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December 29, 2012

Cuomo orders energy efficiency boost

Staff report
The Daily Star

---- — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Friday that his office said will save millions of taxpayer dollars and create thousands of jobs even as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Cuomo directed state agencies to increase energy efficiency in state buildings by 20 percent in seven years. He’s calling the initiative Build Smart  NY.

“Improving energy efficiency in our buildings is a smart investment in our present and future,” Cuomo said. “Through Build Smart NY, state government can produce significant savings for New York taxpayers and generate thousands of jobs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 8 million metric tons – which is the same as taking 1 million cars off the road for one year. Furthermore, most of the projects will pay for themselves as their energy savings will cover their costs, making this initiative a financial and environmental win-win for New Yorkers.”

The largest and most inefficient buildings will be addressed first and undergo comprehensive whole-building improvements, according to a media release sent by the governor’s office. Building improvements include such measures as new lighting fixtures and controls, heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, electric motors and automated energy management systems.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has committed $450 million in low-cost financing for the initiative. Cuomo said  agencies will be able to repay the loans through the projects’ energy savings.

Data has been collected on more than 180 million square feet of buildings and campuses — about 95 percent of the state’s building stock, and work has started on 30 million square feet of real estate.

“Today, Gov. Cuomo has moved New York one step closer to being the most energy-efficient state in the nation,” said Jackson Morris, director of strategic engagement for the Pace Energy & Climate Center.

“Leading by example in making state buildings more energy-efficient will save taxpayers money, create thousands of local jobs and bolster New York’s broader efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This is precisely the sort of leadership the state and nation needs to move to a 21st century clean-energy economy, and we commend the governor for launching this groundbreaking initiative.”