Gov. Cuomo announces energy efficiency upgrades at SUNY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y. announced comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University that will save the Syracuse school more than $1.3 million annually and remove about 6,250 tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere every year. That is the equivalent of removing more than 1,180 cars from the road.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is financing and implementing the nearly $21 million energy efficiency upgrade, which is one of the largest projects thus far under "Build Smart NY," the new statewide initiative by Governor Cuomo to increase energy efficiency in state buildings by 20 percent over the next seven years.

"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," Gov. 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 undertaking at SUNY Upstate include numerous 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 further advance the university's energy efficiency and lower its operating costs.

The improvements also include an extensive electrical and steam sub-metering installation that 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 next month.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has provided a total of $1.1 million over the past several years to SUNY Upstate for various enhancements throughout the university's campus, including $335,000 for the NYPA-implemented initiative.

National Grid provided a $175,000 Custom Incentive award for high performance energy efficient lighting upgrades implemented at the east and west parking garages of the SUNY Upstate.

When including the half-a-million dollars in rebates and grants from NYSERDA and National Grid, and the more than $8 million in capital costs that needed to be expended by the university regardless of the new energy-saving measures, the payback for the university is about eight-and-a-half years, after which the school will retain the full $1.3 million in recurring savings every year.

It is anticipated that all phases of the energy efficiency improvements, which began in 2010, will be complete by the end of 2015.

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