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New York Power Authority issues guidelines for achieving energy cost savings at K-12 schools

by jmaloni

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Thu, Oct 10th 2013 06:30 pm

Schools have annual bill savings of $37 million with NYPA program; more opportunities available

A new report by the New York Power Authority on best practices for achieving energy cost savings at New York schools highlights significant economic and environmental benefits from increased investments in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies at public and private K-12 schools. The accelerated energy efficiency initiatives highlighted in the best practices report would complement Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Build Smart NY initiative to reduce energy use in state facilities by 20 percent by 2020.

"The New York Power Authority looks forward to continuing to support the statewide efforts under Gov. Cuomo to lower the energy bills and carbon footprint of schools through investments in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies," said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. "We hope that our newly issued best practices report reaches those school districts that have yet to take advantage of our energy efficiency program for schools. We are ready to work with them."

Since its inception in 1991, NYPA's Energy Services for Schools Program has benefited nearly 1,300 schools in 33 counties, which represent about 30 percent of public K-12 facilities statewide. The program, has reduced the peak energy demand of schools by more than 70 megawatts, and eliminated nearly 180,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year. (One MW is enough electricity to meet the needs of 800 to 1,000 typical homes.)

Moreover, the program has saved school districts roughly $37 million in energy costs annually.

The more than 650 projects that NYPA has financed and implemented, to date, at primary and secondary school facilities account for more than $400 million in capital expenditure improvements.

Installations include new lighting and sensors; energy-efficient chillers, boilers and controls; heating, ventilation and air-conditioning modernization; energy management systems; on-site solar photovoltaic arrays; and replacement of coal boilers with dual-fueled clean heating systems that burn natural gas and No. 2 fuel oil.

The goal of The Best Practices for Energy Cost Savings in New York State Schools report is to provide a high-level overview of the achievable energy efficiency potential in K-12 facilities across the state. The report states that, even with the achievements of NYPA's Energy Services for Schools Program, the remaining potential for increased energy savings is nearly five times the level of what has been achieved to date.

The report notes that, by maximizing the economic energy efficiency potential at schools, more than 18,000 jobs would be created by 2030 in energy-related products and services industries. It would also reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions - a cause of climate change - by 1.4 million metric tons, or the equivalent of taking about 300,000 cars off the road each year.

In its undertaking of energy efficiency upgrades, NYPA recovers the project costs through the savings over several years' time after which the schools keep all of the recurring annual savings.

The recommendations in the best practices report include performing benchmarking and energy audits of current school energy use; promoting awareness at schools of the benefits of energy efficiency and behaviors that impact energy use; adopting best practices of other school energy-efficiency programs around the nation; providing specialized support tailored to the individual schools and districts; expediting the start of construction projects through a streamlined review and approval process by New York state agencies; and tapping into low-cost and no-cost energy-savings opportunities.

"Districts are encouraged to use the guidelines included in the report to identify ways to reduce energy costs," said Carl Thurnau, director of the office of facilities planning, New York State Education Department. "This report is a helpful tool to assist school districts in managing their facilities to conserve energy and allow greater resources to be devoted to the classroom."

The best practices report is available at: http://www.nypa.gov/PDFs/NYPA_ NYS%20Schools%20Report.pdf.

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