The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced a new program for Prekindergarten through Grade 12 schools (P-12) to receive free energy benchmarking services for up to three years. The program provides schools with a mechanism to measure, track, and assess their energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions to better understand and improve their energy efficiency and performance. This initiative supports Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal that puts New York State on a path to a carbon neutral economy and advances the state’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Funding for the energy benchmarking program is part of the state’s 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund and is part of NYSERDA’s $21.6 million investment in P-12 Schools Initiatives that are focused on stimulating the demand and investment in clean energy across the P-12 sector.
Currently, there are more than 6,000 public and private schools in New York State. Together, these schools spend roughly $1 billion in annual energy costs while producing approximately 5.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide or other harmful greenhouse gases. This initiative provides schools with the necessary tools, information, and support needed to reduce their carbon footprint.
Participating schools will receive an energy baseline assessment as well as benchmarking updates every six months that summarize the school’s utility and sustainability performance metrics over a three-year evaluation period. In addition, a NYSERDA FlexTech Consultant will provide site-specific recommendations about operational, maintenance, and energy management modifications that can result in energy and cost savings, while maximizing energy performance and assisting in financial planning and budgeting.
Eligible participants include publicly or privately-owned buildings that provide P-12 education with building space solely occupied by P-12 students and staff and locations can be in one of the six electric investor-owned New York State utility company territories. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis dependent on resource availability until March 31, 2022.
Schools interested in adding solar to their energy mix may also be connected with the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) Clean Energy Services program, which helps schools procure solar energy and reduce their energy bills. Schools receive energy advisory services, site surveys, solar energy analyses and technical support, and are matched with a solar developer to pursue installation.
“School districts are eager to save money and reduce their carbon footprints and clean, renewable solar power has proven to be an affordable, viable option,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “Participating schools are able to make a long-term commitment to fighting climate change while students learn the value of sustainability and clean energy technology. They see their school ‘going solar’ and learn by first-hand example about renewable energy.”
— Solar Builder magazine