Second Round of Competition Launched to Continue Advancing Innovative Low- and Zero-Carbon Emitting Building Design and Construction

October 29, 2019

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $18 million was awarded to 28 projects under the first round of the Buildings of Excellence Competition which recognizes and supports the design, construction and operation of low-carbon emitting multifamily buildings. The competition supports Governor Cuomo's Green New Deal, the most aggressive climate change program in the nation, which puts New York State on a path to economy-wide carbon neutrality and mandates an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

"Reducing harmful emissions from buildings is critically important to our carbon neutral future and a vital part of New York's aggressive strategy to curb the impacts of climate change and stimulate green economic development," Governor Cuomo said. "New York State is leading the nation through purposeful and strategic action and these replicable award-winning projects are at the core of reducing our carbon footprint and propelling the transition to low-carbon structures in communities across the state."

"The Buildings of Excellence competition is just one more way New York is taking bold, aggressive action against the threat of climate change," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "The competition to reduce our carbon footprint and encourage more low-carbon structures has been a success, and we are expanding the program to continue to build on our efforts. While the federal government fails to address climate change, New York is leading the nation in our push for a cleaner, greener future."

The Buildings of Excellence Competition was launched in March 2019 and received 53 proposals from across the state. While initial funding for this round was earmarked at $10 million, the response was so strong that NYSERDA added an additional $8 million to support round one winners. As part of the review process, each proposal had to demonstrate how the project achieves low carbon performance, is equipped with the ability for broad adoption, provides superior financial benefits for owners and offers a healthy and safe living environment for occupants. The projects selected will also provide comprehensive data on design, construction and cost that can be analyzed and shared to increase the number of low- to zero-carbon buildings in New York State.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "Public-private partnerships, such as those demonstrated through Buildings of Excellence, are helping to drive change across the state and are a key component of New York's transition to carbon neutral buildings and a green economy. Governor Cuomo is leading this transformation, which will benefit all consumers with the comfort, affordability and improved health benefits that are provided by low- and zero-carbon living spaces."

For a complete list of the 28 winning projects statewide, please visit the Buildings of Excellence website which includes:

  • Capital Region: $2.4 million for three projects
  • Finger Lakes: $3.0 million for three projects
  • Mid-Hudson: Approximately $790,000 for two projects
  • New York City: Over $10 million for 18 projects
  • Southern Tier: Over $1.0 million for two projects

Today, the second round of the Buildings of Excellence Competition also launched with up to $10 million available in funding available under two categories: Early Design, awards of up to $1,000,000 and Late Design, awards of up to $750,000. Eligible projects must meet low- to zero-carbon energy performance criteria and be easily replicable, profitable, comfortable and be located in one of the six electric investor-owned New York State utility company territories. ProposalsLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. are being accepted through April 2020, with awards expected to be announced in fall 2020.

The Buildings of Excellence competition is administered by NYSERDA with the support of an advisory council comprised of a cross-section of experts from the design, real estate and sustainability sectors with partners including American Institute of Architects New York State, ASHRAE and The Real Estate Board of New York. It is the only competition of its kind, with the awarded projects becoming part of a comprehensive data collection effort that will help determine how to cost-effectively deliver superior performing buildings that will serve as an essential building block of a carbon-neutral future and advance the design and construction of multi-family buildings.

FAIA, Executive Director, Building Energy Exchange Richard Yancey said, "The Buildings of Excellence competition is a dramatic commitment to stimulate leading examples of very low carbon buildings. BE-Ex is excited to support this program by showcasing these inspiring high performance projects in an exhibit at our NYC center of excellence and delivering educational programs based on their innovative solutions, providing every building decision-maker the confidence and know-how to act and help put New York State on a pathway toward carbon neutrality."

PE, LEED AP BD+C, Government Affairs Chair, Central New York - ASHRAE Brendan Hall said, "It is very exciting to support this competition and to help jump start this market. The projects highlighted here are truly the next generation in multi-family building construction and will serve as a template for others to follow. The most important thing to note when looking at these projects is that they do not utilize some exotic technology, but existing technologies and techniques applied in a holistic manner."

AIA, 2019 AIA New York State President Mark Vincent Kruse said, "Architects understand how buildings contribute to climate change and play a critical role in reducing our nation's carbon footprint within the built environment. AIA New York State is thrilled to promote the importance of bringing architects and developers together through The Buildings of Excellence Competition to achieve design excellence that makes a difference. Congratulations to all of the winners—we look forward to seeing the results."

Vice President of Policy and Planning at the Real Estate Board of New York Zachary Steinberg said, "I'm happy to see such a strong group of projects that are being awarded in this first round of the Buildings of Excellence. Proving that cost-effective design and construction can be done, while providing an improved product for its occupants and still be profitable for developers, is critical to the continued advancement of energy policy and development in the City."

Funding for this program is part of the state's 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund and is part of NYSERDA's more than $50 million investment in new construction and gut rehab projects in the multi-family building sector including market rate and low-to-moderate income. More information about this Competition, and the funding available through it, can be found here.

Carbon Neutral Buildings

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Green New Deal includes a nation leading goal to convert New York's entire building stock to carbon neutrality. Buildings are one of the most significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State. By improving energy efficiency in buildings and including onsite storage, renewables, electric vehicle charging equipment, the State will reduce its carbon pollution and achieve the State's ambitious target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 TBtu by 2025, the equivalent of powering 1.8 million homes. Energy efficiency accounts for 75% of the clean energy jobs across the State and the State's ambitious plan to reduce carbon pollution will result in an additional $1.8 billion in societal and environmental benefits.

New York State's Green New Deal

Governor Cuomo's Green New Deal is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, putting the state on a path to being entirely carbon-neutral across all sectors of the economy and establishing a goal to achieve a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any other state. It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $2.9 billion investment in 46 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector, a commitment to develop nearly 1,700 megawatts of offshore wind by 2024, and 1,700 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2012.

The recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates the Green New Deal's nation-leading clean energy targets: nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035, six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025, and three gigawatts of energy storage by 2030, while calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy. The CLCPA also directs New York State agencies and authorities to collaborate with stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 and aim to invest 40 percent of clean energy and energy efficiency program resources to benefit disadvantaged communities.