Recent Actions Have Reduced Energy Use, Increased Composting and Expanded Use of Electric Vehicles
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and to do so, undertakes numerous sustainability projects each year. These projects, which range from diverting organics from landfills to reducing energy use, are decreasing DEC's impact on the environment and save money while providing strong examples of actions New Yorkers can take every day to improve the environment.
"Being good stewards of New York's environment means limiting our impact on our natural resources," said Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Our dedicated staff work hard to lead by example and reduce our environmental footprint. Sustainability is a journey, not a destination, and we will continue this important work to ensure a better environment and future for all New Yorkers."
DEC is proud to announce recent sustainability accomplishments, including:
Reducing energy use 40% since 1990
Since 1990, DEC has reduced energy use at approximately 250 facilities across the state. Energy efficiency projects include high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, energy efficient windows and doors, upgrading indoor and outdoor lighting to LEDs, replacing old hand-driers with energy efficient models, and adding motion-detectors so lights are off when spaces are not occupied. These efforts have reduced energy use by at least 40 percent. DEC is moving forward with additional energy reduction projects and will be installing computerized building management systems, high efficiency-low emissions biomass heating systems and continuing with LED lighting conversions. Residents can learn more about ways to save energy and water at home by following these tips on DEC's website.
Receiving "Small Facility of the Year" Award from NYPA:
DEC's Region 5 office in Ray Brook was recognized by the New York Power Authority as "Small Facility of the Year" for a 21 percent reduction in energy use over a six-year period. The reductions were achieved by installing high-performance boilers, energy-efficient doors and windows, foam insulation, and heat system upgrades. These upgrades are not only reducing the Ray Brook facility's environmental impacts, utility costs have been reduced by nearly $10,000 annually.
DEC Region 5 Office in Ray Brook
Diverting more than 17 tons of organic materials from landfills
DEC has composting programs to divert food scraps and other compostable materials at our Albany headquarters and at seven of our nine regional offices. By diverting food scraps and other compostable materials from landfills, DEC is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, creating green jobs, and conserving landfill space.
The Albany office is composting an average of 150 pounds per day, which represents one-third of the total garbage generated by the approximately 990 employees in that office. Due to its success, other state agency tenants in the building are now participating in the program. Four regional offices are using smaller, on-site composting bins. Two regional offices, located in city centers, don't have space for on-site bins and are delivering their organics to environmental education/recreation areas in their respective regions for composting.
DEC's Region 2 office, located in Long Island City, reported a significant increase in food waste diversion since the agency's new sustainability structure has been put in place. With more of the 144 employees participating in the compost program, the office outgrew its 50-gallon compost bin. A new 200 gallon, three-bin composting system was designed by the Regional Director, built by Operations, and located at St. Francis Woodlands on Staten Island.
DEC encourages others to start a workplace composting program or compost at home by following the tips and suggestions provided.
3-bin composting system at St. Francis Woodlands on Staten Island
Reducing carbon emissions by adding ZEVs to the DEC fleet:
Electric vehicles (EVs) save money and reduce air pollution. Compared to gasoline-powered cars, EVs are more energy efficient and cost about 50 to 70 percent less to operate per mile. To reduce environmental impacts and save money, DEC has added five plug-in hybrid vehicles to the fleet over the past two years. The agency will be adding more in the coming years to help meet Governor Cuomo's clean vehicle goals.
In total, DEC has approximately 740 alternative fueled, plug-in or hybrid light-duty vehicles in its fleet of approximately 1,800 light-duty vehicles. In addition, DEC now has 58 neighborhood electric vehicles operating at its facilities, including campgrounds and day use sites. These vehicles are lowering greenhouse gas emissions and expanding the New York market for clean vehicle technologies.
One of DECs new plug-in hybrids
The most recent models of electric cars offer a cutting-edge driving experience, save money on fuel, and need less maintenance than gas or diesel cars. Residents are encouraged to purchase a plug-in hybrid or battery-powered car that qualifies for the Drive Clean Rebate. The program offers a rebate savings up to $2,000 on a new purchase. Additionally, residents may also qualify for a Federal Tax Credit of up to $7,500.
Installing more electric vehicle chargers
DEC is helping New Yorkers get the most of their EV by installing electric vehicle chargers at its facilities for workplace, fleet, and public charging. Recent installations include a dual-port level 2 charger at the Stamford Regional Office for employee use and a solar powered dual-port level 1 charger at the Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center in Depew for public use. This charger allows any of the more than 60,000 annual visitors to charge an electric vehicle with 100 percent renewable power.
Recently installed EV charger Stamford Regional Office
Recently installed solar at the DEC Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center
New Yorkers can receive announcements from DEC about a wide variety of topics including sustainable practices, outdoor recreation and education, wildlife and much more.