It Pays to Invest in Energy Efficiency

Denison University in Granville, Ohio; Photo by Pbass1956

Denison University in Granville, Ohio; Photo by Pbass1956

According to a recent opinion essay in the New York Times, retrofitting old buildings to make them more energy efficient is a great way to save money.

Mark Orlowski, the founder and executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute explained that,

“The returns are tremendous, and there’s virtually no risk.”

SEI is an organization that supports research, education and practical tools to encourage institutions, usually of higher learning, to invest in ways to reduce climate change.

An example is cited of how Denison University in Granville, Ohio, invested $108,000 to install sensor-controlled heating and cooling systems in Burton D. Morgan Hall. They also had energy efficient lighting installed in the ten-year-old building, completed in 2003. Between the lowered gas and electric bills since the retrofitting, the University has saved about $28,000 per year. It took less than 4 years to recoup their investment, and can expect to continue saving money.

To learn more keep reading here.

Inaccurate Energy Saving Tags Still Guide Consumers to Good Choices

According to Tracee Carrasco of CBS2 News in New York, the yellow energy-savings tags on appliances do not accurately represent the dollar savings consumers will enjoy when purchasing new appliances.

Carrasco reports that professor of economics Lucas Davis simply says that, “The labels are wrong.”

Davis explains that the dollar figures given on the labels are national averages of electricity costs, and in New York, where electricity is much more expensive, the amount saved will most likely not be the same amount as what is written on the tags.

“They show information based on national average electricity prices,” Davis said. “The problem is, people have no idea how much they spend for electricity so they have no idea how to make that conversion.”

Nevertheless, even with the inaccurate numbers on the tags, they still help consumers decide which appliance to buy based on the comparison of amount saved with the other appliances on display. In other words the tags still help people save money and energy.

“We found people who saw better labels, made better decisions and they saved money—a lot of money,” Davis said.

As RPS Expires Four Clean Energy Projects Awarded Funding

Photo by Chuck Coker

Photo by Chuck Coker

In mid-November the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Public Service Commission awarded a total of $206 million to several clean energy projects.  Announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the funding was made available through the auspices of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program.

The executive director of Alliance for Clean Energy New York, Anne Reynolds reacted to the news:

“The Alliance for Clean Energy New York applauds this exciting news and commends the Administration’s ongoing commitment to clean energy investment. By all accounts this was a highly competitive solicitation, with some strong projects selected and some strong projects not selected. There is still a vast untapped pool of renewable energy in New York, and we urge the state to continue its leadership role in clean energy by designing a next-generation RPS to be implemented starting in 2016.”

Ms. Reynolds added the following:

“The RPS continues to be a win for New York’s environment and economy.  This latest procurement underscores the great success of the program, which is currently set to expire at the end of 2015. With that deadline looming, the state needs to take action and develop an aggressive plan for investment in clean energy beyond 2015. With a new, next-generation RPS, New York can continue to meet an increasing portion of its electricity needs with clean and carbon-free power while promoting economic development and building a diverse energy supply. We look forward to working with the PSC, NYSERDA, and other stakeholders on the design and implementation of a new and improved RPS.”

New DSIRE Expected in December 2014

Energy efficiency

DSIRE Helps Consumers and Businesses Find Great Ways to Save Money Through Saving Energy

The highly useful Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency has been helping people discover a wide range of programs and ideas for saving energy in New York as well as the rest of the US.

A collaborative project of the US Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE is a “comprehensive source of information on Federal, state, local, and utility incentives” which are in place to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

As new information becomes available, which is often on a daily basis, the database is updated. Founded in 1995, the database is composed of two searchable subsets: a database for renewable energy and another one for energy efficiency. Searches can be conducted either on the state or at the federal level, and the searches are organized into one of two possible categories: financial incentives; and rules, regulations and policies.

The new database, which will be ready by December, 2014, will offer “significant improvements over the current version.” Those improvements will include: greater data accessibility and a selection of new search tools for users. When December arrives, check it out, or better yet, check it out today.

New York About to Embark on Large Energy Savings Plan

NYEM Headquarters. Photo courtesy of NYPA

NYEM Headquarters. Photo courtesy of NYPA

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his administration’s latest idea to help reduce power usage in public buildings and thus save tax payers millions of dollars over the coming years.

The plan is called the New York Energy Manager, or NYEM, and will consist of a center which will provide public buildings all over the state with real-time information on their energy use. The information will then be used to help building managers to improve their energy performance, resulting in decreases utility bills. The center will be headquartered at the State University of New York’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

The NYEM was designed by, and is being deployed and managed by the New York Power Authority. NYEM’s mandate is not only to help public facilities reduce their energy usage and running costs; it will also take on the responsibility of helping the state to lower emissions of greenhouse gasses, and to create more jobs in the growing green marketplace.

