New York leading the Northeast in net-zero buildings according to new Status Report

NYSERDA announces grand opening of Solara Apartments net-zero residential building

Providing $15 million to support net-zero buildings, large campuses and communities through the Net-Zero Energy for Economic Development Program

Supports Governor’s Green New Deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced the completion of the first phase of Solara Apartments, a new multifamily development that is built to net-zero construction standards. The apartment complex, which features state-of-the-art renewable and energy-efficient technologies, will offer 248 apartments when complete. Net-zero buildings are highly efficient and use on-site or off-site renewable resources to meet remaining energy needs. Advancing net-zero design will help the State achieve its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

The net-zero Solara Apartments opened in Schenectady. The energy-efficient homes powered by clean renewables. 

A report released today, New York Getting to Net-zero Status Report, by New Buildings Institute shows New York State is leading the Northeast in net-zero buildings with 27 documented ongoing and completed net-zero building projects and a total of 132 net-zero, high-performance, and Passive House building projects which implement a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which reduces the building’s ecological footprint. Funded by NYSERDA, the report addresses net-zero development misconceptions and shows that steady cost compression can lower net-zero construction costs to be competitive with conventional construction. Additionally, the report shows that in just the past 10 years, the net-zero market has seen tremendous growth – and its trajectory is expected to continue upward.

Growing the count of these low-carbon buildings throughout the state is a cornerstone of achieving Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s clean energy and climate goals. Today’s announcement supports the Governor’s Green New Deal, a nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda that puts New York on a path to carbon neutrality while spurring growth of the green economy.

“The state is advancing net-zero buildings at scale under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, to drive down costs for consumers, and foster cleaner energy and more comfortable living and working spaces. Net-zero buildings support New York’s comprehensive climate and clean energy strategy that aligns all sectors of the economy under smart policy to drive economic growth, increase affordability for consumers, and safeguard our environment for generations to come,” said Alicia Barton, President and CEO at NYSERDA.

Solara Apartments, located in Schenectady, was designed by Bruns Realty Group, LLC and offers residents ecofriendly living. Residents will enjoy comfortable homes that offer predictable living costs and utilize clean energy solutions including solar, electric vehicle charging stations, and networked smart building controls. Also represented at the event was ICF Panels, LLC, a Capital Region company that assembles and manufactures insulated concrete panels that can be used in the construction of net-zero buildings.

Approximately 100 million square feet of new construction is built per year in New York State. Once a building is constructed, it is in operation for about 50-100 years, and it becomes much more expensive to execute significant energy and carbon reducing measures after a building is completed. Therefore, the focus is to incorporate low- and carbon neutral measures and design features as early as possible in the buildings’ initial design stages. Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal, which includes the most aggressive climate and clean energy goals in the nation, proposes a Climate Action Council that will create a transformational roadmap to reduce emissions economy-wide. To support this effort, NYSERDA is developing a Zero Buildings Roadmap to provide a path to a carbon neutral statewide building stock in New York.

To ensure that economic development projects across New York State capitalize on clean and efficient building strategies, NYSERDA will provide $15 million through the next round of the NYS Consolidated Funding Application process to expand the state’s Net-Zero Energy for Economic Development program. This initiative will help large campuses (e.g. colleges, universities, hospitals) and communities (e.g. towns, cities, neighborhoods) embrace low-carbon/green building practices, accelerating the decarbonization of the building stock in New York State while advancing economic development.

Today’s announcement supports New York’s comprehensive approach to build a strong foundation for climate action harnessing the potential of energy efficiency. It complements NYSERDA’s current portfolio of green building programs including Multifamily New Construction, RetrofitNY, Net-Zero Portfolio support for large real estate portfolio owners seeking to advance net-zero buildings, and the recently launched $30 million Buildings of Excellence Competition . Buildings of Excellence is jumpstarting net-zero multifamily construction by advancing the design, construction and operation of low- and zero-carbon buildings that are resilient and provide comfortable and affordable spaces. The competition provides $10 million in funding for three rounds with up to $1 million available per project. Applications for the first round are due June 4, 2019.

Georgi Ann Bailey, Hon AIANYS, CAE, Executive Director AIA, NYS said, “The American Institute of Architects New York State is pleased to partner with NYSERDA in furthering our efforts towards the 2030 goal of a net-zero built environment.”

Brendan Hall, Independent Engineer and ASHRAE Central Chapter said, “We are very proud to be partners with NYSERDA in their efforts to bring the construction of net-zero energy buildings to the broader market. ASHRAE is committed to a leadership role in responding to and reducing building climate change footprints.”

David Bruns, Owner, Bruns Realty Group said, “Solara is an exciting new development that  builds upon the success of our first net-zero development, netZero Village, with better performance, high tech and luxury amenities and features. These two projects prove that low carbon development is not only commercially viable but profitable and hugely popular with our customers. Our hope is their success will convince other builders to join the low carbon movement.”

Funding for NYSERDA’s programs is part of the state’s 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund and is part of NYSERDA’s $50 million investment in new construction initiatives over the next three years that are focused on activity in the multi-family building sector including market rate and low-to-moderate income. Learn more on NYSERDA’s website.