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NYPA White Plains Office Building Recognized for Environmental Sustainability: First Facility in New York State to Earn U.S. Green Building Council Gold Designation for Existing Buildings

Maura Balaban
Connie Cullen
Michael Saltzman

January 25, 2007


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced Thursday that its 17-story administrative office building here has received LEED® Gold-EB (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Existing Building) ranking from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), attesting to its environmental sustainability and status as a “green” building.

It is the first existing building in New York State to achieve LEED Gold-EB and among only 19 such Gold facilities, new or existing, in the country.

The Gold designation signifies that that the Clarence D. Rappleyea Building, at 123 Main Street, meets the rigorous LEED performance standards for five key areas: sustainable site development, energy efficiency, water savings, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

“I congratulate the New York Power Authority for achieving this important designation,” said Governor Eliot Spitzer.  “It is central to our plans to incorporate this type of sustainable building practice for projects in both the private and public sectors.”

“Going for the Gold is what we did and achieving it places the Rappleyea building among the ranks of the most energy efficient and environmentally-sound buildings in the country,” said Timothy S. Carey, NYPA president and chief executive officer, at a news conference outside the Rappleyea building. “LEED-certified buildings enhance occupants’ health and productivity, help conserve the Earth’s resources and reduce carbon emissions that are melting the Arctic ice cap and warming the planet. The measures we undertook to achieve the LEED recognition are centered on the belief that government should lead by example in matters of overriding importance such as the environment and energy security.

“These and other sustainability initiatives are in line with my goal of making the Power Authority the cleanest and greenest electric utility in the United States,” added Carey.

The USGBC developed the LEED program in 2000 to establish a nationally-accepted benchmark for new environmentally sustainable construction. In 2004, the council broadened the LEED program to existing buildings like NYPA’s administrative office building, which was constructed in the early 1980s and purchased by the Authority in 1991.

“The LEED designation brings a bold new dimension to the Power Authority’s long history of leadership in protecting the environment and conserving vital resources,” said Frank S. McCullough Jr., NYPA chairman. “This building—with its green attributes and its gold designation—will stand as a tribute to what has been accomplished.

“When Tim Carey took office as the Power Authority’s president and CEO at just about this time last year, one of his top priorities from day one was to transform the Rappleyea building into an environmentalist’s dream—and to win LEED recognition. He never lost sight of that goal—and didn’t allow anyone else to, either,” added McCullough.

“The Power Authority’s administrative office building in Westchester joins an elite group of existing and new buildings receiving LEED recognition,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC president, CEO and founding chair, as he, Carey and McCullough unveiled a Gold-EB plaque mounted on the Rappleyea building. “This is a superlative distinction, and the Power Authority has every reason to be proud. Each time another building successfully goes through the LEED process, it reinforces the message of the value of environmental sustainability, not to mention the potential financial gains from lower operating costs and a healthier workplace.”

The Power Authority undertook wide-ranging sustainability measures in 2006 at the Rappleyea building, which is named after the former NYPA chairman and Assembly minority leader, who was on hand for Thursday’s event. The improvements included:

  • Installation of new air filters to enhance indoor environmental quality.

  • Use of non-hazardous paints with low-volatile organic compounds, green cleaning products and recycled carpeting.

  • Expanded recycling of paper, bottles and cans.

  • Cutting anticipated annual water use by 130,000 gallons through such measures as installation of a landscaping control system, low-flush toilets and reduced-flow bathroom faucets.

  • Providing designated parking in the Rappleyea building garage for employees and tenants driving in car pools or using hybrid-electric vehicles.

  • Purchasing renewable energy credits for 30 percent of the building’s energy use.

The various measures built on the Power Authority’s completion of a $3.4 million energy efficiency upgrade in 2002 that cut the Rappleyea building’s annual electricity use by more than 50 percent, or some five million kilowatt hours, compared to 1990 levels. This surpassed a 35 percent reduction that state-owned buildings are required to achieve by 2010 under an Executive Order issued by former Governor George E. Pataki in 2001 and renewed earlier this month by Governor Spitzer.

The initial upgrade by the Power Authority resulted in annual savings of $450,000 a year in electricity costs for the headquarters building, where about 60 percent of the space is utilized by NYPA administrative staff, including engineers, lawyers and economists, with the remaining areas leased to private enterprises. The initiatives also cut the building’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 2,800 tons, along with displacing more than 7,300 barrels of oil a year.

The upgrade included the installation of two new 460-ton chillers that are about twice as efficient as their predecessors, efficient T8 lamps and electronic ballasts, automated occupancy sensors, variable frequency drives, premium efficient motors, reflective window film to help regulate building temperature and light-emitting-diode exit signs. The Power Authority also installed two on-site power sources—a 30-kilowatt microturbine and a 5.5-kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic project, which further reduce the building’s demand for electricity from the power grid.

“Together, these enhancements established the foundation for last year’s sustainability measures for LEED EB-Gold certification,” said Carey. “Now we’re looking to do more—at this building, at other Power Authority facilities and in helping our customers attain LEED certification for their buildings. We’re also working to bring sustainable practices to all of our operations—not just buildings, but power plants, transmission rights-of-ways, the entire Power Authority system.”

Before heading the Power Authority, Carey served as president and chief executive officer of the Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority in Lower Manhattan, from May 1999 to September 2005. He presided over the construction of the nation’s first green residential high-rise building—The Solaire—which earned LEED Gold certification in 2004. Last year, the USGBC elected Carey to its 2007 Board of Directors.

The Power Authority invested about $110 million in energy efficiency and clean energy projects throughout the state in 2006, breaking a previous annual record. It also surpassed the $1 billion mark for total investment in such projects since the late 1980s.

To date, the Power Authority has undertaken energy-efficiency and clean-energy initiatives at more than 2,400 public facilities, including more than 220 in Westchester County, that have reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 750,000 tons. This is in addition to annual savings to those facilities—schools, hospitals, municipal buildings, police and fire stations and others—approaching $100 million, and annual displacement of nearly 2 million barrels of oil.

Excerpts from remarks of Timothy S. Carey, president and chief executive officer of the New York Power Authority

Excerpts from remarks of Frank S. McCullough, Jr., chairman of the New York Power Authority,

   About NYPA:

 ■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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