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‘Green’ Initiatives Can Aid Schools, NYPA President Carey Says

Stephen Shoenholz

March 22, 2007


SYRACUSE—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy S. Carey said Thursday that “green” building technologies that have been used by NYPA and others in commercial buildings can be successfully applied to schools, with significant educational benefits.

Carey told school administrators, architects and engineers attending a Seminar on Green and Sustainable Schools at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo that the advantages of green buildings, including lower operating costs and improved health and productivity of occupants, “are directly relevant to every school in this state, and indeed throughout the nation.

“Every dollar that a school district doesn’t spend on electricity, or heat, or water can be spent for purely educational purposes,” Carey said.  “And every day not lost to absenteeism by a student or teacher is a day for learning, for achievement and for growth.”

Carey noted that the Power Authority’s administrative office building in White Plains recently became the first facility in New York State to achieve a Gold-EB designation, the second highest rating under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for existing buildings. 

He told the school officials that NYPA is prepared to work with them through its “Power to Schools” program, established through legislation enacted in 2004, to earn LEED designations for their facilities.

“My goal is to make the Power Authority the cleanest and greenest electric utility in the United States,” said Carey, a member of the Green Building Council’s national Board of Directors for 2007.

“Beyond even that, I believe that we, as a government entity, must show the way in helping others to pursue their own green initiatives and in creating a robust market for green technologies and products.  I can think of no more appropriate partners in this endeavor than the state’s schools.”

Carey said a major energy efficiency program that NYPA completed at its White Plains building in 2002 cut annual electricity costs by about $450,000 and reduced yearly electricity use by more than 50 percent compared with 1990 levels. Among the program’s features were installation of a new cooling plant, more-efficient lighting, a computerized energy management system and reflective window film.  The Authority had previously installed a 30-kilowatt microturbine and a 5.5-kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic project to meet some of the building’s electricity needs.

Further actions in 2006 that set the stage for LEED Gold-EB recognition included measures to improve indoor air quality, conserve water, expand recycling and ensure the use of non-hazardous paints and cleaning products.  The Authority also purchased renewable energy credits to meet 30 percent of the building’s electricity needs.

Carey said NYPA is planning additional green features, including a second rooftop solar project, and has launched a broad effort “to bring sustainable practices to every aspect of our operations.”

In discussing Power to Schools, Carey noted that the 2004 legislation authorizes NYPA to help all of the state’s public and private schools carry out energy efficiency projects, install clean energy technologies and buy economical electricity in the competitive state markets.

He said the program enables the Power Authority to work with private schools for the first time and affirms its ability to assist public schools, including those that don’t use NYPA electricity.  In addition, he said, the initiative formalizes a partnership between NYPA and the State Education Department to advance energy efficiency and clean-energy projects.

The Power Authority has completed energy efficiency projects at nearly 1,200 public school facilities throughout the state under other programs. Carey said these projects save school districts and taxpayers nearly $32 million a year, cut peak demand for electricity by about 70 megawatts and annually avoid the use of about 418,000 barrels of oil and the emission of nearly 195,000 tons of greenhouse gases.

Hosts for the seminar were the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the Manufacturers Association of Central New York and the Syracuse City School District.

President Carey's remarks

 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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