In an executive order issued during the waning days of 2012, NY Gov. Cuomo directed state agencies to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings 20 percent by 2020.
Going forward, energy efficiency will be considered as a standard part of the capital project planning process.
To implement this efficiency initiative -- among the most ambitious in the U.S. -- Cuomo also announced the start of "Build Smart NY," the implementation arm of the Executive Order.
Using energy data on state buildings, the implementation plan prioritizes the largest, least efficient buildings first for comprehensive whole building retrofits, to get the biggest bang on energy savings for every dollar spent.
Identifying buildings with the most opportunity to improve is a big part of driving energy savings, but it's not as simple as it appears. Data from New York City shows that some of its oldest buildings are more energy efficient than those that are LEED-certified.
Efficiency measures include the typical, but all important lighting upgrades, advanced heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, efficient electric motors and automated energy management systems.
"Improving energy efficiency in our buildings is a smart investment in our present and future," Cuomo says. "Through Build Smart NY, state government can produce significant savings for New York taxpayers and generate thousands of jobs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than eight million metric tons - which is the same as taking one million cars off the road for one year. Furthermore, most of the projects will pay for themselves as their energy savings will cover their costs, making this initiative a financial and environmental win-win for New Yorkers."
Next page: How does the mandate play out?