Competition Advances Carbon Neutral Multifamily Buildings in New York State with Early-Stage Design Support Added for Design Teams and Developers

April 7, 2022

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $10 million in funding is now available under Round Three of the $40 million Buildings of Excellence Design Competition, which aims to deliver carbon neutral multifamily buildings for New York State. Round Three adds a new component to the competition, funding early-stage support for design teams and developers to ensure the most cost-effective solutions are integrated into projects from the start to build healthier and more comfortable multifamily buildings. This one-of-a-kind competition advances Governor Hochul's new goal to achieve two million climate-friendly homes by 2030 and supports the state's nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 on our way to a carbon-neutral building stock.

"New York is leading the way to deliver clean, safe and affordable housing for future generations," Governor Hochul said. "Supporting climate friendly new construction is transforming how the building industry identifies and implements climate solutions and helping us deliver tangible results as we transition to a clean energy economy and address the growing impacts of our changing climate."

The Buildings of Excellence Competition is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and with today's announcement, proposals are being accepted for early-stage design projects that integrate carbon neutral features into pre-schematic and schematic design phases, and construction and completion of exemplary carbon neutral multi-family buildings. In support of the Climate Act's goal to ensure that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments support disadvantaged communities, at least half of the funding through this Third Round of the Challenge is targeted for projects that support low-to-moderate income residents.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "NYSERDA is pleased to launch the third round of the Buildings of Excellence Competition in support of Governor Hochul's goal to achieve two million climate friendly homes by 2030. This program is the first-of-its-kind in the nation, spurring innovative, forward-thinking projects that advance replicable and cost-effective carbon neutral construction that provides healthy living and work-spaces for all New Yorkers."

Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, "Community revitalization, climate change and affordable housing work hand in glove to create sustainable and equitable communities and the Department of State, through its revitalization programs, is proud to be working for a more resilient New York State by supporting new building construction that is carbon neutral for a healthy and energy efficient environment. We work closely with the Buildings of Excellence competition to support needed climate solutions to create valuable community assets for generations to come."

Launched in 2019, the Buildings of Excellence competition is providing financial incentives and recognition for the design, construction, and operation of resilient climate friendly buildings that are healthy and energy efficient living spaces that offer predictable revenue and costs. With the support of industry experts, the Competition revolutionizes the new construction and adaptive reuse of multifamily housing and commercial space by showing that carbon neutral buildings can be built cost-competitively to traditional fossil-fuel powered dwellings.

Proposals will be accepted through Tuesday, July 12, 2022 by 3:00 p.m. for the design component and Thursday, July 14, 2022 by 3:00 p.m. for demonstration projects. For more information on this funding opportunity, please visit NYSERDA's website.

Chief Mission Officer of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America Melanie Carver said, The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is grateful for the work New York is doing to make housing units healthier and safer for people affected by asthma and allergies, by improving indoor environments and removing emissions-emitting appliances within the homes. Making healthier housing available will improve the lives of families in New York State and I hope will improve health outcomes for communities that are disproportionately impacted by asthma and allergies."

AIA New York State Executive Vice President Georgi Ann Bailey said, "It is critical that architects are given a seat at the table for discussions surrounding climate action. I applaud NYSERDA for their creation of a one-of-a-kind and overwhelmingly successful competition that provides architects with the opportunity to apply their problem-solving skills and expertise towards solutions that provide a better place for all to live while preserving the environment."

Executive Director, Architecture League of New York Rosalie Genevro said, "NYSERDA's Buildings of Excellence program is helping lead the way toward New York's future of resilient, carbon-neutral and low-carbon homes. The Architectural League is proud to work with NYSERDA to make overall design quality--including integral connection with building sites, strong connections to community assets and public transportation, and a strong emphasis on health, comfort, and aesthetic delight—an essential part of evaluation of Buildings of Excellence projects."

Building Energy Exchange Executive Director Richard Yancey said, "The Buildings of Excellence competition is charting the pathway to a healthy, affordable, and carbon-neutral future for all New Yorkers, proving that the ambitious targets, set forth by Governor Hochul's Climate Act and Climate Friendly Homes initiative, are both obtainable and vitally important. Building Energy Exchange is thrilled to play an active role in the competition's third round, spotlighting awarded projects, disseminating key lessons-learned, and connecting building industry stakeholders to these impactful, financially viable solutions."

Founder of Passive House Accelerator Michael Ingui said, "The Buildings of Excellence Round One and Round Two award winners are truly exemplary buildings. The design and engineering teams involved in this NYSERDA program have been featured guests many times in our programs, providing the Passive House Accelerator community with valuable insights and helping move the design and construction communities toward a carbon-neutral future. The real-world, "proof of concept" buildings being supported and advanced by the Buildings of Excellence program are accelerating building decarbonization in New York and beyond."

State Senator Kevin Parker said, "As we continue to make access to clean energy housing a priority for all New Yorkers it is important that we include stakeholders from all angles, including the architects. I applaud NYSERDA for working diligently to provide innovate ways to engage stakeholders. The Buildings of Excellence Competition will be a key component to helping us each our clean energy goals."

Assemblymember Michael Cusick said, "The Buildings of Excellence Competition has been a great tool in reducing our building emissions. The third round of this competition will build upon the success of this program and will promote the continued decarbonization of our state's building infrastructure which remains a crucial component of achieving our statewide emissions reduction goals."

Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz said, "Achieving the goal of creating and preserving low-carbon, energy efficient affordable housing in communities across the state requires the participation of developers and architects who are committed to finding innovative and cost-effective solutions. I look forward to seeing what Round 3 of this competition produces, and I'm especially pleased that at least half the funding in this round will target projects that support our State's low- to moderate-income residents."

The Buildings of Excellence Competition prioritizes housing and energy affordability, equity and serving disadvantaged communities and downtown revitalization. More than forty exemplary new construction and adaptive reuse projects were awarded in the first two rounds of the competition - and more than two-thirds of the high-performing new construction buildings serve affordable housing markets. Additionally, data gathered from past awardees has been shared with and used by policy makers, including the Climate Action Council, and the NYC Council, to help inform decision making and demonstrate that carbon neutral construction is technically and financially feasible.

Buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, responsible for 43 percent of annual emissions statewide. Integrating energy efficiency and electrification measures in new and existing buildings will reduce carbon pollution and help achieve more sustainable, healthy, and comfortable buildings in support of the state's ambitious goal to achieve 2 million climate-friendly homes by 2030. Through NYSERDA and utility programs, over $6.8 billion is being invested to decarbonize buildings to achieve the State's decarbonization goals. By improving energy efficiency in buildings and including onsite storage, renewables, and electric vehicle charging equipment, the State will reduce carbon pollution and advance the target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion Btus by 2025, the equivalent of powering 1.8 million homes. Energy efficiency accounts for 75 percent of the clean energy jobs across New York.

Funding for this program is through the state's $6 billion Clean Energy Fund and is part of NYSERDA's more than $150 million investment in new construction and gut rehab projects in the multifamily building sector including market rate and low- to moderate-income. More information about this competition, and the funding available through it, can be found on NYSERDA's website.

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Act

New York State's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.