For Immediate Release
September 22, 2020
(212) 393-2126


Four winning teams will present at Department’s first ever digital conference, Build Safe | Live Safe Digital 2020: Safety, Innovation, & Sustainability

New York, NY – The New York City Department of Buildings today announced, during Climate Week 2020, 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 will be presented at DOB’s digital industry conference, Build Safe | Live Safe Digital 2020: Safety, Innovation, & Sustainability. You can watch the presentations live today, Tuesday, September 22 at 4:30PM EDT by registering here.

“Climate change is an existential threat to a coastal city like ours, and innovative technologies will help us meet this challenge head on,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “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.

Please note: The following descriptions were provided by the competition entrants themselves. The winners will not receive monetary compensation.

Carbon Neutrality Innovation Challenge winners:

  • 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.

Hydromx poster

  • 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.

Radiator Labs poster

  • 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.

WexEnergy poster

  • 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.

inc8 Energy Solutions poster

"New York has long been home to a strong community of innovators committed to identifying creative solutions to meet our city's most pressing challenges," said Robinson Hernandez, Executive Director, Urban Tech Hub @ Company. "The Urban Tech Hub@ Company is proud to partner with the Department of Buildings to honor these innovations and to help New York City reach its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050."

“As we watch the West Coast burn while record-setting hurricanes pummel Louisiana, it is clear that even amid a pandemic we cannot lose sight of our looming climate crisis,” said Daniel Zarrilli, NYC’s Chief Climate Policy Advisor. “Congratulations to the winners of the Department of Buildings Carbon Neutrality Innovation Challenge who are demonstrating the ingenuity needed to deliver on New York City’s world-leading Green New Deal and end the age of fossil fuels. We are committed to doing our part by divesting from fossil fuels, decarbonizing our economy, and investing to create a resilient and inclusive city. That’s how we will create the jobs that will accelerate our economic recovery, achieve justice for our communities on the front lines of our climate crisis, and ensure a livable future for the next generation.”

“Empowering the creativity, brainpower, and diverse skill sets of designers, engineers and technologist is critical to uncover solutions that will make our buildings more energy efficient, and powering them more affordable,” said Mark Chambers, Director of NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “The winners announced today are a critical part of solving the climate crisis and I thank the DOB for their efforts to give them a platform to advance this urgent work.”

"This important initiative demonstrates that there are feasible, creative solutions for increasing energy efficiency in our buildings and helping our city eventually reach its goal of carbon neutrality," said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Assembly's Housing Committee. "In addition to being impressive on their own, these winning models will serve to inspire other technology companies to come up with innovative ideas to help enhance building sustainability in the years to come."

“We are honoured to have been chosen as a winner of the DOB Innovation Challenge. NYC is a global leader in sustainable innovation and we are pleased to join the Department of Buildings in its mission to carbon neutrality for all of the citizens of New York City.” said Ron MacDonald, President and CEO of Zinc8 Energy Solutions.

“The collective “WE” cannot solve climate change by only addressing market rate housing. That’s why we proposed WindowSkins to NYC-DOB. It’s time to bring everyone into the conversation now so no one is left behind,” said Rachel N. Rosen, CEO & Co-Founder of WexEnergy LLC.

"Radiator Labs is thrilled to participate in the DOB’s first Carbon Neutrality Innovation Challenge. The Radiator Labs system provides a clear path towards New York City’s 2050 climate goals for New York’s classic and iconic buildings while significantly reducing emissions and heating costs. Our technology is beneficial for both the environment and users of these buildings who can control their heating temperatures for the first time in the history of steam-heated buildings,” said Matthew Isaacs, Vice President of Business Development and Sales of Radiator Labs.

“Like New York City, Hydromx also understands the importance of reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions. Join our Empire State of Mind to become Carbon Neutral by 2050,” said Berkin Arikan, CEO of Hydromx Inc.

“Urban Green congratulates the Innovation Challenge winners,” said John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council. “DOB and the Urban Tech Hub are helping to bring new technologies to market to unlock carbon savings for all NYC buildings.”

“We want to thank and applaud those who participated in the sustainability challenge. Each presentation focused on details either small or large that together and over time will make a more sustainable future,” said Steven Zirinsky AIA, Zirinsky Architecture PC, Co Chair Building Code Committee, AIANY.

“Each of these companies tackles an important component of carbon neutrality in New York City with a return on investment that will lead to adoption,” said Raymond Daddazio, Chairman, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York.

“REBNY thanks the Department of Buildings for the opportunity to participate in the Carbon Neutrality Innovation Challenge. Reducing carbon emissions from the building stock is a critical priority and we commend the winners for their achievements,” said James Whelan, REBNY President.

For more information about sustainability at the Department of Buildings, please visit our website.

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