Daphany Rose Sanchez is passionate about ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to energy efficiency. She even quit a position with a leading company to forge out on her own, working tirelessly to give underserved communities a seat at the table in the work to reduce New York City’s contributions to climate change.
Ms. Sanchez, 26, is the Cooper Park Houses resident behind Kinetic Communities Consulting. Founded by Ms. Sanchez in 2017, Kinetic works at the crossroads of affordable housing and energy efficiency, serving low- to moderate-income New Yorkers through education, networking, and making energy efficiency opportunities easier to understand.
Why is energy efficiency so important? The majority of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions come from energy used to heat, cool, and power buildings. These emissions contribute to the warming of the planet, so the City plans to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 80 percent by 2050.
As a Latina, native New Yorker, and public housing resident, Ms. Sanchez is a member of the community she serves, which helps her create trust with residents and, in turn, spread awareness and gain approval. “In order to get to 80 by 2050, we need to have New Yorkers at every level involved,” she said. “I want for these to be conversations all New Yorkers are having at their family dinner table, that they feel vested in.”
Ms. Sanchez has long been interested in doing her part to save the environment. She’s spent the past 10 years working in the energy field, for organizations such as ICF International, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, United Nations’ Environmental Affairs, and Solar One.
Ms. Sanchez’s experience during Superstorm Sandy was a turning point. Her parents had moved out of Cooper Park years ago to their first home in Staten Island. Due to storm flooding, the family spent hours tied together on the roof until they were rescued by boat. After the storm, she saw how engineering companies and community organizations worked together to help people rebuild and connect to opportunities; she decided to adopt this model of collaboration for her work in the energy field.
Ms. Sanchez is proud of her latest collaboration with NYCHA. Kinetic will create rooftop solar gardens at 24 buildings in 8 developments and green jobs for NYCHA residents as part of a new program, ACCESSolar (Accelerating Community Empowered Shared Solar), which aims to increase New Yorkers’ access to low-cost solar power.
Kinetic recently celebrated its one-year anniversary with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who declared an Energy-Efficiency Day in the borough thanks to Ms. Sanchez’s efforts. She plans to spend 2019 growing her business and traveling around the city speaking and advocating for her community and the planet.