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NYSERDA Announces $6.5 Million in Incentives to Reduce Carbon Emissions From Buildings

Incentives to Improve Air Quality, Provide Public Health Benefits, Reduce Carbon Footprint

April 11, 2011

To help encourage the early adoption of New York City’s planned phase-out of #6 fuel oil, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced $6.5 million in incentives to help multifamily buildings with five or more units switch to cleaner fuels that will help provide a healthier, cleaner environment for residents and New York City.

The program will make it more affordable to switch heating and hot water systems to less carbon-intense fuel alternatives, including #2 oil, natural gas, biodiesel/biofuel oil blends and renewable energy sources such as solar thermal, photovoltaic and wind systems.

Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA said, “This clean energy initiative will facilitate local job growth, reduce greenhouse gas pollution, help improve public health, and help move the state towards long-term energy independence.”

Burned in more than 9,000 buildings in New York City, #6 fuel oil produces carbon emissions that are 13 percent higher than #2 fuel oil and 49 percent higher than natural gas, and is a major contributor to citywide soot and sulfur dioxide emissions.

The program will eliminate a total of 200,000 tons of carbon emissions from 150 to 200 multi-family buildings in New York City over 10 years. As a point of comparison, a greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 200,000 tons is equivalent to removing approximately 39,200 cars from the road.

“Eliminating dirty heating oil is the single largest step we can take to improve our local air quality,” said David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability. “Approximately 1% of our building stock is responsible for more soot pollution than all cars and trucks in the city combined. We just issued regulations to phase out dirty oil. NYSERDA's well-timed $6.5 million program will significantly accelerate clean-fuel conversions and help us to achieve our PlaNYC goals of having the cleanest air of any big U.S. city and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030.”

NYSERDA will provide incentives for each building based on the amount of carbon emissions it avoids by converting its heating and hot water systems over a span of 10 years. For all buildings converting to either fossil fuel-based sources, including natural gas and #2 fuel oil or to renewable based energy sources, such as solar, geothermal and/or #2 oil with biofuel blends, the incentive will be $30 per ton of reduced carbon emissions.

NYSERDA research indicates that, aside from renewable fuels, the two least carbon-intense fuel options are

  1. ultra-low-sulfur #2 fuel oil blended with 20 percent biofuel
  2. natural gas.

To help building owners and representatives calculate their particular incentive amount, NYSERDA has developed an analysis tool that will calculate the reduction in carbon emissions for a building. The tool will be available for download at NYSERDA's Residential page.

Incentives are capped at $175,000 per project or 80% of the total cost of converting the system from #6 fuel oil, whichever is less. Funding is from the carbon emission credit auction through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). NYSERDA will work closely with local utilities to ensure that funding from this program does not supplant oil-to-gas conversion incentives available from the utilities.


NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.

Last Updated: 01/21/2014