Look for Carolyn Zezima’s New Book, ‘Sustainable Affordable Housing Management,’ Launching in March

You may have noticed some radio silence from the NYC Foodscape blog these last couple of months. It hasn’t been an overindulgence in holiday festivities–indeed, to the contrary, NYC Foodscape’s president, Carolyn Zezima, has been neck deep in writing mode finishing her first book, Sustainable Affordable Housing Management: A Guide to Saving Money and Keeping your Site Green, Healthy and Energy-EfficientThe book, to be released in March 2016 by Vendome Group, LLC, focuses on strategies and solutions that existing affordable housing sites around the country can use to make their sites more environmentally sustainable and healthy places for their residents.

Drawing on the expertise of housing providers that are leading the way in green, sustainable affordable housing, the guide gives advice on creating sustainability plans, measuring success, conserving water and energy, and creating procedures for green practices, such as integrated pest management, green landscaping, green painting and cleaning, composting and recycling, creating healthy food access and gardens, and ways to fund these improvements.

How does sustainable affordable housing relates to food? Easy. One of the most basic obstacles to creating a healthy food system is the ability for people to afford to live healthy lives and to connect to a healthy food system. Without affordable housing that is environmentally safe, healthy and sustainable, the rest of the food equation exists in a vacuum and ignores the daily realities of what people need to live healthy lives. And affordable housing providers are in a unique position to help their residents meet these needs.


Overview of Book Contents

Affordable housing is more than just a place to live. Providing high quality affordable housing gives households the opportunity to succeed and to stay healthy in their homes. Creating a sustainability plan for “green” operations and healthy site practices can help make this happen. By setting goals for reducing overall energy costs, both for the site and for residents, and taking steps to improving the site’s quality of life by improving its air and other health impacts, creating plans for sustainability is an essential part of a site’s “triple bottom line.” Doing this helps owners and managers find ways to:

  • Increase the value and quality of the site;
  • Reduce operating costs;
  • Conserve energy and environmental resources; and
  • Improve resident and employee well-being.

This doesn’t just help the site save money. A well-implemented sustainability plan also helps low-income residents succeed by helping them save money and become healthier, through sustainable site practices like community gardens and CSAs that increase their access to healthy food, and green landscaping and cleaning policies and training that reduce their exposure to chemicals in their units and the site’s common areas.

Here is an overview of the sections and chapters in the first edition of the book.

Introduction: Your Site: Seven Generations Ahead

Section 1: Charting the Course: Planning for Environmental Sustainability at Affordable Housing

Chapter 1: How to Draft Effective and Measurable Environmental Sustainability Plans
Chapter 2: Set Baseline for Progress and Prioritize Improvements with Data Collection, Benchmarking and Energy Audits

Section 2: Power Down for Savings: Conserving Energy and Water

Chapter 3: Eight Site Improvements to Reduce Water Usage at Your Site
Chapter 4: Focus on Resident Conservation to Reduce Site’s Energy & Water Consumption

Section 3: Operation Green: Maintaining a Green and Healthy Site Inside and Out

Chapter 5: Seven Site-Wide Strategies to Improve Your Site’s Indoor Air Quality
Chapter 6: Five Tips for Creating a Green Cleaning Program at Your Site
Chapter 7: Keep Residents and Staff Healthy and Avoid Legal Problems with Safe, Healthy Painting Procedures
Chapter 8: Use Integrated Pest Management to Reduce Harm to People, Property and the Environment
Chapter 9: Use Green Landscaping Practices to Conserve Water, Reduce Chemical Use and Create Safe, Healthy Soil
Chapter 10: Step Up Waste Reduction and Recycling Program
Chapter 11: Seven Tips for a Successful Food Waste Collection & Composting Program

Section 4: More than a Place to Live: Good Food & Healthy Living for Residents and Staff

Chapter 12: Healthy Food Access: Improve Resident Health, Save Site Money
Chapter 13: Take 10 Steps to Create a Successful Community Garden for Residents
Chapter 14: Six ‘Healthy and Green’ Resident Education and Engagement Strategies to Get Buy-In for Your Sustainability Goals and Help Save Them Money
Chapter 15: Going Smoke-Free Is Good for Resident Health and Your Site’s Bottom Line

Section 5: Green for Green: Paying for Major Energy-Saving Improvements and Retrofits

Chapter 16: Join ‘Better Buildings Challenge’ to Take Advantage of HUD Energy Efficiency Incentives
Chapter 17: The Money is Out There: Twelve Categories of Financing to Help You Pay for Renewable Energy and Efficiency Improvements for Your Site

Stay tuned for publication links, price and related Webinar information. The book is designed to be regularly supplemented with new and revised material, so it will continue to expand and provide more useful information and new chapters, such green design standards, green roofs, grant writing, active design and other topics.

About the Author

Carolyn E. Zezima, Esq. is the president of NYC Foodscape (www.nycfoodscape.com), and a consultant with a track record of grass-rooting and managing organizations in the nonprofit sector. She has worked with food and farming enterprises and food policy organizations in Chicago and New York to promote healthy sustainable food systems, urban agriculture and regional farming, including founding The Talking Farm, “The Farm with Something to Say,” an urban farming and educational enterprise in Evanston, Ill.

While in Illinois, Zezima also served as director of Chicago’s Green City Market and on food policy councils that helped to create new community farmers markets and draft and pass legislation, such as the Illinois Food, Farm and Jobs Act.

Zezima serves on numerous farming- and food-related committees and boards, including American Farmland Trust’s Farmland Advisors program, Harvest Home Farmers Markets, Partnership for a Healthier Manhattan, and NYC Food Forum. She has chaired policy committees for local food organizations and has co-drafted several food policy and sustainability proposals, including food policy recommendations to include in the revised PlaNYC2030, and the Recipe for the Future of Food in New York City.

Zezima also practiced law after graduating from Duke University School of Law, and is a licensed member of the New York, California, and Illinois bars.


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