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NYSERDA announces first contract awards for $30 million energy efficiency program

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced six design contracts have been awarded to solution provider teams under RetrofitNY’s High-Performance Retrofit Solutions pilot program. The contracts are the initial step for RetrofitNY, a first-of-its-kind program in the U.S. launched earlier this year by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The program is intended to create standardized, scalable deep energy-efficient retrofit solutions that can be replicated throughout the entire housing industry and support Governor Cuomo’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

“RetrofitNY capitalizes on the expertise of building owners and designers for identifying and creating scalable energy efficiency solutions for New York’s building stock that will reduce energy costs and improve the quality of life for residents. Under Governor Cuomo’s clean energy economy, the state is creating opportunities for market-wide transformation and we are thrilled with the market response to the first phase of this innovative energy efficiency program,” Alicia Barton, NYSERDA President and CEO said.

RetrofitNY was created to stimulate a new industry capable of delivering replicable net-zero, or near net-zero, energy retrofits to residential building stock at scale. Statewide, buildings account for 60 percent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency in existing buildings is a critical component of achieving the Governor’s nation-leading clean energy and climate goals. The energy efficient retrofit products designed through the RetrofitNY program will offer multi-family buildings cost-effective and efficient means for cutting emissions and reducing their residents’ energy costs while making their homes more comfortable.

These six contracts are the first step in a two-step competitive application process led by NYSERDA. Under this process, review committees qualified both solution-provider teams to design high-performance retrofit solutions and multifamily affordable housing buildings to receive the prototype retrofit designs.

Each solution-provider team was awarded $75,000 for the design phase of their project, which will last approximately six months. Designs are also required to exclude the use of fossil fuels onsite, and demonstrate that the designs are cost-effective, standardized, scalable and aesthetically pleasing.

To initiate the design phase of these six projects, kickoff meetings are being held with the contract winners. Once complete, NYSERDA will offer additional funding for developing and installing the designs under a separate solicitation. NYSERDA will then monitor the construction and performance of the solutions to incorporate learnings from this first phase into future requests for proposals for improved designs, ensuring the program will be rolled out on an ever-larger scale until a self-sustaining market is created.

The RetrofitNY program supports the state’s greenhouse gas emission reductions of 40 percent by 2030 as well as the new 2025 energy efficiency target announced in April. The components developed and tested under RetrofitNY are anticipated to be applicable to new construction projects as well as retrofits, and serve the broader emerging net zero market in New York.

The winning contract teams are:

  • The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (ICAST): working with Beacon Communities on a two-story, six-unit building that is part of a six-building campus in Troy.

  • The Levy Partnership: working with Joint Ownership Entity (JOE) NYC on a six-story, 21-unit building in Harlem.

  • Bright Power: working with Volmar on a five-story, 42-unit building in the Bronx.

  • SWBR Architects: working with Conifer Real Estate on a two-story, 24-unit building in Portville in the Western NY Region.

  • King + King Architects: working with Rock PMC on a two-story, eight-unit building in Phoenix outside Syracuse that is part of a five-building campus.

  • Chris Benedict, RA: working with RiseBoro Community Partnership on a four-story, 46-unit building in Brooklyn.

RetrofitNY is a $30 million program funded over 10 years and made available through the State’s Clean Energy Fund. It intends to bring a substantial portion of New York’s affordable housing units to or near net-zero energy over the next decade. Net-zero energy buildings consume no more energy, on an annual basis, than they produce onsite through renewable energy technologies like solar panels or other distributed energy resources.

RetrofitNY is based on a successful European program, Energiesprong, which has brought over 5,000 units of affordable housing to net-zero energy with 20,000 more units in the pipeline.

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