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Efficiency upgrades to save university more than $1 million a year, NYPA says

From the May 1, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published May 1, 2013

By Jeannine Anderson
Energy efficiency upgrades at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University will save the Syracuse, N.Y., school more than $1.3 million annually, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during Earth Week last month. 

The project, which has a pricetag of nearly $21 million, is one of the largest undertakings to date by a new statewide initiative by Gov. Cuomo called Build Smart NY that aims to increase energy efficiency in state buildings by 20 percent over the next seven years. 

The Syracuse project will remove approximately 6,250 tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere every year -- the equivalent of taking more than 1,180 cars off the road, said the New York Power Authority, which is financing and carrying out the project.

At a news conference on April 25 to announce the efficiency initiative are, from left: Dr. David R. Smith, president of SUNY Upstate Medical University; Joanne M. Mahoney, Onondaga County executive and NYPA trustee; and NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones. Photo courtesy of NYPA  
"The major energy efficiency overhaul taking place at SUNY Upstate Medical University is one example of how New York is saving money for taxpayers and in the process, creating thousands of jobs and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Cuomo said. 

"Over the next seven years under the Build Smart NY initiative, we are undertaking major projects across the state to substantially increase energy efficiency in state buildings, resulting in millions of dollars in savings and a healthier environment for New Yorkers."

The campus-wide, energy-saving improvements that NYPA is carrying out at SUNY Upstate include a number of building system upgrades. High-efficiency lights and sensors are replacing old lighting; heating, ventilation, air-conditioning systems and building management controls are being enhanced to improve energy efficiency and comfort levels; and new motors, variable-speed drives, boiler burners, water heaters, chillers and other equipment are being installed to improve efficiency and lower operating costs.

The improvements include an electrical and steam sub-metering installation that NYPA said will allow for real-time monitoring of the energy being consumed by virtually all the buildings on the campus, granting the university greater control over its energy use and preventing unnecessary energy costs. The sub-metering installation is expected to be complete by the end of this month.

"Under the governor’s leadership and his new Build Smart initiative, the power authority has been accelerating energy-efficiency improvements at state and local government facilities and we look forward to continuing to make significant progress on this front to benefit all New Yorkers," said NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has provided $1.1 million over the past several years to SUNY Upstate for enhancements throughout the university’s campus, including $335,000 for the NYPA-implemented initiative. Investor-owned utility National Grid provided $175,000 for high-performance energy-efficient lighting upgrades at SUNY Upstate parking garages.

Payback is projected to take eight or nine years. After that, the school will retain the full $1.3 million in recurring savings every year, NYPA said.

Over the years, NYPA has partnered with its customers in Central New York to complete clean energy projects at 538 facilities, saving taxpayers nearly $3.9 million a year and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 24,000 tons annually, the power authority said.

More information on the Build Smart N.Y. initiative is posted


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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella

Editorial Director
Robert Varela

Editor, Public Power Daily
Jeannine Anderson

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Fallon W. Forbush

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David L. Blaylock

Integrated Media Editor 
Laura D’Alessandro