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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


New boilers at Coney Island Hospital

energy efficiency, NYPA Initiatives, Sustainability

Daylight Hour at NYPA

By Jill Anderson, SVP of Public Affairs & Business Development

As a public benefit corporation and a leader in clean energy generation, NYPA is always looking to reduce electricity use, particularly during the peak demand summer season, and improve the overall efficiency of its operations. The Daylight Hour initiative provides an excellent opportunity to promote energy efficiency in the workplace and to start a meaningful dialogue with employees about energy consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

We often overlook the seemingly minuscule amount of energy it takes to power our lights, coffee machines, computers, phones, and other office loads. Daylight Hour and similar energy efficiency campaigns highlight simple ways of reducing our energy footprint in the workplace. Last year, NYPA leveraged the momentum achieved from Daylight Hour to launch our own annual campaign called “Efficiency Fridays.” With this initiative, we are successfully promoting energy efficient practices throughout the summer.

Like other workplace sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives, Daylight Hour depends on employee engagement. We use clear, concise language to convey the idea that participation is easy and will not disrupt work. Our message is simple: Turn off lights in day-lit areas to save energy.

Daylight Hour is promoted through several different communication channels. We place posters near elevators, add postings to our intranet, send out a text message reminder to employees 15 minutes prior to the event, and make an announcement over the loud speakers as we approach the start of the hour. In addition, our social media team creates a buzz on Twitter and Instagram to help relay the Daylight Hour message to thousands of NYPA’s followers. The unsung heroes of our successful participation are the members of NYPA’s Green Team, who rally their colleagues to turn off their lights.

NYPA’s Sustainability Office carefully monitors the energy usage in our 17-story White Plains administrative office building through the Power Authority’s NY Energy Manager, a statewide, real-time energy management system. To inspire friendly competition, we track the electricity reduced by each floor and post the results on the intranet. In addition to floor-by-floor energy comparisons, we track whole building energy performance and, more specifically, the reduction in the building’s total lighting load. The results have been astonishing (even our energy experts think so)! As illustrated by the graph below, we successfully reduced our building’s total lighting load by 33% or 25 kWh. That savings only represents an hour. These numbers are encouraging us to consider how much we could save if we incorporated daylighting into our regular routine.

The total lighting load of NYPA’s White Plains Office, as measured by NY Energy Manager.

The total lighting load of NYPA’s White Plains Office, as measured by NY Energy Manager.

Through Daylight Hour, we have learned valuable lessons about what it takes to engage our employees and successfully communicate the importance of sustainable workplace practices. NYPA employees are willing to get involved in workplace initiatives, but it takes consistent effort to keep them focused on what needs to be achieved. Throughout this effort, we have been inspired to explore a range of strategies and to become bolder and more creative in our approach and our message.

energy efficiency

Meeting the Challenges of Tomorrow

Photo: University Herald

Photo: University Herald

No matter how intelligent it might get, the smart grid will always be on a learning curve.

But that should be viewed more as an opportunity, rather than a problem, said Alan Ettlinger, who leads NYPA’s research and development team.

As Ettlinger sees it, the smart grid is a response to replacing a rapidly aging energy infrastructure. In other words, there’s no reason not to think big.

“The utility of tomorrow may not have transmission lines,” Ettlinger said at a recent smart-grid panel at the Israel Dealmakers Summit in New York. “When we were growing up we didn’t have cellphones. What’s to say we can’t transmit electricity wirelessly?”

Such a notion may be a little Jetsons-esque—at least for now—but Ettlinger said now is the time to “meet the challenges of tomorrow.” Another speaker on the panel had mentioned how one utility protected itself from hackers by simply disconnecting its control room from the Internet.

Cyber-security is, of course, vitally important, Ettlinger said, but keeping the control offline is not the way to go. “That’s not the answer. We need to develop the answer that’s not there.”

Indeed, staying connected is one thing Ettlinger had in mind when he talked about the Advanced Grid Innovation Laboratory for Energy (AGILe), a collaboration between NYPA and SUNY Polytechnic Institute to build a world-class facility that will simulate, develop and test a more integrated grid.

What makes AGILe different from other energy research labs is that it will focus more on how the power system can meet the needs of an economy that is at once energy driven and environmentally sustainable. The increasingly larger footprint left by renewable energy, like solar and wind power, makes that possible. Small-scale, clean generation does too. So, before advanced transmission apps, security automation and the latest sensors are deployed, they can be exhaustively tested at AGILe to ensure they’re ready for prime time.

“We need to be forward-looking and in many cases predict what will happen many years from now,” Ettlinger said.

energy efficiency

Infrastructure Modernization

By Gil C. Quiniones

The pace of change in the utility industry is accelerating. Recent digital innovations and new regulatory frameworks are laying the foundation for a future where renewable energy will be abundant and well-integrated into our grid. Last year, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), as part of Governor Cuomo’s “Reforming the Energy Vision, launched its Strategic Vision Plan, 2014-2019. One of its key components is Infrastructure Modernization.

