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DEC Announces Green Practices at State Agencies Lead to $15.6 Million in Cost Savings

May 8, 2016

DEC Announces Green Practices at State Agencies Lead to $15.6 Million in Cost Savings

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Jacob K. Javits Center

Lead Agencies in Protecting Our Environment and Saving Money

Implementation of green policies at state agencies have saved New York taxpayers $15.6 million since Governor Cuomo took office six years ago, substantially reducing paper use and waste, and increasing recycling, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. A new report released today found that state agencies are also reducing energy consumption and minimizing the use of toxic chemicals for cleaning and pest management.

“By making state operations more eco-friendly, New York is reducing waste, combatting climate change, reducing toxic chemical exposures, saving money, and driving innovation,” Acting Commissioner Seggos said. “Our experience shows that sustainability is a good investment. We have bountiful natural resources in this state and I encourage every New Yorker to think about how they can contribute to a cleaner future.”

The report also features the achievements of two agencies: The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks), and the Jacob K. Javits Center, both of which earned New York State Environmental Excellence Awards in 2015, the first for installing solar energy systems at parks across the state, and the second for completing a five-year sustainable transformation that included installation of a nearly seven acre green roof and a 26-percent decrease in energy costs.

Key achievements by state agencies include:

  • a 31-percent reduction in copy paper purchased by state agencies since 2011, which has saved taxpayers $15.6 million, bringing total savings since 2008 to $33.22 million;
  • a steadily increasing purchase of 100 percent post-consumer recycled content copy paper, which reached 55 percent of all copy paper in fiscal year 14-15, a significant increase from 22 percent in fiscal year 08-09;
  • achievement and maintenance of a high recycling rate of 70 percent for the past three years; and
  • a 51-percent reduction in waste generated since 2008.

The report is available on Office of General Services website.

State Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, “Experience has shown that sustainable practices do not cost more, and even save money, especially reductions in energy use and waste generation. Between March 2014 and November 2015, the aggregate purchases of laptops and computers meeting the highest standard in the nation for environmental quality saved the state $139.6 million off the state contract price.”

Overall, 79 percent of reporting state agencies now use green cleaning products, 100 percent have implemented policies to reduce energy use, and 81 percent use low-flow fixtures to conserve water use. New York has not spent more on sustainable practices, and has even saved money, especially by reducing energy use and waste.

“The significant progress made toward sustainable practices by State government under Governor Cuomo is changing the way New York does business for the better, both by saving taxpayers money and making State workplaces healthier for those who work there,” said Claire Barnett, Executive Director of the Healthy Schools Network. “We applaud DEC and OGS on their collaborative efforts to develop robust green standards for purchasing, standards which are needed more than ever to stem the increasing tide of false advertising claims, aka, ‘green washing’.”

Programs to reduce waste, improve energy efficiency, avoid the use of toxic chemicals and conserve water in state operations are part of a larger strategy to protect our land, air and water. New York is a leader in combating climate change by reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions, protecting open space, and enhancing water quality in all regions of the state.

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