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Construction & DesignGreen Building

DOB launches competition to find green building ideas

Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca today announced the launch of the Carbon Neutrality Innovation Challenge, DOB’s first-ever competition to solicit ideas to increase energy efficiency among NYC’s buildings.

As part of Mayor 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 DOB to propose ideas to achieve this goal.


Five semifinalists will be asked to present their proposals at DOB’s Build Safe / Live Safe conference on September 25, 2020. The competition winner will be considered for future opportunities like technical support and prioritized assistance with introducing their technology to NYC’s design and construction industries.

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

“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.”

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.

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