Early-Stage Design Funding Also Announced to Support Integration of Low Carbon Solutions from Start of Design

March 21, 2023

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $13.5 million was awarded to 14 projects through the third round of the more than $48 million Buildings of Excellence Competition recognizing the design, construction and operation of clean, resilient, and low-carbon or carbon neutral multifamily buildings. In addition to these awards for demonstration projects, $1.1 million for Early-Stage Design Support was also announced to help ensure the most cost-effective low carbon solutions are integrated into projects from the start of design. The Competition supports the State's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 and ensure at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed toward disadvantaged communities. Today's announcement also supports Governor Hochul's goal to develop two million climate friendly homes by 2030.

"New York is rising to the climate change challenge, and our building sector is helping to lead the way," Governor Hochul said. "Not only are these projects demonstrating that zero emissions construction is possible, but they are also proving that prioritizing equity and justice in our transition to clean energy creates a stronger and healthier New York for all."

Today's announcement was made during an awards ceremony held at the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIA NY) Center for Architecture in New York City. Launched in 2019, this Competition is the only one of its kind in the nation and is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to provide financial incentives and recognition for the design, construction, and operation of clean, resilient, low- or zero-carbon emitting buildings. In total, the Competition has provided awards for the construction of 56 state-of-the-art new construction and gut-renovation projects, including over 1,300 units that will serve low-to-moderate income households with 52% of the projects in disadvantaged communities.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "We congratulate today's winners and are particularly proud of their commitment to advancing low-carbon building design that sets a new standard for climate-friendly construction and operation. These awardees join a group of thought-leaders that are paving the way to tackle one of the highest greenhouse gas emitting sectors in the state by demonstrating that building with a low carbon footprint is profitable and in-demand."

Competition applicants were required to demonstrate cost-effective, low-carbon or carbon-neutral designs that are profitable for developers, offer predictable revenue and costs, and provide a competitive edge, while simultaneously creating a comfortable, healthy, and affordable space for building occupants. The winning projects are also required to 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.

Four of today's awardees were recognized by the Architectural League of New York with a 'Blue Ribbon for Design Excellence' for aesthetics, function, sustainability, and for proving that carbon neutral designs can exhibit beauty, function and connection to their community. Blue Ribbon honorees were selected by an independent panel of highly accomplished architects led by Rosalie Genevro, Executive Director at the Architectural League, including: Illya Azaroff, +Lab and Professor New York City College of Technology; Pam Campbell, COOKFOX; Arthur Liu, Studio Gang; Julie Nelson, BKSK Architects; and Stacie Wong, Gluck+.

Highlights of today's awarded demonstration projects include:

  • Affordable Housing- 56% of residences to be constructed will serve low-to-moderate income customers with half of all awarded projects serving disadvantaged communities;
  • All Electric/Carbon Neutral Ready- 100% of projects are all-electric and carbon neutral ready, meaning they are highly efficient with no use of fossil fuel combustion on site for daily operations;
  • Passive House Standard- 10 projects are committed to a Passive House standard, meaning design and construction/renovation to extremely energy efficient standards, while also achieving very high levels of comfort, health and resiliency for the occupants in the building; and
  • Solar Energy Inclusion- 12 projects incorporate solar photovoltaic (PV) generation, with one including energy storage.

The Buildings of Excellence Round Three Awardees are:

Capital Region: $2 million, two projects

  • The Lafayette Apartments*: Rosenblum Group -- Schenectady, NY
  • 1818 Fifth Ave Passive House*: The Rosenblum Companies - Troy, NY

Mohawk Valley: $1 million, one project

  • EcoFlats at Log City Phase 1: Bruns Realty Group, LLC - Amsterdam, NY

Finger Lakes: $1 million, one project

  • Parcel 7*: PathStone Development Corporation - Rochester, NY

Mid-Hudson: $1 million, one project

  • The Residences at Sterlington: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. - Sloatsburg, NY

New York City: $8.5 million, nine projects

  • SOMA - BOLTEX Building: GRA Equities - New York, NY
  • 439 West 36thStreet and 489-501 9thAvenue: ZD Jasper Realty, New York, NY
  • Highbridge*: Samaritan Daytop Village - Bronx, NY
  • Magnolia Gardens*: Asian Americans for Equality - Flushing, New York
  • Livonia C3*: Catholic Charities POP Development Corp - Brooklyn, NY
  • The Variety Boys and Girls Club Redevelopment*: Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, Inc. - Long Island City, NY
  • Shore Hill Development: Jonathan Rose Companies - Bay Ridge Brooklyn, NY
  • Castle III: The Fortune Society - New York, NY
  • Brownsville Arts Center and Apartments*: Brownsville Arts Owner LLC - Brooklyn, NY
  • Project is also a Blue Ribbon for Design Excellence winner.

The awards issued today as part of the overall $2 million Early Design Support component provide funding based on the project scope to achieve the carbon neutral design proposed by the design partner, project size, location, new construction or adaptive reuse, and historic preservation.

Early-Stage Design Support awardees are:

Low-to Moderate Income Occupancy:

New York City - $558,550 - four projects

  • CVA+Casita**: Magnusson Architecture & Planning PC - New York, NY
  • Three Arts: Curtis + Ginsberg Architects - New York, NY
  • Shore Hill Development: Curtis + Ginsberg Architects - Brooklyn, NY
  • The Beacon**: Paul A. Castrucci Architects - New York, NY

Market Rate Occupancy:

Capital District - $494,815 - two projects

  • EcoFlats at Log City: Black Mountain Architecture - Amsterdam, NY
  • 1818 Fifth Ave Passive House**: Sustainable Comfort Inc. - Troy, NY

Southern Tier - $110,000 - one project

  • Bank Loft: River Architects - Richfield Springs, NY

**Project is located in an area designated as a disadvantaged community.

For a complete list of all Buildings of Excellence awarded projects, please visit NYSERDA's website.

