NEW YORK — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo awarded $18 million to 28 projects under the first round of the Buildings of Excellence Competition, which recognizes and supports the design, construction, and operation of low-carbon emitting multifamily buildings. The competition supports Gov. Cuomo's Green New Deal, among the most aggressive climate change programs in the nation, which puts New York State on a path to economy-wide carbon neutrality and mandates an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

"Reducing harmful emissions from buildings is critically important to our carbon neutral future and a vital part of New York's aggressive strategy to curb the impacts of climate change and stimulate green economic development," Cuomo said. "New York State is leading the nation through purposeful and strategic action and these replicable award-winning projects are at the core of reducing our carbon footprint and propelling the transition to low-carbon structures in communities across the state."

The Buildings of Excellence competition is just one more way New York is taking bold, aggressive action against the threat of climate change, said Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul.

"The competition to reduce our carbon footprint and encourage more low-carbon structures has been a success, and we are expanding the program to continue to build on our efforts,” Hochul said. “While the federal government fails to address climate change, New York is leading the nation in our push for a cleaner, greener future."

The Buildings of Excellence Competition was launched in March 2019 and received 53 proposals from across the state. While initial funding for this round was earmarked at $10 million, the response was so strong that NYSERDA added an additional $8 million to support round one winners. As part of the review process, each proposal had to demonstrate how the project achieves low carbon performance, is equipped with the ability for broad adoption, provides superior financial benefits for owners, and offers a healthy and safe living environment for occupants. The projects selected will also provide comprehensive data on design, construction, and cost that can be analyzed and shared to increase the number of low- to zero-carbon buildings in New York state.

"Public-private partnerships, such as those demonstrated through Buildings of Excellence, are helping to drive change across the state and are a key component of New York's transition to carbon neutral buildings and a green economy,” said Alicia Barton, president and CEO, NYSERDA. “Governor Cuomo is leading this transformation, which will benefit all consumers with the comfort, affordability and improved health benefits that are provided by low- and zero-carbon living spaces."

For a complete list of the 28 winning projects statewide, please visit the Buildings of Excellence website, which includes:

•           Capital Region: $2.4 million for three projects;

•           Finger Lakes: $3.0 million for three projects;

•           Mid-Hudson: Approximately $790,000 for two projects;

•           New York City: More than $10 million for 18 projects; and

•           Southern Tier: More than $1.0 million for two projects.


Today, the second round of the Buildings of Excellence Competition also launched with up to $10 million available in funding available under two categories: Early Design, awards of up to $1 million and Late Design, awards of up to $750,000. Eligible projects must meet low- to zero-carbon energy performance criteria and be easily replicable, profitable, comfortable, and be located in one of the six electric investor-owned New York State utility company territories.  Proposals are being accepted through April 2020, with awards expected to be announced in fall 2020.

The Buildings of Excellence competition is administered by NYSERDA with the support of an advisory council comprised of a cross-section of experts from the design, real estate and sustainability sectors with partners including American Institute of Architects New York State, ASHRAE, and the Real Estate Board of New York. It is the only competition of its kind, with the awarded projects becoming part of a comprehensive data collection effort that will help determine how to cost-effectively deliver superior performing buildings that will serve as an essential building block of a carbon-neutral future and advance the design and construction of multifamily buildings.

"I want to congratulate the winners of the Buildings of Excellence competition along with Governor Cuomo and NYSERDA for continuing their leadership through innovative energy and environmental solutions as we work together to address our climate crisis,” said Senator Brian Kavanagh.  

Richard Yancey, FAIA, executive director, Building Energy Exchange, said, "The Buildings of Excellence competition is a dramatic commitment to stimulate leading examples of very low carbon buildings. BE-Ex is excited to support this program by showcasing these inspiring high-performance projects in an exhibit at our NYC center of excellence and delivering educational programs based on their innovative solutions, providing every building decision-maker the confidence and know-how to act and help put New York state on a pathway toward carbon neutrality."

Brendan Hall, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, government affairs chair, Central New York – ASHRAE, said, “It is very exciting to support this competition and to help jump start this market. The projects highlighted here are truly the next generation in multifamily building construction and will serve as a template for others to follow. The most important thing to note when looking at these projects is that they do not utilize some exotic technology, but existing technologies and techniques applied in a holistic manner."

Architects understand how buildings contribute to climate change and play a critical role in reducing our nation's carbon footprint within the built environment, said Mark Vincent Kruse, AIA, 2019 AIA New York State President. “AIA New York State is thrilled to promote the importance of bringing architects and developers together through the Buildings of Excellence Competition to achieve design excellence that makes a difference. Congratulations to all of the winners. We look forward to seeing the results."

Zachary Steinberg, vice president of policy and planning at the Real Estate Board of New York, said, “I'm happy to see such a strong group of projects that are being awarded in this first round of the Buildings of Excellence. Proving that cost-effective design and construction can be done while providing an improved product for its occupants and still be profitable for developers is critical to the continued advancement of energy policy and development in the city."

Funding for this program is part of the state's 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund and is part of NYSERDA's more than $50 million investment in new construction and gut rehab projects in the multifamily building sector including market rate and low-to-moderate income. For more information, visit