The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority initiative, administered by The Clean Fight with technical support from Rocky Mountain Institute, includes a $3 million sponsorship from financial advisor Wells Fargo. This programme supports New York State’s Climate Act agenda including the goal to achieve an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“Investing in new clean, resilient technologies is just one way that New York is advancing progress toward our ambitious Climate Act goals, and the Empire Technology Prize is the newest tool as we move forward” said Governor Hochul. “This programme will help us develop solutions that lower harmful emissions from buildings, creating healthier spaces for all New Yorkers to live and work, as we come together to fight climate change.”
The announcement was made at an event held in Manhattan to discuss the transformative potential of technology to reduce energy and dependence on fossil fuels in existing tall buildings. The Empire Technology Prize is a competitive programme that represents a significant market opportunity for equipment manufacturers and entrepreneurs to develop low-carbon solutions in discussion with leading real estate partners while exploring opportunities for heating system retrofit demonstration projects in tall commercial and multi-family buildings. Applicants are challenged to develop a tested and fully functional prototype of a heating or distribution system that can be installed in a manner that does not displace occupants and works with existing infrastructure in buildings seven stories or taller.
“NYSERDA is excited to partner with The Clean Fight and Wells Fargo to launch the Empire Technology Prize and usher in the next era of innovative low-carbon retrofit solutions for one of our hardest sectors to decarbonise – tall buildings” added NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris. “By casting a global net, we are seeking the world’s best and brightest to advance new technologies that minimise occupant disruptions and show how they could be applied in the buildings that make up the New York City skyline.”
Solution providers are encouraged to submit proposals that will be reviewed and judged by industry experts, in conjunction with participating real estate companies partnering with The Clean Fight. The Clean Fight will bring together finalists and leading New York real estate portfolio owners interested in giving feedback on the finalist’s proposed solutions and discussing pilot and demonstration opportunities in New York.
Applicants will be eligible to receive up to $1 million each; $250,000 on acceptance as a Finalist, and up to $750,000 in milestone payments by progressing their solution. In addition, a total of $2 million will be available to help finalists offset the costs of installing solutions such as pilot programmes or demonstration projects in eligible tall buildings in the New York market.
At the end of the one-year prize program, beginning July 2024 and ending June 2025, one winner will be awarded an additional $1 million grand prize, based on the solution with the greatest potential cumulative carbon emissions reduction by 2040 in the New York market, with a goal of facilitating the further development and deployment of the solution in New York's tall buildings.
With approximately 1.5 billion square feet of existing buildings that use steam to provide heating to New York families and workers, proposals are sought for two focus areas including:
Centralised building heat pumps that generate steam or high temperature hot water.
Solutions that make it easier to adopt readily available centralised low temperature heat pumps into existing building distribution systems
Applications will be accepted through 3:00 p.m. on March 22, 2024.
Buildings are one of the leading generators of greenhouse gas emissions in the State and 70 percent of buildings in New York State were constructed before the energy code and will need to be upgraded in order to achieve the State’s climate goals. The Empire Technology Prize continues the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s leadership in advancing carbon-neutrality in existing buildings and will draw on lessons learned from projects supported through the Empire Building Challenge.
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities.
Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century.
A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments.
These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011.
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035.
Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and more than 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.
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