NYSERDA Announces Energy Efficiency Projects at SUNY Potsdam Support Governor Cuomo’s ‘Build Smart NY’ Initiative

Energy Efficiency Projects at Performing Arts Center and New Chiller Projected to Save More Than $130,000 Annually

March 08, 2013

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced two energy efficiency projects at the State University of New York at Potsdam that are projected to save the college $130,000 annually and result in the avoidance of more than 692 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

The projects, at SUNY Potsdam’s new Performing Arts Center and at its central chiller plant, support Governor Cuomo’s ambitious Build Smart NY initiative to reduce energy consumption in state buildings by 20 percent in seven years by strategically accelerating priority improvements in energy performance, which will save millions of dollars for taxpayers and create thousands of jobs while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“These energy efficiency projects signify SUNY Potsdam’s firm commitment to reducing its environmental footprint in an effort to create a more sustainable New York,” said Governor Cuomo. “We are committed to supporting efforts like these through our Build Smart NY initiative, which will not only to create jobs and reduce costs, but increase New York’s energy security.”

The two projects were awarded a total of $386,000 in incentives from NYSERDA. They are projected to save 543,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, and the performing arts project will save an additional 7,489 million Btus of natural gas each year. Electricity savings are the equivalent of powering 79 average-sized homes. Natural gas savings are the equivalent of heating 105 homes.

NYSERDA’s Existing Facilities Program will provide $277,000 through the latest round of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. This incentive will help to offset the cost of a new high-efficiency electric chiller that will provide cooling to the new Performing Arts Center, an additional laboratory under renovation and other existing campus loads.

In addition, NYSERDA’s New Construction Program awarded $109,000 to help SUNY Potsdam offset the incremental cost of measures that enable the Performing Arts Center to operate at higher efficiency levels than New York State energy code. These measures include an energy-efficient building shell (exterior walls, windows, doors, roof) to keep heated and cooled air inside, energy-efficient lighting design with daylight harvesting and occupancy controls to reduce the use of artificial light when sunlight is available and when the space is not occupied, and an energy-efficient HVAC system that provides heating, cooling and ventilation based on occupancy needs.

"As a Silver LEED certified building with innovative technologies such as the high efficiency electric chiller that provide cooling to SUNY Potsdam's new Performing Arts Center we save money for taxpayers and minimize environmental impact as well as fulfill Governor Cuomo's vision of an energy smart New York," said Steven Marqusee, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at SUNY Potsdam. "It is also community smart as the home to a fast-growing Theatre and Dance department dedicated to transforming lives through access to the arts for area schools as well as local, regional, national and international partnerships.”

“Projects like these at SUNY Potsdam are a good example of what colleges and universities can do to decrease their energy bills and effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA. “By supporting energy efficiency in New York State’s educational institutions, the State is reducing its energy costs, as Governor Cuomo has called for, and in turn will provide economical and environmental benefits to the school, students, staff and local communities.”

NYSERDA’s Existing Facilities Program offers a portfolio of incentive opportunities to offset the costs of energy improvements in existing commercial and institutional facilities across New York State. It works with customers to implement a comprehensive strategy to realize verified energy savings through an integrated approach to cost-effective energy efficiency measures.

NYSERDA’s New Construction Program provides technical support to design teams and financial incentives to building owners involved in the construction of new or substantially renovated structures in New York State. It is a first-come, first-served program available to commercial, institutional and industrial sector customers of certain utilities. New Construction Program incentives are paid out upon project completion. The intent of the program is not only to improve energy efficiency and green building practices, but to effect a permanent transformation in the way buildings are designed and constructed throughout the state.

Governor Cuomo’s Build Smart NY Initiative supports his call for 20 percent energy efficiency in seven years by using state building energy data for priority projects that will deliver the greatest energy savings per dollar spent. The largest and most inefficient buildings will be addressed first and will undergo comprehensive whole-building improvements. 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 the state’s capital project planning.

In addition to its energy savings goals, Build Smart NY supports Governor Cuomo’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.

A Build Smart NY web platform was launched 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. For more information on this initiative, visit www.buildsmart.ny.govLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..


NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.