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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Cost-Saving Ideas: How to Reduce Energy Costs

You can realize significant savings for your school district or local government by paying less for energy and consuming less energy. Reducing energy consumption also makes communities greener.


Pay Less for Energy

In the competitive retail energy market, you’re no longer restricted to buying energy from your host utility. The utility continues to deliver electricity and natural gas but energy service companies (ESCOs) can sell you electricity or natural gas.

You can find the lowest cost ESCO or ESCO offering “best value” serving your area because competitive bids or competitive offers are generally required for energy purchases. Choose from a variety of pricing plans (fixed, capped, indexed, seasonal and variable/hourly) that may better suit your needs than what your utility currently offers.

The New York State Office of General Services (OGS) may have contract prices negotiated for commodities, such as natural gas, that will save your locality money. Visit the OGS website to learn more about OGS contracts and find out how to be included in future bids.

You may also find cost savings through cooperative purchasing arrangements with other municipalities and school districts. Several such arrangements are already in place. Contact your county purchasing agent for more information about these arrangements.

Note: There is no general statutory authority for local governments or school districts to enter into cooperative purchasing arrangements with private corporations.


Use Less Energy

  • Appoint an Energy Manager and develop an overall energy management program to optimize current and future energy use.
  • Get an energy audit or technical assistance study to identify where you can save. Contact the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) or the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for more information.
  • Use an energy finance contract and hire a private contractor to perform energy services, like installing a more efficient energy system. You can use a portion of the savings generated to pay the contractor. A technical assistance study can evaluate a proposed performance contract before you enter into the contract.
  • Get increased State aid for energy performance contracts (school districts only). See the 2014-15 State Aid Handbook [pdf].
  • Realize equipment-related savings
    • Buy energy efficient equipment. Visit the federal program Energy Star website.
    • Eliminate unnecessary equipment.
    • Turn off office equipment, computers and lights at the end of the day.
    • Install light timers or motion sensors in low-traffic areas.
    • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs to reduce lighting energy use by 75 percent.
    • Replace traffic lights with more energy efficient models.
    • Use Energy Star power management software on your computers.
    • Turn on power save features in office equipment such as copiers and printers.
    • Perform manufacturer-recommended routine maintenance on all equipment, including HVAC systems.
    • Tighten up windows and door frames and install weather stripping.
    • Use programmable thermostats to raise air conditioner settings and lower heating settings.

Resources

Energy-cost saving ideas in audit reports:

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