The world’s top energy-efficient homes: A new study
New York’s biggest cities are being squeezed by the growing demand for energy-efficiency housing.
And it’s putting homeowners at a serious disadvantage: A study from The Economist and New York University has found that the average household in New York City can’t afford to replace the power grid in its homes.
New York has the highest average home energy bill in the world, according to the Economist’s Energy Saving Index.
And that includes power, water, air, heating and cooling.
But many residents don’t have the financial means to replace those appliances and equipment, the study found.
The average American has just a quarter of the electricity needed to heat and cool an average home in New England, and only half of the water needed to flush toilets.
That’s an expensive burden for homeowners.
The city also has a much higher percentage of households without heat pumps than most other big cities, the researchers found.
And in some areas, the demand for water is so high that the water-supply system has to be upgraded.
That means some of the largest water-purification plants in the U.S. are going to have to be closed.
The study found that some homes in New Yorkers’ neighborhoods may not even have enough water to flush their toilets or heat their homes.
The authors, David Beeson and Josephine Houghton, found that nearly half of New Yorkers have a water problem.
Many of the biggest cities have also had more than 2.5 million power outages, and more than 4 million homes are without electricity.
New Yorkers may be getting less than they need, according for example to a recent report from the city’s energy commission.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t save money, said Beeson, a professor of environmental engineering at the University of Connecticut.
“The reality is that the people who are not going to do anything are going the way of the dodo,” he said.
He said many homeowners are simply getting a bad deal from utilities.
In New York, some of New York State’s biggest utility companies, including the Public Service Commission, have agreed to make up the difference with rebates to pay customers who have no power.
New Jersey has a similar rebate program, and Pennsylvania is considering one as well.
The Bloomberg administration is also looking into ways to encourage homeowners to purchase energy-saving appliances and upgrades, including retrofits to existing homes.
Some of those options are already in place.
A Bloomberg administration policy that encourages homeowners to buy energy-cutting appliances is being rolled out to thousands of homeowners in New Jersey.
But homeowners still need to consider other factors when buying a new home, like the energy efficiency of the building and the amount of space available.
And many experts worry that energy efficiency is only part of the equation.
In an effort to reduce the demand on power, New York is spending billions of dollars on new power plants, while some cities are cutting back on their own power.
That leaves a gap in the market, Beeson said.
“If we don’t do something to address the lack of affordable energy for our residents, then the entire energy market is going to collapse,” he told NBC News.
New Yorker Eric Kohn is a freelance writer.
He previously wrote about energy and the environment for The Atlantic, The Guardian and other outlets.
Follow Eric on Twitter: @erickohn