Cuomo Issues Order To Increase Energy Efficiency

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently issued an Executive Order directing state agencies to increase energy efficiency in state buildings by 20 percent in seven years – one of the most ambitious initiatives in the nation that will save millions of dollars for taxpayers and create thousands of jobs while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The governor also launched “Build Smart NY,” a plan to strategically implement the Executive Order by accelerating priority improvements in energy performance.

“Improving energy efficiency in our buildings is a smart investment in our present and future,” Cuomo said. “Through Build Smart NY, state government can produce significant savings for New York taxpayers and generate thousands of jobs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than eight million metric tons – which is the same as taking one million cars off the road for one year. Furthermore, most of the projects will pay for themselves as their energy savings will cover their costs, making this initiative a financial and environmental win-win for New Yorkers.”

To meet the goal of increasing energy efficiency by 20 percent in seven years, the administration designed Build Smart NY, a strategic implementation plan that will use state building energy data to prioritize projects that will deliver the greatest energy savings per dollar spent. The largest and most inefficient buildings will be addressed first and undergo comprehensive whole-building improvements. Building improvements include measures like new lighting fixtures and controls, heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, electric motors, and automated energy management systems.

Build Smart NY supports the governor’s larger NY Works program and economic development agenda which coordinates state funding to accelerate projects that will create jobs and improve the state’s infrastructure. NY Works is designed to expedite select projects with maximum economic impact, allowing them to begin as soon as possible and reduce project costs by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Similarly, Build Smart NY will accelerate projects that produce the greatest savings and coordinate all spending. The program will also ensure that cost-effective improvements for energy savings are considered in all of the state’s capital project planning.

The New York Power Authority has committed to provide $450 million in low-cost financing for this initiative. Additionally, for most projects, no upfront capital spending will be required because agencies will be able to repay the loans through the projects’ energy savings. Also in support of Build Smart NY, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s comprehensive array of energy efficiency programs provide objective and customized information to help state agencies and others make informed energy decisions and also provide attractive financial incentives to help offset the costs of energy efficiency improvements.

Significant progress has already been made in the last few months. Data has been collected on over 180 million square feet of buildings and campuses – about 95 percent of the state’s building stock, and work has started on 30 million square feet of real estate.

To support Cuomo’s efforts to increase energy efficiency, a new Web platform was launched today that posts progress reports, case studies, energy savings, project costs, and other information to the public, providing greater accountability and transparency on government spending and performance. With this site, New York State is also pioneering the use of big data and social networking technologies to create transparency around building energy efficiency, drive innovation, and accelerate projects. The platform is powered by technology from New York City start-up, Honest Buildings Inc. For more information, visit

Tony Malkin, President of Malkin Holdings, Supervisor of the Empire State Building, said, “The governor is demonstrating strong leadership in his Build Smart NY initiative to increase energy efficiency throughout the state’s property. New York state is using the best lessons from private practice and creating a large scale public policy initiative based on real data to determine investment and return. The program will prioritize projects and apply resources to the buildings that can deliver the biggest bang for taxpayer dollars, while making sure to share case studies and building information with the public. I applaud the governor for this initiative which will create jobs and save New Yorkers money.”

“Today Gov. Cuomo has moved New York one step closer to being the most energy efficient state in the nation,” said Jackson Morris, director of Strategic Engagement for the Pace Energy & Climate Center. “Leading by example in making state buildings more energy efficient will save taxpayers money, create thousands of local jobs, and bolster New York’s broader efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This is precisely the sort of leadership the state and nation needs to move to a 21st century clean energy economy, and we commend the governor for launching this groundbreaking initiative.”

“Gov. Cuomo’s Build Smart NY Initiative is a prime example of public-private sector collaboration,” said Greg Hale, director of efficiency finance at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “New York State’s investment in cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades to the state’s buildings will create thousands of jobs for local businesses, while also helping to jumpstart a private sector market for efficiency renovations like this in communities across the state. The energy savings generated by these efficiency improvements to state-owned buildings will not only repay the state’s initial investment in a few years, but will continue to save millions of taxpayer dollars for years to come.”

“By scaling up use of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources, New Yorkers can effectively limit pollution, reduce harmful carbon emissions, slash energy bills, and create new jobs. Gov. Cuomo’s leadership and commitment to reducing energy usage by state agencies, authorities and commissions by 20 percent by 2020 makes New York state a model for others around the country,” said Mary Barber, Environmental Defense Fund’s Energy Program chief of strategy and regional director of EDF’s New York office.

“Gov. Cuomo’s Build Smart NY initiative is an innovative and practical approach to energy efficiency, expediting the completion of cost-saving measures and prioritizing work to ensure efficient implementation,” said Gil C. Quinones, president and chief executive officer, NYPA. “Improving the energy efficiency of state buildings will save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, create new jobs from the capital investments in energy-saving projects, and benefit the environment.”

“The Build Smart NY initiative is another example of Gov. Cuomo’s serious commitment to increasing energy efficiency across New York State,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO, NYSERDA. “NYSERDA is proud to take part in this effort as we work with partners in government and the private sector to effect a permanent transformation in the way new buildings are designed and constructed, and existing building are retrofitted through innovative, cost-effective energy efficiency measures. Projects under Build Smart NY will decrease government energy use, reduce energy costs and increase jobs in our growing energy-efficiency sector.”

“Gov. Cuomo’s Build Smart NY initiative makes sense for the environment and taxpayers,” RoAnn Destito, commissioner, Office of General Services said. “We know what a tremendous impact this initiative will have when implemented in buildings statewide, because OGS has seen the results of the energy efficiency programs we have put into place in state office buildings.”