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NY Change Lab

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eLab Leap has launched a social change lab in the state of New York, convened by RMI, to empower and improve the lives of low-income communities and households in a clean energy future.


Today, deeply entrenched barriers continue to make it difficult for low-income communities and households in New York (over 30 percent of the total and rising) to access clean energy benefits like better health, environmental resilience, and economic growth. At the same time, a number of recent developments present interesting opportunities to address how low-income households participate in and benefit from clean energy choices. These include landmark regulatory shifts like New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding, post-Superstorm Sandy resilience efforts, ambitious state climate goals, local and city plans, and an increasing range of customer choices and emerging business models around distributed energy resources (DERs).

Today’s shifting energy landscape in New York is demanding new things of policy makers, practitioners, and communities alike. With that comes a greater need for new and nontraditional working partnerships between a broader set of stakeholders.


A social change lab is a method for bringing stakeholders together to better understand a complex problem and to work together in new ways to progress “stuck” issues. 

The New York Change Lab:

  • Works with a committed and diverse range of stakeholders who represent a “microcosm” of the players who work at the nexus of clean energy and low-income communities. We invite unlikely allies as well as established actors to the table.
  • Uses cutting-edge group process and facilitation techniques to engage stakeholders across different sectors and hierarchies, to support change at the individual, team, organization, and system levels.
  • Helps develop a shared understanding across stakeholder groups of both the current situation and opportunities to shift and improve the system.
  • Empowers key actors to innovate and lead change by supporting them to work together to develop solutions. Rather than providing solutions from outside the community, the change lab strengthens the capacity of local partners to conceive, launch, and execute initiatives in collaboration with key allies. 


The NY Change Lab engages a diverse group of organizations throughout the state, including low-income and consumer advocates; environmental groups; community-based organizations; federal, state, and local government entities; housing authorities; housing developers and managers; utilities; regulatory agencies; foundations; financiers; and distributed energy resource service providers. Participants in lab meetings to date include individuals from the following organizations:

11th Hour Project

New York Green Bank

Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE)

New York Power Authority

Association for Energy Affordability

New York State Department of Public Service


New York State Energy Research and Development Authority


New York State Homes and Community Renewal

Bright Power

Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation

Center for Working Families

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

Chhaya Community Development Corp.

Office of the Governor

Citizens for Local Power

Omni New York

Community Preservation Corporation

Pace Energy and Climate Center

Connecticut Green Bank

People United For Sustainable Housing Buffalo

Consolidated Edison


Deutsche Bank

Pratt Institute

Enterprise Community Partners

Public Utility Law Project

Environmental Defense Fund

PUSH Buffalo

Erie County Government


Goldman Sachs & Co.

Regulatory Assistance Project

Green and Healthy Homes Initiative

Ridgewood-Bushwick Management Corp.

Green City Force

Robertson Foundation

GRID Alternatives

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Housing Works

Rocky Mountain Institute

Lime Energy


Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Sallan Foundation

Lott Community Development

Solar One

National Grid


Natural Resources Defense Council

Steven Winter Associates

New York City Central Labor Council

Sustainable South Bronx

New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation

The Point

New York City Environmental Justice Alliance


New York City Housing Authority

Utility Intervention Unit

New York City Mayor's Office

WE ACT for Environmental Justice

New York Community Trust







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