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Commercial Efficiency in Central New York

May 29th, 2012  |  Published in Energy News

Why Energy Efficiency?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, commercial buildings utilize 17% of all energy use in the U.S., with office buildings accounting for 19 % of all commercial energy consumption. Both in the United States and throughout the world, over 90% of all energy is derived from fossil fuels. As a result, energy conservation and energy efficiency measures offer a significant opportunity to mitigate the potential for climate change by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Perhaps just as important, are the cash savings associated with potential energy efficiency changes. In a time of tight budgets and a struggling economy, now it is more important than ever to consider efficiency improvements, and there is a wealth of resources to assist you.

What Program is Right for Our Business?

For commercial and industrial companies, NYSERDA has a broad range of programs to assist in efficiency and redevelopment efforts. For existing businesses, a project is usually initiated through some form of evaluation. Small businesses and not-for-profits are eligible for a free energy audit. All facilities must have an average electric demand of 100kW or less. This program will provide energy audits to small businesses and other facilities to help them make informed electrical energy decisions and implement energy-efficiency strategies. Audits help identify economically viable improvements that yield substantial annual energy savings.

For larger commercial and industrial businesses NYSERDA’s FlexTech Program provides New York State based commercial, industrial, institutional, government, and not-for-profit consumers with objective and customized information to help them make informed energy decisions. FlexTech’s goal is to increase the productivity and economic competitiveness of participating facilities by identifying and encouraging the implementation of cost-effective energy efficiency, carbon reduction measures, peak-load curtailment, and combined heat & power (CHP) and renewable generation projects. Cost-sharing incentives are available to eligible participants for the following types of studies:General Energy Feasibility Studies and Technical Support, Peak-Load Reduction and Load Management, Industrial and Process Efficiency Analysis, Data Center Efficiency Analysis, Energy Procurement Strategies, Energy Efficiency Retro-Commissioning, Long-Term Energy and Carbon Management, CHP & Renewable Generation Project Classifications, and Peak-Load Reduction Plans. Studies are supported through 50% cost sharing from NYSERDA.

Once the evaluation has been completed, NYSERDA can provide incentives for implementation of recommendations. NYSERDA’s Existing Facilities Program offers a portfolio of incentive opportunities to offset the cost of energy improvements in existing commercial and industrial facilities across New York State. For smaller projects, fixed incentives are available on a dollar-per-unit basis for smaller-scale lighting, HVAC, commercial refrigeration, commercial kitchen, gas equipment and other categories. There are no minimum incentive levels, with assistance capping out at $30,000 annually.

National Grid gas customers using less than 12,000 Mcf per year can receive a maximum natural gas incentive of $25,000 per facility per calendar year. Custom incentives are available for larger-scale electric, natural gas, energy storage, combined heat and power, demand response and other projects. Maximum incentives of up to $5 million are available for manufacturers and data centers, and $2 million for all other sectors.

Design and Construction

If you are working with clients developing a renovation or expansion plan including substantial renovation or construction of a new building, NYSERDA’s New Construction Program can provide assistance when incorporating energy-efficiency measures into the building’s design, construction, and operation. Incentives are available for the purchase and installation of energy-efficient equipment that reduces electric energy consumption in new and substantially renovated buildings. Technical Assistance is available to help evaluate energy-efficiency measures and provide guidance to your design team on incorporating new and emerging energy-efficient technologies into your building. Funding is available to offset the additional costs associated with the purchase and installation of approved equipment. Assistance also may be available for commissioning services, LEED certification, and green building opportunities.

Completed your Evaulation? What’s Next:

So, you’ve done your evaluation, identified steps, moved towards implementation, and identified resources, now… how do you pay for it.  In partnership with its member counties, the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board administers a commercial energy efficiency loan fund for commercial property owners in the Central New York region. In total, CNYRPDB is offering approximately $1.2 million in low cost energy efficiency financing to small businesses in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Oswego, and Onondaga Counties. Commercial businesses in the region are eligible to apply for up to $100,000 for energy efficiency improvements to their businesses including real estate improvements or machinery and equipment that increase the energy efficiency of their building or manufacturing process. In addition, further loan assistance is available through NYSERDA’s Green Jobs, Green NY Program.

The CNYRPDB is proud to offer assistance from inception to implementation. CNYRPDB staff is available to meet with company staff, contractors or contractor groups, or in a one-one-one project specific basis to review goals and develop a strategy that best utilizes the resources available. In addition to NYSERDA, CNYRPDB staff can provide guidance on additional resources including tax credits and deductions including 179d, capital and financing, and additional project development and technical evaluation resources. Contact Brian Pincelli at the CNYRPDB at 315-422-8276 ext. 216 to discuss NYSERDA and other assistance available to help you and your customers. If you’re not located in Central New York, there are E$C Coordinators located throughout the state. Visit NYSERDA’s website at for more information on programs, or how to contact an E$C Coordinator working in your area.

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