New York state has launched RetrofitNY, a program intended to create standardized, scalable energy-efficient retrofit solutions that can be replicated throughout the entire housing industry.
State officials said it is a first-of-its-kind program in the U.S.
The program will further the state’s greenhouse gas emission reductions and climate goals by renovating multifamily affordable housing properties to dramatically improve their energy performance, officials said.
RetrofitNY will help support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has issued a Request for Proposals seeking experienced design/construction teams to develop high-performance retrofit solutions for up to six multifamily affordable housing buildings across the state. Design solutions will be required to exclude the use of fossil fuels onsite, demonstrate they are cost-effective, be standardized, scalable and aesthetically pleasing.
Sen. Betty Little of Queensbury, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, ssaid energy costs “are a significant share of a family’s household budget and have a direct impact on housing affordability. RetrofitNY will make multi-family rental housing more efficient, which will in turn reduce that cost burden, particularly for low-income households. This program advances our state’s clean energy goals, but equally as important ensures greater housing affordability.”
“In every corner of New York, we have made significant progress in reducing emissions and investing in clean energy,” Cuomo said. “With RetrofitNY, we are furthering our efforts to protect the environment, build stronger more sustainable housing, and create healthier, greener communities all across this great state.”
He said under RetrofitNY—a $30 million program funded over 10 years and made available through the State’s Clean Energy Fund—the state is working 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. These retrofit solutions will also serve as an important tool to help preserve a large number of affordable housing units throughout the state, and improve their residents’ health, comfort and quality of life.
Richard Kauffman, chairman of Energy and Finance for New York State, said reducing greenhouse gas emissions from New York’s building stock “will require scaling up clean energy technologies that could then be used in a greater number of buildings throughout the state. RetrofitNY is an exciting way to engage the private sector to help develop these innovative projects in a cost-effective manner.”
The RFP is the first step in a process that NYSERDA anticipates will stimulate a new industry capable of delivering net zero retrofits to residential building stock at scale. The retrofit solutions developed through this initiative will serve as a national model for cost-effective and highly energy-efficient multifamily housing renovations.
As part of the RFP, NYSERDA will establish separate scoring committees to qualify solution-provider teams to design high-performance retrofit solutions, and to qualify buildings to serve as models for those prototype retrofit designs.
Six awards of $75,000 will be given to qualified solution-provider teams to design net-zero (or near net-zero) energy retrofits for six selected prototype buildings.
Alicia Barton, NYSERDA president and CEO said RetrofitNY can lead to innovations that can be adopted widely and will be essential in meeting Cuomo’s ambitious clean energy goals. “Net-zero energy buildings for affordable housing are a win-win not only our most vulnerable population but also for the environment.”
To be qualified, buildings must be affordable housing multifamily buildings no taller than seven stories for which a substantial rehabilitation or comparable work is already being planned within the next 12-24 months.
Buildings for which a retrofit design is completed may also be eligible for project funding through a separate solicitation NYSERDA plans to issue later this year for the construction and implementation of the prototype retrofits.
Sen. Joseph Griffo, Chair, Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications said, “This initiative has the potential to create more energy-efficient affordable housing for families and others across New York state. It also provides developers and builders with incentives to undergo building renovations and upgrades that could result in energy savings.”
RetrofitNY is based on a successful European program, Energiesprong, which has brought over 2,000 units of affordable housing to net-zero energy with 20,000 more units in the pipeline. The program was launched in the Netherlands in 2013 and is now being implemented in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. New York is the first jurisdiction in North America to launch an initiative modeled after Energiesprong’s innovative and comprehensive market-based approach, state officials said.