Last night, New York Power Authority (NYPA) president and chief executive officer Timothy S. Carey called for governments to help spur investment in green buildings that save energy and water, protect the environment, and improve the health of occupants. “It’s critical that governments at all levels promote the development of green buildings and the growth of markets for sustainable products,” Carey said at the Philadelphia Urban Sustainability Forum at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Carey credited the “pragmatic environmentalism” of New York Governor George E. Pataki with creating a climate that encourages sustainable development and other environmental initiatives. Among other actions, Carey said New York under Pataki’s leadership has approved $50 million in tax credits for developers of green buildings.
“We also need local building codes that require developers to meet strict standards for sustainable design,” Carey said. “Existing codes are too often keyed to the lowest common denominator.”
Carey was recently named to the Board of Directors of the U.S. Green Building Council, which sets nationally recognized standards for green buildings under a program known as LEED, for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
“Those occupying these buildings enjoy improved productivity and health and lower utility bills, not to mention a clear conscience, as even the building materials themselves are recycled,” said Carey, who noted the “enormous potential for quality, economically sound investment in green buildings.”
He urged governments “to set an example, as New York City has done by requiring that most non-residential new construction and major alterations financed by the city achieve LEED certification and sizable energy cost savings.”
As president and CEO of the Battery Park City Authority in Lower Manhattan, Carey directed construction of the nation’s first green residential high-rise building, the Solaire, which earned LEED Gold certification in 2004. He is now leading an effort by the Power Authority, the largest state-owned electric utility in the country, to win certification for its administrative building in White Plains, NY, under the LEED program for existing buildings.
NYPA, which had previously completed a $3.4 million energy efficiency project in the building, is currently implementing measures to save energy and water, improve indoor air quality, and require the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products.
Statewide, Carey said, the Power Authority has invested more than $1 billion in energy efficiency projects at schools and other public facilities. Completed projects save taxpayers almost $100 million a year, reduce annual oil use by more than 1.8 million barrels and cut yearly greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 760,000 tons.
In other efforts to reduce use of oil and improve the environment, Carey said NYPA has installed 25 solar photovoltaic projects and 14 fuel cells at various locations in New York State. He said the Authority intends to provide almost five megawatts of fuel cell capacity at the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, creating one of the world’s largest fuel cell installations.
Carey said the Power Authority is also involved in programs to encourage private sector development of one or more clean coal power plants in New York State; use hydroelectric power to produce hydrogen, in an emission-free process, as a fuel for transportation; and demonstrate a concept plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, DaimlerChrysler’s Sprinter van.
NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. NYPA promotes energy efficiency, new energy technologies, and electric transportation initiatives. It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.