“The NY Energy Manager leverages the very best in smart technology to help the State save millions of dollars a year on energy costs,” Governor Cuomo said. “This facility serves as a statewide energy monitoring hub that will allow us to lower utility expenses, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and continue fostering a robust clean energy economy. I am pleased to see this partnership between NYPA and the Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Polytechnic Institute officially opened, because it is another integral part of our approach to creating a cleaner, greener state for all New Yorkers.”

New York City Pledging Large Energy Savings

Climate Change Big Issue at UN Summit

Climate Change Big Issue at UN Summit

A new initiative for New York to become more energy efficient and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be announced in conjunction with the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, 2014. New York City is planning on a huge general overhaul of its present energy-efficiency standards for all of its public buildings as well as persuading private landlords to comply with the new standards by making similar improvements in their energy consumption.

The initiative is part of a promise which big cities around the world are expected to make to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2050. The United States has said that this is the goal developed countries need to reach in order to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

New York City will need to dedicate at least $1 billion of its capital funding towards improving the city buildings during the coming ten years, according to administration officials. That does not include private building changes. Officials say the increased spending will be included into the city’s 10-year capital plan, which will be publicized in the beginning of next year.

“Global warming was much more of an abstraction to New York City until two years ago,” Mr. de Blasio said in an interview, alluding to Hurricane Sandy, which in 2012 caused 44 deaths and resulted in $19 billion of damage to the city. “There’s a moral imperative to act.”

Wise Ideas from NYSERDA

logoNew York State is one of the nation’s most energy-aware states. Take for example the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. This public benefit corporation gives to the public not only information and analysis of the most pressing energy issues of the day, but also offers innovative programs, technical advice, funding, and lots more, to help citizens be as aware and energy-savvy as possible.

The NYSERDA has been in service of the people since 1975, creating and promoting solutions to protect the environment, save money, create clean energy jobs, and much more.

Here is a small sample of some of the programs NYSERDA offers to the public sector.

Home energy efficiency programs– NYSERDA assesses home energy usage using contractors accredited by the Building Performance Institute. Home owners receive a list of recommendations for ways to improve energy efficiency, including improved insulation, efficient lighting, better heating systems, and more.

Energy Star Certified Products– A product is eligible for an Energy Star endorsement when it meets or goes beyond the federal standards for energy efficiency, with no loss of product quality or performance. The Department of Energy determines these guidelines. Always look for the Energy Star when buying new appliances.

EmPower New York– This program helps those who are eligible base on income, to upgrade their living spaces to more energy efficient dwellings, but without having to spend any of their own resources to do it. After the home or apartment is transformed into a more energy efficient abode, EmPower New York will send workers to provide tips and strategies on how to further manage energy usage every day.

IDT Energy is a New York based company helping consumers use energy wisely, and save money, too.

Choosing Energy Saving Appliances

energuideWhen the time comes to purchase new appliances, consumers often base their choices on how energy efficient the new appliance will be. Luckily most of the work involved in figuring out just how energy efficient and appliance is has already been worked out, by the people who endorse appliances with the Energy Star. Combining the Energy Star endorsement with the Energuide rating system, which tells consumers exactly how much energy the appliance uses, will help shoppers make the best possible purchases.

Efficient Lighting Leads to Lower Emissions

Begin with Lighting to Reduce Emissions and Improve Energy Efficiency

Begin with Lighting to Reduce Emissions and Improve Energy Efficiency

One of the best ways to reduce the carbon footprints of households and businesses is to concentrate on improving the efficiency of energy usage. And one of the best places to begin efficiency improvements is with lighting.

Richard Yancy, Executive Director of Green Light New York explains why starting with lighting to improve energy efficiency: “Because it’s the cheapest efficiency improvement you can make, and also because people can see it.”

Yancy explains that Project Green Light New York is trying to be a “living room for energy efficiency.” The project combines education with interactive models, while also creating a space for learning and discussion. The location for the GLNY resource center exemplifies the goals of the project: the juxtaposition of cutting-edge lighting in one of New York City’s oldest and most historic buildings, on Chambers Street near City Hall and the federal courthouse, shows that efficiency can easily begin with lighting, even in the oldest of buildings.

Improving consumer’s energy efficiency and lowering their carbon footprint is a goal of IDT Energy.

New York Puts Their Money Where the Energy Savings Is

logoThe Energy $mart New Construction Program in New York was launched in order to encourage buildings to incorporate energy efficient and renewable energy resources into construction and operation. A large variety of entities are eligible to become part of the program, including government facilities, non-profit organizations, health-care facilities, elementary and high schools, colleges and universities.

The NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) is behind the program, which also allows agricultural, commercial, industrial/manufacturing, institutional and multi-family buildings over 5 units to participate.

The sum of $91 million has been allotted to conduct technical assessments of how efficient energy use can be utilized in a particular building’s design and structure. The money will also be used to compensate for the extra capital expenses required to purchase and install energy efficient equipment and devices, up to 75 percent.

There is also money available from the program for technical assistance, whole-building design, LEED projects and commissioning services. The program began on January 4, 2012, and will continue funding on a first-come, first-served basis until December 31, 2015.