New York State Public Service Commission Chair Rory M. Christian said, "I applaud Governor Hochul's commitment to encouraging the design and development of new, low-carbon buildings in New York State. Today's winners will help set the stage for future growth and opportunity in the critically important construction industry."

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act's ambitious goals continue to move New York toward becoming a carbon neutral state. The over $13 million awarded today for 14 projects through NYSERDA's Buildings of Excellence competition will create and preserve low-carbon, energy efficient buildings across New York, with more than half of homes to be constructed serving low-to-moderate income New Yorkers in disadvantaged communities. Congratulations to the awardees and thank you to NYSERDA for helping us build a better, cleaner and more sustainable future."

Assemblymember Didi Barrett said, "We all know that buildings are major contributors to overall carbon emissions and we all recognize the critical need for new housing -- especially affordable housing - in communities across New York. So it is especially exciting to see innovative architectural and design firms from around the state tackle both these existential challenges in such innovative and creative ways. Congratulations to today's winners of Buildings of Excellence awards. We are grateful to them for using their talents to help our state lead by example."

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal said, "There's no getting around it - environmental justice and housing justice go hand-in-hand. As states across the country look to address climate change holistically, New York must do everything possible to ensure that our housing infrastructure is prepared to meet this moment. The State's plan to develop two million climate friendly and affordable homes is certainly a step in the right direction and will go a long way in fostering a greener, healthier environment for all New Yorkers. I look forward to working with the Governor and my colleagues to continue championing environmentally friendly policies that prioritize the well-being of both tenants and homeowners."

Rosalie Genevro, Executive Director, Architectural League said," Once again this year, NYSERDA's Buildings of Excellence program is catalyzing, supporting, and spotlighting projects by designers and developers who are forging ahead with ambitious efforts to create a more resilient, low-carbon future for New Yorkers. The Architectural League is proud to work with NYSERDA to make overall design quality--including integral relationship with building sites, strong connections to community assets, including public transportation, and a strong emphasis on health, comfort, and aesthetic delight—an essential part of evaluation of Buildings of Excellence projects."

Board at-large Director, AIA National, Illya Azaroff, FAIA, said, "The projects recognized and awarded through the Buildings of Excellence program represent true climate action. Not only are these tangible examples of high performance, environmentally conscious design, they are testament to how good governance and visionary design teams can create a sustainable, resilient and equitable future, together. These projects embody a framework for design excellence that meets the challenges of climate change and is the hallmark of this program."

AIA New York State President Paul McDonnell, AIA, said, "It is critical that architects have a seat at the table for discussions surrounding smart design and climate action. I applaud NYSERDA for prioritizing and supporting the implementation of resilient, equitable and sustainable solutions through the Buildings of Excellence competition. This successful competition continues to provide architects and their team members with the opportunity to apply their unique problem-solving skills to improve the built environment, to better protect the world we live in, and to provide much-needed housing to the communities we serve."

Jesse Lazar, Interim Executive Director, AIA New York and the Center for Architecture said, "As a membership organization committed to advocating for a more sustainable built environment, AIA New York is proud of its continued partnership with NYSERDA and its Buildings of Excellence program, an important statewide initiative in the fight against climate change and the housing crisis. The program's winning projects offer an important model for our members and the industry at large to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the design and construction of climate-friendly and beautiful homes."

Building Energy Exchange Founding Executive Director, FAIA, LEEDA AP, Richard Yancey said, “Congratulations to all the amazing Buildings of Excellence winners, who are blazing the trail to carbon neutrality.  We join NYSERDA in celebrating the developers, architects, and engineers who are demonstrating the possible, creating healthier, cleaner, cost effective, climate ready buildings, today.”

Sara Bayer, AIA, CPHC, LEED, Associate Principal & Director of Sustainability, Magnusson Architecture and Plannings said, "There is a massive shift happening in our industry toward passive house and electrification, and it has been accelerated by programs like NYSERDA's Buildings of Excellence Competition. Work like this has helped to build capacity, consensus, and confidence around the products and systems we need to achieve critical climate goals. It's also proving that when we produce more efficient and durable buildings, you get better, more valuable assets and better, healthier places to live. That benefits both owners and residents."

Michael Ingui, Founder, Passive House Accelerator said, "NYSERDA Buildings of Excellence winners are truly on the forefront of what is possible in the world of high-performance building. Countless solutions and innovative ideas have been shared over the last several years, helping to inspire the rest of the architecture, engineering, and design community to move towards better, low-carbon buildings. The Round 3 winners will carve a clear path forward to carbon neutral-ready buildings throughout New York State and beyond."

Buildings are one of the most significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State and through NYSERDA and utility programs, over $6.8 billion is being invested to decarbonize buildings across the State. By improving energy efficiency in buildings and advancing statewide installations of onsite storage, renewables, and 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.

Funding for this program is through the State Clean Energy Fund and is part of NYSERDA's more than $165 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 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 fostering 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 economy wide 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, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.8 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 a 2,100 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 interventions and combat climate change.