Agency contacts:                                                            NYSERDA contact: 
Gayle Dougherty (                        Colleen Ryan (
Phone: 978-525-3742                                                    Phone: 866-NYSERDA ext. 3359

NYPA Contact:                                                            Brooklyn President Contact:
Brian Warner (                      Laura Sinagra (
Phone: 914-390-8183                                                  Phone: 718-802-3831


New Yorkers take the BE COOL Challenge

Air conditioner campaign to save energy and reduce carbon impact kicks off in Brooklyn


Brooklyn, NY – June 20, 2007: Who is the coolest community in New York City and Westchester County? When it comes down to the BE COOL Challenge between New York City’s five boroughs and Westchester County, air conditioners will be the deciding factor.

To make it easier for New Yorkers to save electricity this summer, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Con Edison are launching BE COOL, a campaign that promotes the purchase of energy efficient room air conditioners. As part of the campaign, the BE COOL Challenge kicks off at 11 a.m. on Thursday June 21, 2007 in Columbus Park at Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza. The BE COOL Challenge winner will be the community with the highest percentage of residents participating in the campaign.

“BE COOL represents a huge opportunity for New Yorkers to reduce both their energy use and carbon emissions,” said Karen Villeneuve, acting director of residential programs for NYSERDA.  “We want to tap into that New York pride with the BE COOL Challenge and see who will be the coolest community this summer.”  

Single- and multi-family residential customers of Con Edison electric service in New York City and Westchester County who turn in their old, working room air conditioner may earn $35 when they purchase a new window unit or $100 when they purchase a through-the-wall unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR®.

“It’s fantastic that so many of our customers are participating in this energy saving program and congratulations to Brooklyn customers for taking the lead,” said Rebecca Craft, director of energy efficiency programs for Con Edison.  “Although summer is almost here, it’s not too late for our customers to replace their old window and through-the-wall air conditioners and participate in the BE COOL Challenge.”

ENERGY STAR qualified room air conditioners use 10 to 25 percent less energy than a conventional new model or up to 40 percent less energy than a 10-year-old unit. To earn the incentive, residents just need to bring their old unit to an authorized drop off site or retailer location, where the units will be properly recycled and residents will receive a mail-in application for the incentive.  Managers of multi-family buildings may contact NYSERDA directly to complete a change-out of all the units in their building.

“This campaign reminds the residents of each borough and those in Westchester County that lowering energy use helps us all.  To BE COOL this summer, shift your energy use to evening hours and take a look at the incentives for an energy-efficient air-conditioner,” said NYPA Chairman Frank S. McCullough, Jr.

“Being cool‚ comes naturally to Brooklyn, and these days, being green‚ does too,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.  “By taking advantage of the Be Cool program, property managers, landlords and everyday Brooklynites can replace those old, inefficient air-conditioners at a discount, saving money while cleaning up the environment and lessening the risk of straining the power grid this summer. That’s what we call the Brooklyn energy attitude!”

Encouraging residents to take simple actions can have powerful results, Villeneuve added. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if one out of 10 families in the United States used cooling and heating equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR, the change would keep more than 17 billion pounds of pollution out of the air.

“I urge all New Yorkers to take advantage of these programs to make saving energy even more cost-effective,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “By taking these easy steps in their homes, New Yorkers can lower their electricity bills, help prevent blackouts, and help prevent climate change.  Helping consumers save energy is a key component of our plaNYC effort to build a greener, greater New York, and we are proud to be working with NYSERDA on this program.”  

New Yorkers who are not eligible for the incentive can beat the heat and still save energy by using timers on air conditioners and lights; closing shades or curtains on windows that receive direct afternoon sun; using ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) instead of heat-generating incandescent bulbs; and always looking for the ENERGY STAR when purchasing appliances and air conditioning products. Shifting energy-intensive tasks such as dishwashing and clothes washing to cooler early morning or late night hours can also help reduce mid-afternoon heat build-up and make sure there is enough electricity for everyone during the hottest part of the day. 

Visit or call 1-877-NY-SMART (1-877-697-6278) for more information about BE COOL and other summer energy saving tips.

Photo and Caption

NYSERDA uses innovation and technology to solve some of New York's most difficult and environmental problems in ways that improve the State's economy.

NYPA is the nation's largest public electric utility and provides energy-saving services and clean energy technologies to public institutions such as schools, hospitals and universities.  Visit to learn more about the New York Power Authority.

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