In the months ahead, we will be implementing a comprehensive plan that will enable New York’s Generation and Transmission Assets to be more flexible, reliable, and responsive. We will strive to create an electricity system that expands New York’s energy mix and provides customers with significantly greater access to safe, clean and affordable service.

The good news is that we are acquiring the technological wherewithal to make the necessary leap from great idea about what can be achieved to a new, more sustainable reality. Newer technologies, such as advanced transmission monitoring systems, grid-scale energy storage and microgrids are becoming part of our daily conversation. As these newer technologies transform the electrical grid landscape, faster acquisition and processing of real-time data will ensure the grid’s reliability.

In this regard, NYPA has embarked on a ten-year, Smart Generation & Transmission (G&T) initiative that will include: infrastructure upgrades, cutting-edge hardware, software technologies and practices to support our Strategic Vision. Interested firms should keep a look out for RFPs on the New York Contract Reporter and @NYPAEnergy.

Gil C. Quiniones (@GQEnergy) is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority. Quiniones has served as Senior Vice President of Energy and Telecommunications for the New York City Economic Development Corporation during the Bloomberg Administration, and worked for Con Edison for 16 years.

energy efficiency, NYPA Initiatives

New York Energy Manager: Better Data, Greener Choices

The New York Power Authority recently launched the state’s first energy management network operations center – the New York Energy Manager (NYEM). Housed in Albany in partnership with the Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, NYEM, is a comprehensive network and decision tool that utilizes Big Data analytics to monitor and troubleshoot buildings to reduce energy waste. NYPA is deploying and managing this state-wide energy-monitoring hub to provide access to secure, comprehensive energy management reporting for more than 3,000 public buildings, with the potential to serve many more facilities.

With state public facilities getting real-time data on their energy use, they can improve building energy performance and lower the State’s utility bills. Basically, it will be like performing a MRI on a facility and getting an incredibly detailed report about how it consumes energy.

By knowing more, we can do more. We will utilize analytics and engineering expertise provided by this new energy management operations network, enabling NYPA to:

  • Continuously improve energy management and operations of state facilities
  • Drive down government operating expenses and save taxpayers money
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Create jobs in the emerging green economy

To get more granular, by integrating energy data from facility sub-meters and local utilities, building engineers will rapidly diagnose equipment problems and take appropriate actions to reduce energy consumption in a timely manner.

With Big Data analytics provided by NYEM, government building operators will be better informed when making real-time energy management decisions and planning for future changes in energy use. Peering into the future, we expect that the NYEM technology will eventually be utilized by the private sector in its energy planning activities.

NYEM provides an important vehicle for implementing one of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s main energy objectives, Build Smart NY, to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent in State government facilities by 2020. Still another great byproduct of NY Energy Manager is that it creates an important set of tools for supporting a fundamental shift in the utility business. Governor Cuomo’s Reforming Energy Vision or REV is about changing utility regulations to enable renewable energy and building energy efficiency to be economically favorable for utilities and customers.

Under REV, reduced energy demand and consumption in buildings will be a valuable commodity to be bought and sold, and NY Energy Manager will provide the precise insight building operators need to take advantage of these opportunities.

The electric power industry is undergoing a sea-change, largely driven by unprecedented advances in technology. As we seek to take full advantage of extraordinary opportunities, access to better data is more important than ever. By acquiring a more accurate view of our State’s energy use, we will become far more adept at asking good questions that will yield even greener answers.

energy efficiency, NYPA Initiatives

Innovative Five Cities Energy Master Plans Rolls Out in New York State

Think about this: Together, five New York cities – Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers – have a population of 908,000.  If they were one city, it would be the 11th most populous city in the U.S.

Given their combined energy, environmental and economic impact, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has launched the Five Cities Energy Master Plans project, an initiative to develop Energy Master Plans for each of the five cities as part of the Build Smart NY program. The goals of this initiative include reducing the cities energy consumption, strengthening reliability of each city’s energy infrastructure, creating jobs in local clean energy industries, and contributing to a cleaner environment, all while looking to reduce the cities’ costs, thereby enabling them to redeploy those resources to higher priority services.

Nuild Smart NY

As part of this unique planning process, NYPA and the cities are seeking innovative, forward-thinking ideas from the public on measures to improve energy efficiency in four principal areas:

Energy Planning & Coordination will focus on improving collaborative efforts between governmental departments, non-governmental agencies & utility companies, and work to identify efficiency and cost-saving opportunities in energy procurement and management processes.

Energy Distribution and Supply will look at changes in energy infrastructure, alternative energy generation, and energy monitoring strategies, and explore ways to make the cities’ energy delivery infrastructure more resilient and sustainable.

Energy Efficiency in Buildings will focus on ways to improve the bottom line with better buildings, both new and existing, including an analysis of historic energy use, review of zoning ordinance and building code changes, benchmarking of municipal building energy performance and energy costs, as well as audits of the lowest ranked energy performers and highest energy consumption buildings.

Transportation will include a review of alternative energy vehicles, street & traffic lighting upgrades, and fleet vehicle changes in public and private sectors, with a focus on the transportation improvements that are most likely to increase mobility, foster economic development, and contribute to a healthier environment.

Have something to say? Submit your ideas here.