CLOTHCommunity League of the Heights | New York, NY
Green Excellence Matrix


Community League of the Heights’ (CLOTH) Green Excellence Matrix (GEM) is a groundbreaking sustainability initiative designed to improve the quality of life in Washington Heights.  We have taken a multi-faceted approach to increasing environmental awareness, affordability and health in our community by engaging with the latest innovations in greening and community development.

greenhouse street view (2)

Image provided by Urban Quotient

With an eye to increased affordability and environmental consciousness, CLOTH has begun the process of outfitting its impressive housing portfolio with a comprehensive set of green technologies such as Energy Efficiency measures, Solar PV (for electricity), Solar Thermal (for heat), Green Roofs and Rain Gardens.  So far, we have identified 15 roofs that are viable for solar PV arrays and 7 for thermal.  Green roofs will be built on the buildings that won’t support solar PV. All buildings will be undergoing energy efficiency improvements that will initially result in $41/unit savings.  These measures do their part to support affordability in Washington Heights, with projected savings at $4 Million in 25 years!

inside greenhouse path

Image provided by Urban Quotient

Another important aspect of CLOTH GEM is the urban farm and STEM education resource center that is in the works for the Dorothy McGowen Memorial Garden.  Long underused due to limited access to light because of the tall buildings around it, CLOTH has commissioned a design for a two-story recycled shipping-container green house.  The bottom floor will be a STEM classroom space open to use by the Community Health Academy of the Heights and afterschool programs, while the top floor will operate as a high-yielding urban farm that can feed into the food pantry that CLOTH also runs.  The classroom and greenhouse not only provide an exemplary location for increased STEM education, but also a foundation in individual health based on organic produce and healthy eating. This multi-faceted project, soon to be known as the Dorothy McGowen STEM Education Center and Greenhouse, exemplifies the interconnectedness that is a defining element of CLOTH by bringing together several of the programs we offer to strengthen the overall community wellbeing.

From the beginning, the CLOTH GEM has been thought of not only as a singular project in Washington Heights, but as a model for city-wide implementation. This plan has been designed to be widely applicable and we hope to inspire other projects like it. We envision a greener, healthier, more affordable city and are proud to be front-runners in New York environmentalism.

Listen to the Coalition’s podcast with Yvonne Stennett, CLOTH Executive Director and Robert Crauderueff, President and Founder, Crauderueff & Associates