Governor Hochul Announces Applications Open for Second Cohort of Empire Building Challenge Partners to Advance Climate-Friendly Buildings in New York State


Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a call for applications for a second cohort of real estate partners to join the state’s $50 million Empire Building Challenge to help advance climate-friendly building stock in New York State. Under this program, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is seeking teams of real estate portfolio owners and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering firms to submit applications. on retrofit approaches that can lead to large-scale decarbonisation of heating and hot water. water in existing high-rise buildings.

“New York State property owners took over last year by pledging to reduce harmful emissions in their building portfolios, and now we are looking for others to join the effort as we continue our aggressive efforts to combat climate change,” Governor Hochul said. “Through the Empire Building Challenge, we’re delivering scalable solutions for low-carbon retrofits to reduce our state’s reliance on fossil fuels. By bringing these low-carbon solutions into our climate agenda, we’re continuing foster innovative technologies of the future and advance our climate goals.”

This second round of applications will build on the strong private sector adoption in the first cohort of the Empire Building Challenge, which resulted in 10 partners who collectively control more than 130 million square feet of real estate in the state. of New York, including more than 250 buildings that contain affordable prices. lodging. Expanding market capacity and decarbonization commitments advance Governor Hochul’s national goal, Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050 .

Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said, “We encourage building owners and engineering teams to seriously engage in favor of carbon neutrality in their portfolios and to apply to join other leading property owners in promoting energy efficiency. , sustainability and healthy indoor environments. Using lessons learned from Empire Building Challenge projects, we are identifying viable solutions to bring the state’s existing high-rise buildings into a cleaner, greener future in support of Governor Hochul’s goal of d reach two million climate changes. friendly homes by 2030.”

With today’s announcement, NYSERDA is seeking partners to join the Empire Building Challenge’s second cohort of partners and continue promoting low-carbon retrofit solutions to overcome barriers and help bring innovation to life. scale of successful decarbonization strategies for high-rise buildings over 20 stories in New York State. Teaming up on applications, MEP engineers will work with property owners to determine which low-carbon technologies to install and commit to addressing priority issues such as building heating system upgrades and deployment. innovative thermal solutions. These solutions include heat recovery, thermal storage, advanced heat pumps, low temperature hydronics and advanced system integrations. These solutions reduce the overall carbon footprint of the building and improve the comfort and health of residents.

Eligibility criteria for applicants include:

  • Building owners must have a decarbonization project proposal ready for implementation by the end of 2025;
  • The building owner must apply for the program in partnership with a mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering firm;
  • The building owner must own or manage a building portfolio containing high-rise multi-family and/or commercial buildings (20 stories or more); and
  • The building owner must publicly commit to achieving carbon neutrality in one or more buildings in their New York State building portfolio by 2035.

Applications must be submitted by 3:00 p.m. on May 18, 2022 and selections are expected in July 2022. An informational webinar on this partnership opportunity will take place on April 7, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.

Qualified applicants will be able to apply through a competitive solicitation to receive up to $100,000 in technical assistance funding, as well as submit proposals to receive up to $3,000,000 for the implementation of low-carbon retrofit projects through a competitive funding opportunity expected to be released in the second half of 2022.

The Empire Building Challenge, launched in 2020, is a public-private partnership between NYSERDA and leading real estate developers, engineering firms and solution providers to pioneer climate-friendly retrofits that can be replicated on more than 3 billion feet existing squares, multi-family, commercial and institutional high-rise buildings. The challenge aims to stimulate climate action by the owners of real estate portfolios; present the best commercially acceptable strategies to decarbonize existing buildings; and drive product development and innovation from the global supply chain.

Through the Empire Building Challenge, NYSERDA is supporting 10 leading real estate portfolio owners who have committed to rapidly accelerating their decarbonization efforts with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality and enticing the market to join the ‘effort. The Challenge encourages partnerships between homeowners and the world’s most innovative technology developers, manufacturers and solution providers to demonstrate low-carbon retrofit projects that reduce energy consumption and gas emissions at greenhouse effect of buildings, and which are scalable and replicable across New York State. Following the first round, Empire State Realty Trust, Hudson Square Properties, L+M Fund Management and Omni New York each received up to $5 million in state funding pending contract negotiations for implement their proposed retrofit projects that reduce harmful emissions and serve as models of urban sustainability in cold climates.

State Senator Kevin Parker said: “A key element that will help the state achieve our clean energy goals is partnership. This initiative is a great way for us to partner with developers and ensure they incorporate energy saving options. energy in buildings

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz said“The enthusiastic response to the first round of the Empire Building Challenge demonstrates the willingness of the private sector to participate in New York State’s mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Advancing climate-friendly buildings remains an urgent goal and this initiative embraces the spirit of partnership we need to drive the large-scale decarbonization of heating and hot water in existing buildings.”

One of the most challenging areas of the built environment to decarbonize are existing high-rise buildings in cold climates, such as the buildings that make up the New York City skyline. The Empire Building Challenge addresses the most challenging aspects of decarbonizing these complex buildings through retrofits aimed at reducing reliance on fossil fuels, advancing resource-efficient electrification, integrating decarbonization in the capital planning and asset management process and to ensure that innovation and the development of low-carbon products meet the needs of property owners. The Empire Technology Prize, a $10 million initiative to drive product development and innovation to fill market gaps, will also launch in the second half of this year.

Buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, responsible for one-third of annual statewide emissions. Integrating energy efficiency and electrification measures into new and existing buildings will reduce carbon pollution and help achieve more sustainable, healthy and comfortable buildings in support of the state’s ambitious goal to reach 2 million climate-friendly homes by 2030. Through NYSERDA and utility programs, more than $6.8 billion is being invested to decarbonize buildings to meet the decarbonization goals of the State. By improving building energy efficiency and including on-site storage, renewable energy, and electric vehicle charging equipment, the state will reduce carbon pollution and advance the goal of reducing energy consumption. 185 trillion BTUs of on-site energy by 2025, equivalent to powering 1.8 million homes. . Energy efficiency accounts for 75% of clean energy jobs in New York.

New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Act

New York State’s premier climate program is the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues to drive a healthy economy. green as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined in law by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on track to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70% power generation renewable energy by 2030, and achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s unprecedented investments to develop clean energy, including more than $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable energy and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion in dollars to reduce emissions from buildings, $1.8 billion to expand solar power, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and more than $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments . Together, these investments support nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, 2,100% growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011, and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind power from 2035.

Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. These reductions must also ensure that at least 35% with a target of 40% of clean energy investment benefits go to underserved communities and advance progress toward the state’s 2025 energy efficiency goal of reducing onsite energy consumption 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.

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