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New York Launches Fifth Round of Buildings of Excellence Competition

“The time for addressing climate change is now, and New York State is doubling down on our commitment to a path toward carbon neutral buildings,” Governor Nancy Hochul said yesterday. “By continuing the Building of Excellence Competition, we are investing in partners who are driving real change with beautiful, resilient zero-emission buildings that improve quality of life and inspire the industry to follow their example.”

Now entering its fifth round and with $10 million of new funding up for grabs, New York's Buildings of Excellence Competition has been a major success by virtually any metric, with $58 million being awarded to sixty-five projects since the competition launched in 2019. Of those sixty-five projects, 71% have committed to building to Passive House standards. Of the 8,111 housing units to be created by the program, 6,169 serve low- to moderate-income households.

The competition is designed to provide financial awards to teams who pioneer new and replicable methods of decarbonizing and electrifying multifamily buildings within the state. Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the competition helps to advance New York State’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 while also making buildings that are healthier for occupants and their communities.

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “New York continues to lead the way in encouraging scalable and replicable solutions in its building stock to advance the State’s nation-leading climate and clean energy goals. Through this new round of the Buildings of Excellence Competition, we are seeking to capture the creative energies of the best and brightest who will design and construct buildings with smaller carbon footprints that are more comfortable and healthier for tenants.”

Demonstration Projects

The governor's opening of round five of the competition yesterday means that a total of $10 million in funding is now available to teams from around the state for demonstration projects. Projects that are located in disadvantaged communities or 8 stories in height or greater will receive special consideration, as will projects involving the adaptive re-use of commercial office, institutional, or retail spaces for multifamily housing.  

The competition is also structured to prioritize funding for projects that leverage technology that uses the least amount of energy during peak times and relies on refrigerants with lower global warming potential. Projects that employ geothermal heat pump systems for space conditioning are eligible for higher levels of funding (up to $1 million per project, based on square footage) than those that do not.

Proposals for demonstration projects will be accepted through September 18, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. The portal to submit an application can be found here, while the full RFP is available here. Additional information can be found on NYSERDA’s website.

Early Design Support

Separately, early-stage design support is available for projects that integrate carbon neutral features into pre-schematic and schematic design phases that lead to the cost-effective construction and completion of exemplary multifamily buildings. Teams who are pursuing Passive House certification and working on multifamily or commercial buildings, whether retrofits or new construction, are encouraged to submit applications, especially if they incorporate prefabricated elements or other cost-saving measures.

Applications to secure Early Design Support funding will be accepted on a continuous basis through December 31, 2025, or until funds are exhausted. More information about the Early Design Support program can be found on NYSERDA’s website. The portal to submit an application can be found here.

Author: Jay Fox
Categories: Article, Award, News