UW News

April 24, 2023

University of Washington is a core member of newly announced New York Climate Exchange

green island with curved glass buildings and Manhattan in the background

An aerial rendering of the New York Climate Exchange campus, to be built on the eastern edge of Governors Island.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the Trust for Governors Island on April 24 announced that a consortium led by Stony Brook University will found and develop a world-leading climate solutions center on Governors Island in the city’s harbor. The New York Climate Exchange will be a first-of-its kind international center for developing and deploying dynamic solutions to our global climate crisis. 

The University of Washington is among the core partners of the consortium, along with Georgia Institute of Technology, Pace University, the Pratt Institute, the Good Old Lower East Side community group, Boston Consulting Group and IBM. Other academic partners include Duke University, Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Oxford. 

“We are very proud to bring our University’s deep and diverse strengths in climate and clean energy research and innovation to the New York Climate Exchange,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. “As the only core partner on the West Coast, we are excited to leverage our regional and global relationships to accelerate efforts to address and adapt to the impacts of climate change. This work is vital and urgent for the health and survival of our people and our world.” 

In addition to convening the world’s leaders and climate experts, the exchange will host green job training and skills-building programs and partner with local institutions on addressing the social and practical challenges created by climate change. 

“The UW serves as a global hub for innovative research into climate change action and adaptation, and the resources and relationships provided by the Climate Exchange will help us grow our impact even further,” said Maya Tolstoy, Maggie Walker Dean of the UW College of the Environment. “This is a truly exciting partnership, and it presents a fantastic opportunity for us to collaborate with a diverse group of peers across academia, business and community organizations.” 

Tolstoy will serve as the UW’s representative on the New York Climate Exchange board. The initiative will bring together universities, governments and businesses to address climate change action and adaptation. 

Parent and child walk by research space with turbine

Open labs and research spaces will be located along the public walkway between the new
academic and research buildings pictured in this rendering.

The New York Climate Exchange will include an interactive living laboratory with 400,000 square feet of green-designed building space, including research labs, classroom space, exhibits, greenhouses, mitigation technologies and housing facilities. The facility will feature: 

  • An all-electric-powered campus with onsite solar electricity generation and battery storage with capability to serve the local grid 
  • All non-potable water demand met with rainwater or treated wastewater collection 
  • 95% of its waste diverted from landfills 
  • Climate-resilient design of new buildings, all raised to the design flood elevation of 18 feet above sea level 

“We are honored, excited, and proud to partner with the City of New York to build this historic center that will cement New York City as the world leader on climate change, the most pressing issue of our time,” said Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis. 

The Exchange’s activities will include: 

  • A Research and Technology Accelerator that will source and nurture ideas, projects and new ventures dedicated to solving the climate crisis 
  • Workforce development opportunities for communities disproportionately affected by climate change  
  • Partnerships and collaborative grant opportunities with community-based organizations already working to mitigate the impacts of climate change 
  • Academic and community programs that prepare students at every level for careers focused on climate change solutions and environmental justice, encompassing hands-on learning, a semester “abroad” on Governors Island, fellowship and internship programs and continuing education 

“The UW Clean Energy Institute is proud to bring our expertise in advancing clean energy research, training and stakeholder engagement to the New York Climate Exchange,” said Daniel Schwartz, director of the UW Clean Energy Institute and Boeing-Sutter Professor of Chemical Engineering. “Working as part of this global team, we see great opportunities to accelerate the energy transition through equitable deployment strategies.” 

UW faculty members who worked with UW leadership in the initial planning efforts include Shuyi Chen, UW professor of atmospheric sciences; Dargan Frierson, UW associate professor of atmospheric sciences; Jessica Kaminsky, UW associate professor of civil and environmental engineering; Jonathan Bakker, UW professor of environmental and forest sciences; and Himanshu Grover, UW assistant professor of urban design and planning.

“Although built environments are intensely place-based, the systems that they influence are not bound by geography,” said Renée Cheng, dean of the UW College of Built Environments. “Linking our college’s research and teaching on carbon, water and socio-environmental factors with the New York Climate Exchange will facilitate positive impact at a national and global scale.”