NYSERDA celebrates completion of Solara Apartments phase 1; design by Bruns Realty Group

May 07, 2019 - Upstate New York

Rotterdam, NY The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) celebrated the completion of the first phase of Solara Apartments, a new multifamily development that is built to net-zero construction standards. The apartment complex, which features renewable and energy-efficient technologies, will offer 248 apartments when complete. Net-zero buildings are efficient and use on- or off-site renewable resources to meet remaining energy needs. Advancing these low-carbon buildings throughout the state is a cornerstone of achieving governor Andrew Cuomo’s clean energy and climate goals. 

Alicia Barton, president and CEO, NYSERDA said, “The state is advancing net-zero buildings at scale under governor Cuomo’s leadership, to drive down costs for consumers, and foster cleaner energy and more comfortable living and working spaces. Net-zero buildings support New York’s comprehensive climate and clean energy strategy that aligns all sectors of the economy under smart policy to drive economic growth, increase affordability for consumers, and safeguard our environment for generations to come.”

Solara Apartments was designed by Bruns Realty Group, LLC and offers residents ecofriendly living through  predictable living costs; utilizing clean energy solutions–including solar, electric vehicle charging stations–and networked smart building controls. Also represented at the event was ICF Panels, LLC, a Capital Region company that assembles and manufactures insulated concrete panels that can be used in the construction of net-zero buildings.

To ensure that economic development projects across state capitalize on clean and efficient building strategies, NYSERDA will provide $15 million through the next round of the NYS Consolidated Funding Application process to expand the state’s Net-Zero Energy for Economic Development program. This initiative will help large campuses (e.g. colleges, universities, hospitals) and communities (e.g. towns, cities, neighborhoods) embrace low-carbon/green building practices, accelerating the decarbonization of the building stock in New York State while advancing economic development.

Advancing net-zero design will help the state achieve its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030. A new report, New York Getting to Net-zero Status Report, by the New Buildings Institute shows NYS is leading the Northeast in net-zero buildings with 27 documented ongoing and completed net-zero building projects and a total of 132 net-zero, high-performance, and Passive House building projects which implement a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which reduces the building’s ecological footprint. Funded by NYSERDA, the report addresses net-zero development misconceptions and shows that steady cost compression can lower net-zero construction costs to be competitive with conventional construction. Additionally, the report shows that in just the past 10 years, the net-zero market has seen tremendous growth - and its trajectory is expected to continue upward.

Approximately 100 million s/f of new construction is built per year in New York State. Once a building is constructed, it is in operation for about 50-100 years, and it becomes much more expensive to execute significant energy and carbon reducing measures after a building is completed. Therefore, the focus is to incorporate low- and carbon neutral measures and design features as early as possible in the buildings’ initial design stages. Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal, which includes the most aggressive climate and clean energy goals in the nation, proposes a Climate Action Council that will create a transformational roadmap to reduce emissions economy-wide. To support this effort, NYSERDA is developing a Zero Buildings Roadmap to provide a path to a carbon neutral statewide building stock in New York.

David Bruns, owner, Bruns Realty said, “Solara is an exciting new development that  builds upon the success of our first net-zero development, netZero Village, with better performance, high tech and luxury amenities and features. These two projects prove that low carbon development is not only commercially viable but profitable and hugely popular with our customers. Our hope is their success will convince other builders to join the low carbon movement.”

Funding for NYSERDA’s programs is part of the state’s 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund and is part of NYSERDA’s $50 million investment in new construction initiatives over the next three years that are focused on activity in the multi-family building sector including market rate and low-to-moderate income.

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