sites and residents’ health.

Whether you’re a tenant living in an apartment building or brownstone, or a building manager or owner, we recommend checking out Zezima’s chapters to create a plan to make sustainable improvements that are important to you. The chapters include sustainability ideas for building owners, residents, employees, and the whole community to adopt. For example, building- and community-wide projects may include installing solar panels, adopting green landscaping practices or creating food waste collection and composting programs. Steps individuals can take include reducing your individual water usage or learning how to reduce how much energy you use through heating, cooling, or electricity.

Zezima’s book holds tremendous value for a variety of readers: affordable housing managers looking to improve the quality of life within their sites, residents looking for ways to make their apartments more sustainable, and tenants hoping to organize and demand for improvements at their housing complex.  Using the book as a guide, New Yorkers can become more engaged, knowledgeable, and eco-friendly residents. 

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