NYSERDA Announces More than $12 Million in Awards to 10 Regionally Significant Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development Projects
Projects Across the State Will Accelerate Decarbonization and Economic Development in Disadvantaged Communities and Downtown Revitalization Districts
December 15, 2022
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced more than $12 million in awards for 10 regionally significant projects across the state under the Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development program. The projects, which extend from the Capital Region and the Mohawk Valley to the Finger Lakes and Long Island, will accelerate decarbonization and economic development in Disadvantaged Communities and downtown revitalization districts. The awards support the state’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals including an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado said, “Working in concert with the Regional Economic Development Councils and multiple State agencies, we are revitalizing downtowns with a focus on ensuring underserved communities benefit from projects that are vital and significant to the economy of the communities in which they are located. Advancing a sustainable carbon neutral building stock demonstrates the State’s commitment to cleaner greener communities that provide job opportunities and healthy places to live and work for all New Yorkers.”
Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “Each new group of carbon neutral community economic development awardees demonstrates the benefits of advancing carbon neutrality in existing public venues and historic structures while ensuring new construction is designed with this end-goal from inception. As we transition to carbon neutrality in the buildings sector, NYSERDA is pleased to support projects like these that are revitalizing their communities, while showcasing energy efficiency, electrification and the use of on-site renewable energy in support of the State’s emissions reduction goals.”
The Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development program is administered by NYSERDA in partnership with Empire State Development and the New York State Department of State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The program is offered through the Regional Economic Development Council Consolidated Funding Application which provides a single entry- point for access to economic development funding with one application for multiple state funding sources. The program provides incentives with focused support for decarbonization projects located in Disadvantaged Communities or Downtown Revitalization Initiative districts, as well as commercial and mixed-use facilities that are regionally significant.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “ESD is proud to partner with NYSERDA and the New York State Department of State in supporting a program that will grow economic development and shrink greenhouse gas emission. These projects represent our strategic focus on revitalizing downtowns, with a emphasis on disadvantaged communities, to renew a variety of places and spaces that will provide housing and also fuel regional and community arts, healthcare and education.”
New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative has stimulated public infrastructure projects focused on making downtown public spaces environmentally sound and friendly.” The Department of State works closely with NYSERDA to build projects that contribute towards successfully forwarding our vision of prosperous, equitable, connected and sustainable downtowns to create carbon neutral economic development aimed at reducing state emissions to foster a clean New York environment.”
Seven of the 10 projects announced today are located in disadvantaged communities and will be receiving $9.8 million of the more than $12 million. These projects advance the State’s goal of ensuring 35% with a goal of 40% of clean energy investments directly benefit Disadvantaged Communities.
The 2022 Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development projects include:
504 Broadway - The project converts an existing two-story, 1960s-era brick masonry office building in the historic downtown Troy Business district to a 4-story multi-use net zero energy building. Utilizing the existing building’s footprint and masonry exterior walls, a new mass timber structure will be set inside the existing masonry walls to carry the loads of the third and fourth story addition and open up the upper levels. The first floor will consist of a lounge/restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. The second-floor office level will include Class A office space with a reception lobby and a shared conference space for the building. The third and fourth levels will house the Troy Offices of Phinney Design Group. A mix of private offices, open office space, conference rooms, lounge and library areas over two floors including a green roof facing Broadway.
Catskill Mountain Foundation Dance Studio - The Catskill Mountain Foundation Orpheum Performing Arts Center is an anchor destination for aesthetic, social engagement and creative economic development in the Village of Tannersville. As the sole performing arts and cultural destination at the heart of Main Street, the project is situated at the center of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) boundary. This project includes the construction of a new building on the Orpheum property, across from the theater, including two floors of state-of-the-art dance studios, with the first floor fully ADA compliant. In keeping with the Town’s sustainability goals and decarbonization efforts, the project will provide a more sustainable, energy efficient and carbon neutral model for the planned 5,000 square foot Dance Studio Building to further enhance the facilities’ ability to reduce greenhouse emissions.
