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New York in bid to make buildings more energy efficient

The US Department of Buildings (DOB) has launched a Carbon Neutrality Innovation Challenge to spark innovations to boost energy efficiency across New York city’s buildings.

As part of city mayor Bill de Blasio’s historic Green New Deal, NYC plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. Innovative companies from the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Urban Tech Initiative will work directly with the DOB to propose ideas to achieve this goal.

Five semi-finalists will be asked to present their proposals at the DOB’s Build Safe / Live Safe conference which is scheduled for September 25. The competition winner will be considered for future opportunities like technical support and prioritized assistance with introducing their technology to the city’s design and construction industries.

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The winner will also be featured in upcoming DOB industry seminars and events highlighting the new frontier of building sustainability technology.

The challenge is looking for ideas across the sustainability spectrum, including:

  • Energy storage
  • Distributed generation
  • Buildings systems, management and operations
  • Building materials and insulation
  • Reducing “embodied carbon” that is stored or emitted during construction

Submitted proposals will be evaluated by the DOB’s in-house Innovation Committee and by the agency’s Buildings Sustainability Board, invitations for which will be sent in the coming days.

The Board will include subject-matter experts on sustainability drawn from the city’s real estate, design, and construction industries. Both committees will evaluate proposals on feasibility, impact and innovation. Companies within the EDC’s Urban Tech Initiative that are working on sustainable technologies are eligible to enter this challenge.

The competition continues DOB’s work to spearhead new initiatives to combat climate change. Current legislation include passage of the 2020 Energy Code, which sets strict guidelines for new construction, solar panel requirements for new and renovated buildings, mandated energy emission retrofits for buildings by 2024, a new Climate Advisory Board and upcoming energy efficiency scores and letter grades that buildings will be required to display.

“Climate change is an existential threat to our city, and one that New Yorkers will meet with our characteristic creativity, passion and determination,” said DOB Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “We look forward to harnessing the best ideas presented by innovative companies to bring forward new technologies to make our built environment part of the solution to this unprecedented challenge.”

“Buildings are New York City’s biggest source of carbon emissions, and a monumental frontier in our fight against climate change,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

“To achieve our ambitious goals we need efforts like this to accelerate innovation and deliver forward thinking, inclusive solutions.”


Smart cities are part of the educational tracks at DISTRIBUTECH International. Do you have a speaking idea for next year’s event in San Diego, February 9-11, 2021? If so, submit an abstract today!


This article was first published by Smart Energy International and was reprinted with permission.