Sustainability

Making a Difference as Part of a (Green) Team

By Lielle Berman, Sustainability Project Coordinator

With 2016 now vying for the top spot as the new hottest year on record (see here), I am struck by this year’s coincidence of Earth Day and Passover. For those of you who may not be familiar with Passover, it is, in a nutshell, a celebration of freedom. The juxtaposition of a celebration of environmental responsibility and stewardship with one of liberation and rebirth helped me remember how freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.

Last week at the UN, leaders of 160 countries ratified the Paris Agreement, as agreed upon at COP21 in December of 2015 (see here). According to a recent NY Times article, we’re making admirable progress, surmounting vast political and diplomatic obstacles to reach some consensus, but it’s still not enough to make a dent. So where does that leave us?

We are the Green Team!

Can we even make a difference? Despite my tendency to default to pessimism, here’s how this convergence of Earth Day and Passover has reminded me that yes, it does matter, and yes, we can make a positive impact:

How we take responsibility as a collective here has the power to resonate beyond these walls. The cool thing about positive impacts is how they have legs—chain reactions, butterfly effect, whatever you want to call it—a positive impact resonates and vibrates beyond the scope of what we can immediately see. Taking responsibility as individuals ensures the integrity and resilience of our community/country/species/planet, and enables the conditions for optimal freedom.

So for this Earth Day/Passover of note, I need to thank all of you for your positive impact. Thank you for being part of this community; for your willingness to learn, share, teach and grow. For listening, and raising your voices. It is no small thing to be engaged in a process of awareness, because it makes all the difference in the world.

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energy efficiency, NYPA Initiatives, Uncategorized

An Energy Efficient Earth Month

During this Earth Month, we’ve focused on learning more about sustainability and energy efficiency, and educating people about the efforts we’re taking both internally and externally at NYPA to implement projects and initiatives that support Reforming the Energy Vision (#REV4NY). Governor Cuomo’s energy strategy for New York helps consumers make better and more informed energy choices, helps protect the environment throughout New York State, and works to ensure that 50% of electricity in New York State comes from renewable energy resources by 2030. Below, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite energy efficiency projects from the past year.

Over the past year or so, one of our biggest customers, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York (MTA), received several upgrades to make their facilities more energy efficient and to help make New York a greener state.

An infrared radiant heating system was installed at their Jamaica Maintenance Shop to help heat the shop more efficiently. The heating system installation was completed in April of 2015 and will lead to savings not only on their energy bill, but it will also remove over 1,000 tons of harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

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New York City Transit’s Jamaica Maintenance Shop – Radiant Heating System

In October 2015, we completed the installation of the MTA’s Wireless Control of Rail Heaters. The wireless control network will allow New York City Transit to remotely activate and control the operation and function of heating elements used for de-icing the third rail during winter weather conditions. Before the installation, heaters were manually operated by installing a fuse in October and removing it in April, when winter wasn’t looming – now, with the wireless control, the heaters can be remotely activated from a central location drastically reducing runtime of the heaters, leading to an annual elimination of 3,618 tons of greenhouse gases.

Recent upgrades at Metro North Railroad’s Grand Central Terminal added four new centrifugal chillers to replace the old cooling towers with new ones. This chiller project will lead to a reduction of over 11,000 tons of CO2 annually.

chillers

 

In June of last year, John F. Kennedy International Airport received a whole slew of upgrades. The project’s main component was re-roofing 104,000 square feet of JFK Building 141. The re-roofing work was extremely timely; the existing roofing was deteriorated to the extent that major leaking occurred throughout the building. In addition to the new roofing, JFK Building 141 upgrades included steam traps, pipe & equipment insulation, air compressor replacement, backdraft damper replacement, window glazing, lighting upgrades, rapid roll-up doors for Building 141’s bus garage, roof drains, weather stripping and smart meters. JFK Building 111 was also upgraded, with an all-new energy efficient lighting system. JFK Airport’s energy efficiency upgrades have led to a 1,437-ton reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

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New energy efficient upgrades at John F. Kennedy Airport

SUNY Buffalo also recently received some upgrades in the form of HVAC and lighting. A new air-handling unit was installed on the roof of Governors Dorm, in addition to thermostatic controls, infrared heaters, high efficiency lighting, burner controls and low-flow water fixtures.  HVAC upgrades were added to the Ellicott Complex, as well as Capen Hall; interior and exterior lighting upgrades were added to North Campus and South Campus, respectively. These upgrades will lead to a total greenhouse gas reduction of over 5,500 tons per year.

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New energy efficient air-handler installed at SUNY Buffalo

Back when Hurricane Sandy hit, Coney Island Hospital was greatly affected by flooding. We hoped to change this when we installed a new boiler plant, including fuel conversion, by elevating the boilers above the flood line. A 300 kW backup generator system was also included as part of the resiliency improvements. An almost 3,600 ton reduction in greenhouse gases only adds to the efficiency of this project.

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New boilers at Coney Island Hospital

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