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New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched an initiative to advance the design, construction and operation of low- or zero-carbon emitting buildings in the state.

The launched $30 million "Buildings of Excellence" competition is part of efforts by the state to convert New York's entire building stock to be carbon neutral

The aim is to reduce consumer energy bills and the state's carbon emissions whilst providing residents with healthy and affordable living and working spaces.

The launch comes at a time New Yorkers pay about $35 billion annually for electricity and heating fuels, and buildings account for 59% of statewide greenhouse gas emissions

The programme supports the governor's Green New Deal formed to increase the state's clean energy portfolio and jobs.

New York has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels and to generate 70% of its total energy from renewables by 2030.

As part of the project, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will provide financial incentives to projects wanting to develop smart and energy efficient buildings.

The competition will include three rounds with each round providing up to $10 million and up to $1 million available per project.

To be eligible, projects must be located in one of the six electric investor-owned New York State utility company territories

The initiative will act as a pilot to demonstrate how advanced building design can eventually be adopted into the New York State Energy Conservation and Construction Code.

Governor Cuomo said:"The time for addressing climate change is now and today we are doubling down on our commitment to lead the way with a revolutionary path toward carbon-free buildings.

"The development of low- to zero-carbon buildings will create healthier living spaces and communities for all New Yorkers, while driving down harmful emissions from one of our highest contributing sectors - our building stock - and pushing us forward on our path to carbon neutrality."