Round Seven Includes New Challenge Area of Intelligent Building Control Technologies That Manage Energy Assets and Electrical Loads

July 28, 2023

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $18 million is available under the Next Generation Buildings Innovation Challenges for projects that offer advanced building technologies for clean heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, building envelopes, and controls. Round seven includes a new challenge area to advance intelligent building control solutions, including the development and commercialization of technologies that manage energy assets and electrical loads that will further enable decarbonization and electrification. This announcement supports New York State’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050.

“With buildings representing one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emission in the State, it is imperative that we address this sector to achieve our climate goals and reduce our carbon footprint,” Governor Hochul said. “The NextGen Buildings Innovation Challenges is one of many tools that we are employing to identify and foster real solutions to decarbonize and electrify our economy as we continue to fight climate change.”

The NextGen Buildings Innovation Challenges, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), provides support for companies that are developing, commercializing, and demonstrating new technologies that can boost building performance and energy efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This program supports innovative technologies including ground source heat pumps, cutting-edge geothermal technologies, and novel building envelope solutions in addition to the new focus area of intelligent building control solutions.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “Through the Next Gen Buildings Innovation Challenge program we are helping new clean technology products enter the market that advance building decarbonization, electrification, and responsiveness to occupants. Given the lifespan of existing and future buildings, investments made now to upgrade our building stock will serve generations of New Yorkers and beyond, and our program is focused to ensure low- and moderate-income residents benefit more directly from these investments.”

State Senator Kevin Parker said, "As we continue to fight the challenges of climate change, we need to develop solutions that will help decarbonize our building sector moving forward. I applaud NYSERDA for working diligently to provide innovative ways to develop the NextGen building technologies, that will deliver benefits to New Yorkers, especially those in disadvantaged communities.”

Assemblymember Didi Barrett said, “Decarbonizing buildings is crucial to reaching New York State’s CLCPA goals, as 40 percent of all emissions in the state come from buildings. Creating new financial incentives to advance intelligent building control solutions and to manage energy and electrical loads will further enable decarbonization which is exactly what the NextGen Buildings Innovation Challenges should be doing. I’m grateful for the Governor’s continued support of this program.”

The focus areas for this latest round, include:

  • Building Envelope Systems and Components – Solutions for single-family and multifamily buildings that will substantially reduce heating and cooling costs, increase comfort, and modernize façades by introducing new materials and construction techniques.   
  • Ground Source Heat Pump Cost Compression – Solutions for residential and commercial buildings that reduce the system installation cost by 20 percent or greater through new heat pump equipment, ground loop technologies, and hybrid systems.
  • Intelligent Buildings – Solutions for residential and commercial buildings that enable electrification without electric service upgrades, connect legacy and siloed energy systems, and maintain residents’ desired comfort while minimizing the building’s peak electricity demand, emissions, and impact on the grid. 

NYSERDA specifically seeks to attract solutions that directly benefit low- to moderate-income and disadvantaged communities across New York State with several of the innovation challenge areas focused on solutions that target multifamily buildings. Applications will be accepted until 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time September 27, 2023. For more information, including a full list of eligible technologies, and to apply for this funding opportunity please visit NYSERDA’s website. NYSERDA will host two webinars for interested companies including:

Vijay Modi, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University said, “The promise of delivering on intelligent building systems is now here.  Technologies that improve building comfort while incentivizing building decarbonization and supporting the needs of an emerging renewables-dominated grid are now at hand.  NextGen Buildings Innovation Challenges are a timely opportunity to make this vision a reality."

Richard Yancey, Executive Director, Building Energy Exchange said, "Under NYSERDA's climate leadership, the Next Generation Buildings Innovation Challenges will support a new wave of commercially viable technologies that reduce energy use, carbon emissions, and costs, while improving comfort for all New Yorkers across the state. Given our State's ambitious Climate Act, New York's building industry needs cost-effective solutions that enable beneficial electrification while reducing costly and time-consuming barriers like electrical service upgrades.  The expanded focus of this year's program will support the commercialization of these increasingly important technologies that smooth the transition to full electrification, while ensuring grid reliability, and reduced costs for tenants."

David Terry, President, National Association of State Energy Officials said, “NASEO is excited to see NYSERDA open this new round of the Next Generation Buildings Innovation Challenges to propel much needed development and commercialization of innovative technologies to enhance building energy performance. The NextGen Buildings program is a key example of states taking the lead to accelerate innovation and advance business opportunity to meet their state energy, economic, and environmental objectives while also benefiting the nation and world.”

Through the six previous rounds of this program, 64 projects were awarded a total of nearly $45 million. The companies engaged in advancing these solutions range from startups to large established companies that are engaged in addressing technology gaps that are barriers to building decarbonization in New York State. The innovative solutions developed and demonstrated through this funding opportunity will reduce the energy use and expenditures of New York consumers, as well as enable buildings – which are responsible for more than a third of annual emissions statewide – to be more energy efficient, load flexible, healthy, and resilient.

Integrating energy efficiency and electrification upgrades as part of routine investments will reduce carbon pollution and help achieve more sustainable, healthy, and comfortable buildings at lower costs. Earlier this month, the Public Service Commission issued an Order authorizing $1 billion per year for NYSERDA and utility Energy Efficiency and Building Electrification (EE/BE) programs from 2026 through 2030, totaling $5 billion, and adopts a Strategic Framework for both Low and Moderate Income (LMI) programs as well as market development portfolios. Currently, through NYSERDA and utility programs, over $6.8 billion is being invested to upgrade and modernize buildings across the State. By reducing energy use through efficiency and weatherization and upgrading heating and hot water systems to cleaner alternatives, the State will reduce harmful emissions and achieve the ambitious target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 TBtu by 2025, the equivalent of powering 1.8 million homes, while further reducing carbon pollution through onsite storage, renewables, and electric vehicle charging equipment.

This announcement builds on New York State's investments in research, development, and commercialization to support innovators that are accelerating the low emissions and carbon sequestering technologies needed to meet the state's goal for economy-wide carbon neutrality. NYSERDA's Innovation program is deploying $800 million over 10 years as direct investments via grants and wrap-around commercialization support. More than $680 million in private investments and $200 million in project finance capital have been enabled, and more than 450 innovative clean energy products have been commercialized as a result of NYSERDA's technology and business development investments, including LED lighting systems, home appliances, longer-lasting batteries, and more efficient heating-and-cooling systems.

Funding for this initiative is through the State's 10-year, $6 billion Clean Energy Fund. More information about this funding is available on NYSERDA's website.

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.