Historic Cohoes Music Hall - The City of Cohoes seeks to improve the energy performance of the historic Cohoes Music Hall building, and shift to clean energy sources. This Historic Cohoes Music Hall Carbon Neutral Initiative is a critical component of meeting the larger goal of reducing municipal energy costs city-wide and generating 100% of our municipal facilities’ energy demand from renewable energy sources, enabled by the national model Cohoes Municipal Floating Solar project. Planning, design, and implementation funding for significant mechanical and building envelope upgrades will result in a highly energy-efficient, all-electric facility. This historic restoration project will replace natural gas burning equipment with ground source heat pumps and variable refrigerant flow systems, and dedicated outdoor air systems for ventilation, insulation, lighting, and other energy efficiency measures, allowing the building to be carbon neutral. The project, part of a comprehensive restoration of this regionally significant historic theater building, could become a model for other facilities, particularly those in designated disadvantaged communities like Cohoes for which these facilities are vital local and regional cultural and economic resources.
North Bay Regeneration Project - Kite’s Nest, an educational center in Hudson, will relocate to a two-acre plot adjacent to the Hudson River. The construction of the new campus and building will serve as its permanent home and as a transformational neighborhood anchor that will bring people of all ages together for experiential education and workforce development, urban regenerative agriculture, and climate-conscious land stewardship. The new 4,500 sq/ft facility will include classrooms, arts/media production studios, a commercial kitchen/cafe, office space, and community partner space, plus a recently completed learning greenhouse. Campus features include an expanded community garden, outdoor kitchen, and publicly-accessible green space, with infrastructure for waterfront resiliency, climate mitigation/adaptation, and installed solar array to offset 100% of electric consumption and achieve carbon neutral performance with air source heat pumps for heating, cooling and hot water. The complete campus will enable essential education and employment programming and public events, engaging an estimated 25,000 visitors per year, and will support community-based, sustainable development in an undeveloped part of Hudson's waterfront district.
Maplewood Nature Center - The project includes the renovation of an existing City of Rochester facility into the Maplewood Nature Center. Proposed elements of the building renovation include, classroom space, demonstration kitchen, childcare space, and an entrance canopy addition. The building is in need of capital improvements including, roof replacement, HVAC upgrades, window replacements, building insulation, building envelope improvements, a geothermal heating/cooling system and a solar energy system are also included in the scope of the project. Proposed site work includes teaching gardens, rain gardens, a bio-swale, creation of walking paths, shade structures, lighting, patio, and a naturalized pond edge. Parking analysis and parking lot adjustments are also required and will include four to six electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. All of the proposed improvements will result in a net zero energy building.
Planning for Decarbonization at Rochester Institute of Technology and Rochester Regional Health - Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and Rochester Regional Health (RRH) propose to develop a roadmap for decarbonization for a variety of building types on RIT’s campus in Rochester and at several RRH facilities throughout the Finger Lakes region. The roadmap will include technical analysis and financial modeling.
Catholic Health System of Long Island Energy Master Plan - Catholic Health Services will conduct an Energy Master Plan (EMP) which will identify a pipeline of capital projects to create jobs, support a more resilient environment and reduce the carbon footprint for one of the region’s largest employers. The EMP will include developing a baseline analysis for each hospital (including: Electric & natural gas consumption, carbon emissions, hospital conditions, relevant equipment and system inventories), describe the Carbon Conservation Measures (CCM) to be implemented (in-line with New York State climate goals) to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 and 2050 respectively, identify the available incentives and grants for the CCM's described, recommendations for technologies that can be installed in planned, new, or buildings undergoing expansions, review renewable energy options that can be utilized, provide a method for Catholic Health to track and report the progress and successes of the system's carbon reduction goals, and make recommendations for architectural standards which are sustainable and aid in the overall carbon reduction plan.
