News & Press

Colonial II Apartments Awarded in Second Round of Buildings of Excellence Competition

April 27, 2021

Date 4/27/2021

Competition Highlights Model Projects to Bring Low-to Zero Carbon Multifamily Buildings to Scale in New York State

The Colonial II Apartments project is the total rehabilitation of a 99 unit failing elderly and disabled affordable housing project in Rome, NY. The design achieves zero carbon and near net zero energy usage through the electrification of all buildings systems, the adoption of geo-thermal sourced high efficiency heat pumps, and a reliance on renewable solar electricity. The failing brick facade will be replaced with a panel system, drastically improving the community’s temperature control and R-values while decreasing overall energy use. This project was awarded $1 million through NYSERDA’s Buildings of Excellence Competition and advances New York state’s climate and clean energy goals.

“As affordable housing providers, we have a unique responsibility to serve the neediest of our citizens, while positively impacting the environment,” said Duncan Barrett of Beacon Communities Development, Albany. “We are proud to take part in projects such as Colonial II as we believe sustainable construction is the only way forward.”

The project will be completed in partnership with the Rome Housing Authority, RIDA Architecture, PLLC, Staengl Engineering, Active Solar Development, and New Ecology. Alongside Beacon Communities Development, this team will facilitate the community’s design, construction, renewable energy connections, and overall rehabilitation.

The Buildings of Excellence Competition, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), was launched in March 2019 and has awarded over $31 million to 42 exemplary new construction projects. It is the only competition of its kind, with the awarded projects becoming part of a comprehensive data collection effort that will help determine how to cost-effectively deliver superior performing buildings that will serve as an essential building block of a carbon-neutral future and advance the design and construction of multi-family buildings. Colonial II Apartments was selected under Round Two for its low carbon performance, profitability, ability to be adopted broadly, and for creating a healthy and safe living environment.

President and CEO of NYSERDA Doreen M. Harris said, “The Colonial II project is an excellent example of how the next generation of buildings can leverage on-site renewable generation, energy efficient living spaces, and clean heating and cooling in order to accelerate our transition to a sustainable carbon-neutral building stock under the framework of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Congratulations to the development team at Beacon Communities Services LLC for their winning Buildings of Excellence design and commitment to a clean energy future that serves all New Yorkers, including our most vulnerable.”

The Buildings of Excellence competition is supported by an advisory council comprised of a cross-section of experts from the design, real estate and sustainability sectors with partners including The American Institute of Architects, New York State, ASHRAE and The Real Estate Board of New York.

This project will also provide comprehensive data on design, construction, and cost that can be analyzed and shared to increase the number of low- to zero-carbon buildings in New York State. For a complete list of the 42 winning projects statewide, please visit NYSERDA’s Buildings of Excellence website at

Back to All News