Climate week: NYC DOB announces winners of first Carbon Neutrality Innovation Challenge.


The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) has named the winners of the agency’s first-ever innovation challenge for ideas to increase energy efficiency among buildings.

Launched earlier this year on Earth Day in partnership with the Urban Tech Hub @ Company, the Carbon Neutrality Innovation Challenge put out an open call to the design, construction and technology industries, inviting the public to submit their ideas on ways to increase building sustainability. With the goal of generating ideas to contribute to NYC’s ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, each of these winning submissions were presented at DOB’s digital industry conference, Build Safe|Live Safe Digital 2020: Safety, Innovation, & Sustainability on Sept. 22. (The conference concludes on Sept. 25.)

“Climate change is an existential threat to a coastal city like ours, and innovative technologies will help us meet this challenge head on,” Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca said in a statement. “As part of our first ever digital conference, I am thrilled to congratulate the winners of our sustainability innovation challenge. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings is critical to fighting climate change and protecting New Yorkers, and we are proud of our continued partnership with the industry to confront this critical issue.”

The Carbon Neutrality Innovation Challenge received submissions from a wide range of design, construction and technology organizations from across the region, with ideas ranging from new sustainable technology solutions to existing building retrofits. Members from DOB’s in-house Innovation Committee and a special panel of judges comprised of experts from the private sector selected winners based on feasibility, impact and innovation. In addition to showcasing the winners at this week’s digital industry conference, the winners of this challenge will be supported for inclusion in the 2020 NYC Building Code.

The winners listed below will not receive monetary compensation, DOB says. Descriptions are as provided by the competitors.

  • HYDROMX, INC. – Hydromx is the first commercially viable and academically recognized Efficient Heat Transfer Nanofluid in the World for hydronic closed-loop cooling and heating systems. A nanofluid is a fluid containing nanometer-sized particles, called nanoparticles. Hydromx is a Trade Secret Protected & Certified innovative nano-thermo technology which enables 20-35% energy savings of the associated HVAC bills with a guaranteed maximum of 3-year ROI. Hydromx® does not require any mechanical addition/change in the existing systems and the installation is non-disruptive.  All that is required is the replacement of the existing fluids in the closed-loop of the HVAC Systems; chilled water or hot water or run-around loops. Hydromx® has been tested and awarded by many industry standard-setting certifications such as NSF International, ASTM, BuildCert, and NACE, hence proving its compatibility to the latest building and environmental standards. Hydromx is the Winner of the European Union Environmental Awards in the Product & Services Category. The NSF International verified and certified Hydromx’s Comparative LCA and published the EPD.
  • RADIATOR LABS –The Radiator Labs’ Cozy platform is a uniquely enabling proprietary system of smart, insulated radiator covers networked to central boiler control. This system manipulates steam condensation on a room-by-room level, ultimately distributing heat with maximum efficiency to prevent overheating and waste. The Cozy is simple to install and can integrate with any radiator. It does not interfere with a building’s plumbing and provides real-time monitoring and analytics of a building’s steam distribution system. The result is comfortable room temperatures, cost savings and reduced building emissions. The system has been shown, through a NYSERDA-sponsored 3rd party report, to reduce fuel consumption by 25%, on average, in all steam buildings.
  • WEXENERGY – WindowSkin® by WexEnergy is an energy efficiency retrofit that addresses windows, one of the major causes of energy loss of the building envelope. WindowSkin helps building owners reduce energy consumption, heating and cooling costs, carbon footprint and improves occupant comfort while deferring expensive window replacements which often carry paybacks of 75+ years. WexEnergy is changing this payback equation with WindowSkins! Custom-fit WindowSkins install in minutes – no special tools or skills needed. Windows and window treatments, as well as emergency egress windows, open and close just as they did before WindowSkins were installed. WindowSkins are expected to last from 20 – 50+ years, depending on site conditions.  Measurement is simple and installation is so easy that regular building custodians can be trained to install WindowSkins in less than 30 minutes. WindowSkin is a cost-effective window retrofit that will help building owners reduces carbon emissions and LL97 penalties and can provide a payback in as little as 3 years.
  • ZINC8 ENERGY SOLUTIONS, INC. – Zinc8 Energy Solutions provides zinc-air based, long-duration, low-cost energy storage systems. Their patented Zinc-air Energy Storage System allows site owners to offset peak demand, reduce time-of-use charges, and participate in the value stacking programs and the distributed long-duration energy storage space. Targeting $250/kWh for 8-hour duration, $100/kWh for 30-hour duration and $65/kWh for 100-hour duration, its patented energy storage system technology has no fire and explosion risk, is non-flammable and non-toxic, making it ideal for a deployment in close proximity to valuable assets and adjacent to or inside a building. The net-zero system does not consume zinc, has no capacity fade over extensive lifetime and offers the same performance over full discharge cycles. The system’s unique modularity also allows for various configurations, making it suitable for a variety of building architectures.


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