Governor Cuomo Announces More Than $520 Million in Energy Efficiency Upgrades at 19 CUNY Campuses

Announcement Coincides with Earth Week; Supports New York State's Goal to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40 Percent by 2030

April 24, 2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $520 million in energy efficient upgrades across the City University of New York system. Coinciding with Earth Week, the energy-saving measures will reduce environmental impacts and operating costs while helping CUNY reach the Governor’s statewide energy goals to build a clean energy future for all of New York State.

"With these energy efficient projects across the CUNY system, New York continues to lead the way in making innovative upgrades to preserve our environment and reduce our carbon footprint," Governor Cuomo said. "Today’s fight against climate change is vital to securing a clean energy tomorrow, and projects like this bring us one step closer to a cleaner, greener New York for all."

The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York is delivering $380 million in projects as part of its partnership with CUNY and the New York Power Authority is financing and implementing more than $140 million in energy efficiency projects.

The upgrades span 19 campuses and range from the addition of high-efficiency lighting to the replacement of outdated heating and cooling equipment. They are part of the Sustainable CUNY Conserves program, a University-wide effort to reduce energy consumption across CUNY's 29 million square feet in over 300 buildings, spend less money on utilities, and use the savings to support other campus initiatives. The program is working to fulfill the goals of BuildSmartNY, a comprehensive statewide initiative to increase energy efficiency in public buildings, and is a significant step in achieving Governor Cuomo's Executive Order 88, which is to achieve a 20 percent reduction in energy use in state buildings by 2020.

This also complements the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. REV is ensuring New York State reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Richard Kauffman, Chairman, Energy and Finance, New York State, "Students on campuses across the state are taking a leadership role in combating combat change and cutting their own energy usage. I'm pleased that under Governor Cuomo's nation-leading clean energy and efficiency initiatives, we are able to support CUNY in helping us achieve our statewide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030."

DASNY President & CEO Dr. Gerrard P. Bushell said, "New York State leads the way in reducing energy consumption to reduce environmental impacts. DASNY is proud to partner with CUNY in support of Governor Cuomo’s energy vision and to generate savings that is reinvested in students."

Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO said, "NYPA has been a long-time partner of CUNY over the years, developing hundreds of millions of dollars in energy efficiency measures at campuses all across New York City. With the wide-scale installation of energy-saving technology, NYPA, DASNY and CUNY are drastically reducing the city’s carbon footprint and saving taxpayer dollars."

CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken said, "We applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership and vision in making New York the leader in energy efficiency and sustainable energy. CUNY shares this important goal and has partnered with New York State in building innovative programs that have rapidly increased alternative energy production in the city and the state. We could not be more pleased with this important new initiative, which achieves vital clean energy goals."

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "The comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades at CUNY campuses are another example of how New York is aggressively looking to cut energy costs and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our building stock. By driving broader adoption of energy efficiency, renewables and other clean technologies at institutions of higher learning, Governor Cuomo is again “leading by example” in the fight on climate change and offering a model for other institutions to follow."

The projects are being performed at Baruch College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, City College of New York, College of Staten Island, Hostos Community College, Hunter College, Kingsborough Community College, Medgar Evers College, New York City College of Technology, Queens College, LaGuardia Community College, York College, Graduate Center, Queensborough Community College, Bronx Community College, Lehman College, Brooklyn College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Macaulay Honors College.

In addition to the implementation of LED lighting and the replacement of HVAC equipment, the projects include:

  • Installation of Variable Frequency Drives for heating and cooling systems, which enable motors to run only at the speed necessary to meet climate control needs rather than a constant full speed, reducing energy consumption by the motor.
  • Upgrades to electronic and digital controls that enable more precise operations than mechanical predecessors.  
  • Replacement of forced-draft cooling towers with induced draft towers, which reduces energy consumption by fan motors and can exchange heat more efficiently.

BuildSmartNY, launched by Governor Cuomo in 2012, saves taxpayer dollars and creates thousands of jobs while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To date, New Yorkers have realized more than $131 million in avoided energy costs and 454 thousand tons of avoided greenhouse gas emissions under BuildSmartNY.

About Reforming the Energy Vision

Reforming the Energy Vision is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York's economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency, in support of the recently adopted Clean Energy Standard, which requires that 50 percent of the state's electricity needs be generated from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven 600 percent growth in the statewide solar market, enabled over 105,000 low-income households to permanently cut their energy bills with energy efficiency, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York State reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally-recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, please visit and follow us at @Rev4NY.