Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

NYS Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention - NYS Office of Mental Health

New York State Office of Mental Health


The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) employs about 18,000 employees that serve more than 5,600 in-patient and 32,000 out-patient clients at their 30 psychiatric centers spread across New York State. In 1990, the Governor of New York issued Executive Order 132 requiring all state agencies to reduce their energy consumption by 20 percent by the year 2000. Since then, OMH has reduced its energy consumption by 57 percent.

Methodologies and Procedures

Since 1998, the OMH has reduced the number of agency buildings from 1,336 to 1,124, resulting in a reduction in square footage that provides energy services of approximately 10 million gross square feet from an original total of 34 million. These actions account for only about one quarter, however, of the agency's total energy savings of 57 percent.

It is important to note that the OMH has achieved these reductions in energy use even as the new clinical requirements of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has required the installation of more than 15,000 tons of new air conditioning in patient buildings. This new load represents a 13.2 percent increase in electricity use, but the agency's efforts to curb energy use managed to achieve a 4.6 percent reduction. This equates to a gross electrical energy reduction of 17.5 percent.

The Process

To implement its energy conservation program, OMH sought professional assistance from an independent contractor with a strong track record of energy reduction results - the Facilities Resource Management Company (FRM). Together, OMH and FRM identified, tested and successfully implemented a six-element strategy to reduce the agency's energy consumption and cost.

1) Data - OMH and FRM worked together to ensure that they had a comprehensive and accurate record of the agency's actual energy profile. In addition, they developed extensive inventories of mechanical equipment and operating schedules to help quantify and prioritize opportunities.

2) Community Involvement - OMH and FRM developed a strategy to include and engage the staff at each facility in this energy management effort. This process was critical since the centralized administration of energy purchases separated energy users from payment responsibility and accountability. The establishment of energy user councils at individual facilities agency-wide and the development and implementation of energy incentive awards were essential in establishing a foundation for active facility staff participation in the program.

3) Procurement - OMH worked to develop a coherent procurement strategy that helps facilities identify and use the least costly fuel, changing fuel used every month, based upon the current market costs of transportation gas, tariff gas and fuel oil.

4) Generation - Improved efficiencies in the generation process translated into energy savings throughout each campus. Concentrating energy conservation and management effort at the source of greatest energy consumption (central power plants and central chilling plants) often led to energy savings and emissions reductions without any impact on energy users.

5) Distribution - Improving the efficiencies of the networks and systems used to distribute energy throughout each facility contributed to overall energy savings and pollution reduction.

6) End-Use - Improvements in the efficiencies of unit ventilators, radiators, lighting systems, ventilation systems and other equipment all provided incremental energy savings opportunities.

Improvements in Operation and Maintenance

OMH has focused on operational and maintenance improvements including facilities infrastructure, capital construction and plant renewal. This investment in mechanical systems upgrades and repairs achieved reduction of energy consumption and pollution generation. Some specific improvements completed include: the retrofitting of 56,000 lighting fixtures; the installation of 4,000 occupancy sensors; the installation of 115 Variable Frequency Drives; the replacement of more than 300 motors with more energy efficient models, and the upgrading or installation of 17 energy management controls systems.


The reductions from this project represent nearly 56 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity that was not consumed, which represent nearly 25 trillion BTUs of raw energy preserved.

Atmospheric pollution reductions of 5,313 tons of nitrous oxide (NOX), 7,511 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), and 2,807,110 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). The decrease in carbon dioxide alone is equivalent to the emissions reduction from permanently removing 77,847 cars from the streets and highways of New York State.

Since 1988 this project has resulted in the savings of approximately $115,000,000 in utility costs.

  • Contact for this Page
    Division of Environmental Permits
    4th Floor
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1750
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions