Pilgrim innovations trim energy costs, emissions

Positive energy: A $1 million efficiency effort at Pilgrim Psychiatric Center will have lasting benefits, according to Albany.

A relatively small footnote in New York State’s energy-efficiency annals will deliver lasting benefits to taxpayers and the air they breathe.

A $1 million “energy-saving project” has been completed at the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, a 290-bed inpatient and outpatient facility located in Brentwood.

The innovations – including enhanced boiler controls, high-efficiency outdoor lighting and improvements to the complex’s air-handling system – are projected to save $114,000 in annual energy costs at the state-funded psychiatric center.

Richard Kauffman: Reduced interest.

They’ll also remove nearly 500 tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere annually, equivalent to zapping about 100 cars from state roads, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

The New York Power Authority financed and implemented the upgrades under Cuomo’s BuildSmart NY program, a comprehensive statewide initiative targeting energy efficiency in public buildings and a vital cog in Albany’s plans to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

Noting the governor’s ambitious attempt to return the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990s levels within the next decade-plus, state Energy and Finance Chairman Richard Kauffman said the introduction of renewable-generation technologies is “not enough.”

“We also need to reduce our collective energy use,” Kauffman noted. “Projects like this one at Pilgrim Psychiatric Center enable organizations to reduce their energy expenditure and are critical to our success.”

Energy efficiency has been a theme throughout this decade at Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, where energy usage has been reduced by 12 percent since 2010, according to the governor’s office.

That puts the facility on track to meet BuildSmart NY’s tiered goals, including an across-the-board 20 percent improvement in statewide energy efficiency by 2020.

With the completion of the Pilgrim Psychiatric Center project, Cuomo noted “one more step toward a cleaner, greener and more energy-efficient New York.”

“With these efficiency projects, New York continues to set the standard for innovation and smart clean-energy initiatives that help save taxpayer money, reduce our carbon footprint and help preserve our environment for future generations,” the governor said in a statement.