City of Kingston Energy Efficiency Upgrades - The City of Kingston, located 50 miles south of Albany on the Hudson River, will transform two of its most important historic buildings into a clean energy hub. Kingston City Hall and the Andy Murphy Neighborhood Center (AMNC) anchor midtown and will showcase solar systems, heat pumps, and a thermal energy network (TEN). The pre-war buildings need envelope upgrades and new heat systems. They will be converted to run entirely on electricity, bring more solar power and vehicle charging on-site, and add stormwater and thermal infrastructure for the community. Kingston is eager to adapt to the future envisioned by the Climate Act and become a leader in clean energy, building off the success of previously completed energy efficiency projects, including upgraded lights, installation of a solar system and window inserts, and reducing electricity and gas usage. City Hall’s existing hydronic system will be upgraded and reused, and boilers will be replaced by heat pumps. Ground wells will be drilled to become midtown’s energy reservoir. This is the start of Kingston’s Thermal Energy Network (TEN), owned by the city, anchored by this project, and with potential to connect to the hospital, high school, and other buildings in the area.
Scenic Hudson: Northside Hub - Scenic Hudson, through its affiliated Northside Junction LLC, has embarked on a major adaptive reuse project, transforming a derelict former manufacturing site in Poughkeepsie, NY into a vibrant community resource. Located at the former Standard Gage site on Poughkeepsie’s north side, the site will house Scenic Hudson offices; spaces for local businesses, meetings and community events; as well as outdoor parkland and public space for community gatherings and educational activities. Environmental sustainability is central to this transformational project, which physically embodies Scenic Hudson’s vision and legacy to unite people with each other and with nature. The project exemplifies adaptive reuse and mindful historic rehabilitation, combining a sophisticated three-step approach to achieve carbon neutral performance: high-performance envelope to minimize energy loads; hyper energy-efficient, all-electric air-source heat pumps; and energy production via photovoltaic systems.
The Bank Loft - Situated in the heart of downtown Richfield Springs, the adaptive-reuse project will preserve, decarbonize, and revitalize a long-vacant 19th-century bank building for mixed-use/multifamily redevelopment. Reimagined as “The Bank Loft,” the landmark will provide urgently needed market-rate rental apartments and amenities within a beautifully restored carbon neutral building redesigned to attract a new generation of residents—and new investment—to a once-affluent Otsego County resort town that has endured decades of population loss and economic decline. Ground-level retail spaces will serve the multigenerational community, offering access to local farm products and bulk goods, as well as an inviting cafe with public Wi-Fi. The plan also transforms an adjoining empty lot into off-street parking for residents, with charging stations and a solar array. Led by an interdisciplinary team of experts, the project will meet rigorous Phius+ 2021 Core standards. When complete, the Bank Loft will serve as a replicable model for the decarbonization of historic buildings across the community and state—multiplying its environmental and economic impact.
A total of 50 projects have been awarded to date through the Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development program, with over $56 million in incentives since it was launched in 2018. Six of the 10 projects awarded in 2022, and 20 of the 50 projects receiving funding from all four rounds, are examples of adaptive reuse of an existing building to carbon neutral performance. These projects maintain the heritage and local character of New York communities, demonstrate the feasibility of applying clean energy technologies to existing buildings and have lower embodied carbon than new construction. They often serve as the anchor project for surrounding neighborhood redevelopment.
Buildings account for more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, and most of the State’s current building stock was constructed before energy codes were passed and was, therefore, not constructed to be energy efficient. Decarbonized buildings and communities will help improve building resiliency, occupant health and productivity.
These awards are part of Round 12 of the State’s Consolidated Funding Application that opened in May 2022 and included millions of dollars in state economic development resources, enabling businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits and the public to apply for assistance from dozens of state programs for job-creation and community development projects. Funding is provided through the State's 10-year, $6 billion Clean Energy Fund and through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
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% 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 $35 billion in 120 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 more than 165,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2021, 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% from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35% with a goal of 40% 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.
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 reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit nyserda.ny.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.
About the Consolidated Funding Application
The Consolidated Funding Application was created to streamline and expedite the grant application process. The CFA process marks a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs. The CFA serves as the single-entry point for access to economic development funding, ensuring applicants no longer have to slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination. Now, economic development projects use the CFA as a support mechanism to access multiple state funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier, and more productive. Learn more about the CFA.
About the Regional Economic Development Councils
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative is a key component of the State's approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, 10 Regional Councils were established to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom-up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. Learn more here .