Governor Cuomo Announces $30 Million “Buildings of Excellence” Competition

By Katie Suh

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New Yorkers pay nearly $35 billion annually for electricity and heating fuels, and buildings account for 59% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Every year, approximately 100 million square footage of construction is built in New York State and once the construction of a building is complete, it becomes difficult and costly to implement energy and carbon-reducing measures. To advance the design, construction and operation of low-or-zero carbon emitting buildings, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo launched the $30 million “Buildings of Excellence” Competition. The competition, administered by NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority) is part of Governor Cuomo’s goal to transform New York’s entire building stock as part of his nation-leading Green New Deal, a clean energy and jobs agenda that puts New York State on a path to a carbon-free economy. It also supports the State’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

The time for addressing climate change is now and today we are doubling down on our commitment to lead the way with a revolutionary path toward carbon-free buildings,” Governor Cuomo said. “The development of low- to zero-carbon buildings will create healthier living spaces and communities for all New Yorkers, while driving down harmful emissions from one of our highest contributing sectors – our building stock – and pushing us forward on our path to carbon neutrality.”

“We have established aggressive clean energy goals in New York State, and this competition will continue our efforts to advance carbon neutrality,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This significant investment will support the construction of carbon-free buildings that are affordable for all New Yorkers. The initiative complements the Green New Deal, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combatting climate change for a cleaner and greener environment for future generations.”

The Competition will recognize and offer selected projects with financial incentives that demonstrate cost-effectiveness as well as low-carbon emissions and provide healthy affordable spaces for New Yorkers. The Competition will also demonstrate how low-carbon buildings can be profitable, attractive and affordable and how eventually, advanced building design can be implemented into the New York State Energy Conservation and Construction Code.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “New York’s transition to a carbon-free economy under Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal means taking bold steps today that will provide great rewards tomorrow for all New Yorkers. Launching the Buildings of Excellence competition is setting a new bar for buildings throughout the state, and providing the support needed to recognize and advance solutions that will help building owners achieve a low- or net-zero status that delivers environmental and health benefits, reduces energy costs, and provides safe, comfortable spaces for all residents and users.”

The competition will include three rounds in which each round will provide up to $10 million, with up to $1 million per project. The first round is focused on multi-family buildings and applications are being accepted through June 4, 2019. Projects must be located in one of the six electric investor-owned New York State utility company territories. Projects can be for new construction or renewal projects. And the buildings can be mixed use as long as at least 50% of the building is for housing. Projects must use design and construction methods that are easily replicable by other professionals for future projects.

Buildings of Excellence Launch on March 6, 2019 at the Building Energy Exchange in New York City. Courtesy of Philip Kamrass/ New York Power Authority.

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