New York is already among the leading states in energy efficiency, and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in April 2018 that standards are getting an upgrade. This will ensure New York stays ahead of the pack in energy efficiency, helping building owners reduce operating costs and emissions, while creating new jobs.

With the new energy efficiency standards, New York state aims for energy savings of 185 trillion BTU by 2025, compared with the “business as usual” scenario. This energy efficiency target surpasses the previous one by more than 50%. The upgraded standards are part of a broader statewide strategy to reduce emissions while driving economic growth with clean energy - Reforming the Energy Vision (REV).

Renewable generation technologies such as solar photovoltaics and wind turbines tend to get more media attention than energy efficiency. However, both approaches are important and financially viable: while renewable generation reduces the environmental footprint of power grids, energy efficiency reduces the demand for such generation at the point of use.


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Reforming the Energy Vision: Achievements and Future Outlook

The REV strategy has been very successful so far, and the following are some of the main benefits achieved:

  1. Growing the New York state solar power market by 1000%, in great part thanks to the NY-Sun incentive program. This is combined with federal and state tax incentives.
  2. Making energy more affordable for over 1.6 million low-income customers.
  3. Creating more than 110,000 jobs related with energy efficiency.

The state of New York is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, eventually aiming for the international target of 80% by 2050. The renewable generation and energy efficiency targets will contribute towards the emissions reduction goal:

  1. 50% renewable generation by 2030
  2. 185 trillion BTU in energy savings by 2025

The NY state government also plans to develop appliance efficiency standards for all equipment categories not covered by federal standards.

Impact of the New Energy Efficiency Target

The updated energy efficiency target for New York state in 2025 is equivalent to saving the energy consumed by 1.8 million households. Electricity savings are expected to exceed 3% of total consumption in the state of NY.

The NY government plans to achieve one-third of the GHG reduction target (40% by 2030) with energy efficiency. Incentive funding will be increased by $36.5 million, and the total number of new jobs in energy efficiency is estimated at 19,500.

For the average residential or commercial building, investing in energy efficiency before renewable generation is recommended. Energy efficiency measures tend to yield a higher return for every dollar spent upfront, and you can use a smaller and cheaper renewable energy system if you reduce your consumption first. Buildings account for 59% of statewide GHG emissions, creating a massive opportunity for energy efficiency.

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