Hochul announces energy efficient upgrades for affordable housing units

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday the availability of $5 million for a second round of pilot projects that will help to advance whole-building deep energy efficiency upgrades that will substantially lower emissions from multifamily affordable housing.
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Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday the availability of $5 million for a second round of pilot projects under the $30 million RetrofitNY program. This program will help to advance whole-building deep energy efficiency upgrades that will substantially lower emissions from multifamily affordable housing

Projects funded through this initiative will support modernizing building renovation and are expected to help create jobs, foster a tech savvy workforce in New York and advance cost-effective replicable solutions, as part of the state’s growing green economy. The announcement supports the state’s nation-leading goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050, as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act).

 “Buildings contribute approximately one third of harmful emissions across the state,” Hochul said. “This holistic approach to transforming the building renovation industry will ensure New York State’s building stock is cleaner, greener and healthier for all residents. Through the support of innovative digital technologies and construction and manufacturing processes, New York is further cementing itself as a leader in the utilization of clean energy.”

Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the RetrofitNY funding seeks to support owners of eligible affordable housing buildings up to seven stories. The program helps building owners planning substantial renovations in their roofs, windows, and/or heating system replacements within the next two years.

Owners of qualifying buildings may also be eligible for up to $100,000 in design incentives. Eligibility will be determined through submission of a building renovation scope of work. Owners may also be eligible for up to an additional $40,000 per dwelling unit, with a cap of $1.6 million per building, subject to funding availability, to cover incremental costs for all electric, whole-building upgrades that put buildings on a path to carbon neutrality.

This incremental funding is meant to bridge the gap between financing from other sources such as regulated housing agencies, bank loans and tax credits used for business-as-usual renovations. It allows building owners to seek renovations that achieve high performance and low carbon solutions with the goal of reaching fully carbon neutral renovation solutions in the future.

 “To achieve our climate goals, more than 200,000 buildings a year need to be retrofitted across the state from now through mid-century and to do achieve this we need to identify innovative solutions that work for building owners and occupants,” said Doreen Harris, president and CEO, NYSERDA. “We are incentivizing building owners to go beyond making the usual renovations to undertake carbon neutral solutions that can create replicable processes for renovating whole buildings that both reduce building emissions and increase occupant comfort.”

Whole-building retrofits incentivized under this program upgrade the building exterior through the use of off-site manufactured, panelized façade systems and other building efficiency upgrades to lower building energy use, as well as upgrading the mechanical systems to efficient all electric heat pump-based systems for heating, cooling and domestic hot water, including energy recovery ventilation and integration of solar PV systems.

 Benefits of whole-building retrofits through RetrofitNY include:

  • Minimized occupant relocation during renovations due to use of building components manufactured off-site to shorten on-site construction times.
  • Lower utility costs and other building operating expenses.
  • Improved building resiliency during power outages.
  • Enhanced indoor air quality through electrification and improved ventilation.
  • Decreased outside noise penetration.
  • Enhanced aesthetic appearance of buildings.
  • Compliance with building related local laws.

Building owners interested in this opportunity must first be qualified to partner with a NYSERDA-qualified solution provider using products from qualified manufacturers to design, furnish and install an all-electric whole building retrofit solution on their pilot building. NYSERDA facilitates matchmaking with solution providers to assist building owners, who may then apply for gap funding. Approved pilots will undergo a four- to six-month design process to finalize their design. Pilot projects will be selected and funding awarded on a first come, first served basis with the opportunity remaining open through Nov. 1, 2022, or until funding is exhausted. To apply, click here. An informational webinar is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 19 for those interested in learning more.

 The first round of RetrofitNY pilot projects were awarded in 2018 and they are helping to develop the next generation of pre-fabricated and integrated building systems to lower costs, while mitigating the adverse effects of climate change that disproportionately impact disadvantaged communities.

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