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NY Awards 9 Outstanding Performers In Energy Efficiency


Seven public entities and two individuals in health, transportation and higher education from across New York have been honored with the first BuildSmart NY Awards.

The New York Power Authority held its first BuildSmart NY Innovators Summit Tuesday at The Desmond Hotel in Colonie, outside Albany. The awards recognize leadership and excellence in building energy performance and innovative uses of clean energy solutions in public facilities. The goal is driving down government operating expenses, saving taxpayers millions of dollars and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority Gil Quiniones:   "This is a day for us to recognize the leaders in state government in the early implementation of Governor Cuomo's BuildSmart NY program, which is an executive order that the governor signed in 2012, to have all state buildings reduce their energy use intensity by 20 percent by 2020."

The New York State Office of Mental Health and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York are each recipients of the Super Saver of the Year Award for achieving the largest margin reduction of energy usage in their facilities during the first year of BuildSmart NY.  Five awards for Innovation and Excellence in Energy Management went to the City University of New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the State University of New York at Cortland and the University at Albany.

Dr. Timothy Killeen, vice chancellor of research at SUNY Research Foundation, indicated during a NYPA event earlier this year that the university system was making progress.  "SUNY as a whole has achieved over a 5 per cent reduction in energy use intensity, as measured by the executive order in our first year of effort. SUNY campuses have initiated a multitude of energy-saving projects since 2010."

Two awards for Outstanding Energy Management and Leadership were presented to Karren Bee-Donohoe, Director of the Office of Capital Facilities for the State University of New York, and Franklin Hecht, Chief Financial Officer of New York State Office of General Services with more than 38 years of service with the state.

Quiniones says New York's agencies have been responsive to the governor's vision and creative in coming up with energy-saving approaches. "Many of the measures seem to be simple and practical. So a lot of the initial reductions are due to just better better operations and maintenance of their facilities."

Quiniones credits the BuildSmart NY program with demonstrating how cutting the cost of government and achieving environmental sustainability are complementary, even necessary, components of a “smart government” long-term strategy. He believes the main message involves state agencies and authorities leading by example. "...and inspire a shared vision among not only the public sector at the state and local levels, but also the private sector. So if we can animate markets, if we can scale up energy efficiency across our state, we will save taxpayer money and we will have a cleaner and greener environment."

The energy savings at state government facilities have resulted in a corresponding decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by more than 130,000 tons a year.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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