NY Saves Millions w/Conservation Efforts Despite Few Sustainability Jobs and No Budget

by | May 1, 2017

The state of New York managed to save $40 million since 2011 simply by reducing its use of copy paper, and will continue to save about $7 million per year, according to a new report from New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation. Various entities (a total of 66) within the state’s government reported to the department for the study, with many reporting significant savings from environmental management projects.

The state’s various entities managed to achieve significant savings in a variety of areas, despite the fact that only five agencies have a dedicated budget or fund for sustainability initiatives. Just 17 agencies (26%) have a sustainability team, but 58 entities (88%) have a designated sustainability coordinator. At 10 of those agencies, the sustainability coordinator is a full-time worker, with coordinating sustainability initiatives as the person’s only job. A total of 29 agencies are working on or have finalized a formal sustainability plan, up from 23 the previous year.

Savings and initiatives examples:

  • CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College diverted 1,300 cubic yards of waste from disposal and as a result saved close to $35,000 on their trash bills.
  • Since 2015, the MTA generated over a million dollars from the sale of scrap metal from the Long Island Railroad.
  • The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority made $26,000 from the recycling of used oil and scrap metal.
  • SUNY Oneonta made $2,799 from the recycling of cardboard and has saved $260,000 over the past three years from their recycling program.
  • SUNY Albany’s sustainability initiatives are saving $500,000 a year in utility costs.

Additionally, a significant number of agencies (52%) reported either a reduction (16%) or no change (36%) in costs as a result of implementing indoor water conservation measures. NYPA switched to low flow water fixtures and aerators at their White Plains office which led to reduced consumption of municipal water and reduced energy consumption from heating the water, yielding sizable cost savings.

Overall, 38% of agencies reported saving money through energy reduction, 34% saved money by eliminating the purchase of bottled water, and 33% saved money through waste reduction and reuse.

Water is a challenge for municipalities. A recent report from Bluefield Research found that one way states and municipalities are overcoming the problem of crumbling water infrastructures is using water metering, data management, and analytics.

More than $20 billion is slated for water metering, data management, and analytics from 2016 to 2025, globally, according to Bluefield Research.

Mounting financial pressure that is forcing water utilities and municipalities to do more with less is driving this market growth, the analyst firm says. This has sparked an uptick in demand for innovative solutions to more cost-effectively manage billing and customer management, leakage rates and energy consumption.

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