NYPA Press Release

State Agencies Partner to Complete Energy Saving LED Lighting Project at Cultural Education Center at Empire State Plaza

Energy Efficiency Measures to Save Taxpayers More Than $420,000 in Annual Energy and Maintenance Costs and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

by More Than 2,200 Tons a Year


View Video of the CEC’s New LED Lights

April 12, 2018


WHITE PLAINS—State agency partners have completed a LED lighting installation at the Cultural Education Center in downtown Albany’s Empire State Plaza. The lighting upgrade and replacement project is expected to save taxpayers more than $420,000 in annual energy and maintenance costs while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2,200 tons a year—that’s the equivalent of taking roughly 470 cars off the road. The $4.1 million lighting replacement was a joint project financed by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and paid for by the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) and State Education Department (SED).


Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, “The LED lighting project at the Cultural Education Center is a great example of how Governor Cuomo's Reforming the Energy Vision strategy is resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and savings for New York's taxpayers. Partnering with NYPA has given OGS the flexibility to complete many energy-efficiency and clean-energy projects at OGS buildings as well as those we accomplish on behalf of other agencies.”


Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO, said, “As part of the state’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint and energy use, NYPA is implementing hundreds of millions of dollars in energy-saving measures at public buildings each year. LED lighting replacement projects, like the one at Albany’s Cultural Education Center, are winning propositions, providing higher quality light, reducing energy and maintenance costs, and lessening the state’s carbon emissions.”


State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, “The State Education Department thanks the New York Power Authority and the Office of General Services for their outstanding work on this energy-saving lighting project at the State's Cultural Education Center. Patrons of our library, museum and archives will benefit from the improved lighting and all New Yorkers will benefit from the energy savings the new system will deliver.”


The project, part of the OGS’s ongoing efforts to reduce energy use at the plaza complex, called for the replacement of all of the nearly 15,800 existing light fixtures in the library and office area of the Cultural Education Center with more energy efficient LEDs. The Cultural Education Center houses the New York State Library and the state’s official archives, run by SED.


NYPA provided upfront financing for the entire project, including $500,000 in funding for the energy efficiency upgrades, which were carried out under Governor Cuomo’s BuildSmart NY program, a comprehensive statewide initiative to increase energy efficiency in public buildings that also supports the state’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. The measures are also an example of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a statewide energy system that is clean, resilient and affordable for all New Yorkers.


Roughly $2.2 million of the project costs were tied to capital improvement measures. By upgrading to LED technology, which cost roughly $1.4 million more than a similar replacement of the existing lighting, the state will utilize its energy and maintenance savings to achieve a payback on its investment in less than four years.


National Grid, the utility that serves Empire State Plaza, also supported the Cultural Education Center lighting replacement project with a more than $626,000 funding grant.


“National Grid has emerged as an environmental leader in our industry, embedding sustainability into every service we provide for customers, across every local community we serve,” said Ken Daly, National Grid New York President. “Through active partnerships within our local communities, we stand firm in our commitment to advancing clean energy and renewables for customers.  We are delighted to provide this grant to the Cultural Education Center in support of our local communities and customers we proudly serve.”

BuildSmart NY, launched by Governor Cuomo in 2012, calls for an increase in energy efficiency in state government buildings by 20 percent by 2020. Through 2017, state buildings have thus far reduced their energy use by more than 11 percent under the program, resulting in an estimated $45 million in avoided energy costs and 222 thousand tons of avoided greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 alone. In addition, energy efficiency and renewable projects currently being developed and installed will lead to a further reduction in energy use in state buildings by an estimated 5.3 percent, resulting in a collective 16.4 percent reduction from the baseline year.


Senator Neil D. Breslin said, “It is critical that New York State lead by example when it comes to improving energy efficiency in all of our state buildings. The completion of the LED lighting at the Cultural Education Center in downtown Albany's Empire State Plaza is perfect example of New York's effort. Not only is this great for our environment, it will also produce a cost savings in less than four years. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his recognition that New York State must be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions with his comprehensive BuildSmart NY program.”


Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, “The effort to save taxpayer dollars while supporting and enhancing the Cultural Education Center is a laudable project. This illuminating and sustainable initiative is a great example of our state agencies working together to achieve benefits for all New Yorkers and society as a whole.”


Assemblymember Patricia Fahy said, “In order to tackle climate change, New York must address multiple contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. New York has followed through on its commitments—while finding critical savings and increasing efficiency. I commend Governor Cuomo for this investment in smart, green technology in the Capital region—and welcome more.”


Reforming the Energy Vision

Reforming the Energy Vision is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York's economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and requiring 50 percent of the state's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven growth of more than 1,000 percent in the statewide solar market, improved energy affordability for 1.65 million low-income customers, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, visit rev.ny.gov, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


About NYPA

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. 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. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.