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For Release: Thursday, April 22, 2021

New York State Agencies Issue 2019-20 'Greening New York State Report' on Sustainable Practices in State Operations

Executive Order 4 Interagency Committee Issues Four New Green Purchasing Specifications and Tentatively Approves 21 Other Specifications

New Specifications Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Protect New Yorkers from Emerging Contaminants

New York State agencies today issued the 2019-2020 Greening New York State Report (PDF) (leaves DEC's website), which documents the continued progress made by State agencies and authorities to reduce the environmental footprint of State operations. Highlights of this year's report include an overall recycling rate of 90 percent, record investment of more than $212 million in green products and services, and 4.4 million miles (equivalent to driving the length of the Erie Canal more than 12,000 times) driven by the State's zero emission vehicle (ZEV) fleet. Developed by the GreenNY Council, a multi-agency working group tasked with implementing the State's lead-by-example directives and co-chaired by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), New York Power Authority (NYPA), Office of General Services (OGS), and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the report details progress on a wide range of green initiatives, many of which save State resources and make operations more resilient. The report was released during the State's week-long celebration of Earth Day 2021.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The Greening New York State Report documents how State agencies are leading by example. Our actions are reducing energy use, preventing waste, reducing the use of hazardous substances, and demonstrate how entities-large or small-can serve as good environmental stewards. I commend the work of the GreenNY Council as they advance new green purchasing specifications that will accelerate the shift toward a green economy that benefits all New Yorkers and our shared environment."

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen Harris said, "The progress state agencies have made showcases how our collective and coordinated efforts will lead to lower emissions, advancement of clean energy, and a greater quality of life in communities across New York. As the State continues to pursue its ambitious climate goals, we want to demonstrate to others the value generated from the clean energy actions of today will protect future generations from the impacts of climate change."

NYPA President and CEO Gil Quiniones said, "Thinking green is a way of life for state agencies committed to advancing the state's ambitious climate and sustainability goals. The details of today's report are clear evidence of across-the-board progress in reducing energy use, waste and greenhouse gas emissions. The GreenNY Council's leadership has helped highlight numerous environmental initiatives and formalize green purchasing practices that will help create a cleaner and greener New York. NYPA, through energy-saving initiatives like BuildSmart 2025, is setting an example for what sustainability looks like on a statewide level."

OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "With our award-winning achievements in green procurement and our expanding use of renewable energy sources for our facilities, OGS is proud of the progress we're making as part of Governor Cuomo's GreenNY team. Together, OGS and our partner agencies are leading the way toward a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable New York State."

In addition to releasing the report, the Executive Order 4 Interagency Committee gave final approval to four new green purchasing specifications and tentative approval to 21 additional specifications. These specifications will lower the environmental impact of goods and services purchased and used by New York State government, with a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting emerging contaminants. Approved specifications are:

  • Apparel and textile materials;
  • Coating removal products;
  • Laundry detergent; and
  • Garment cleaning.

Specifications given tentative approval include:

  • Appliances and commercial kitchen equipment (specifications for 15 different types of equipment);
  • Cookware and bakeware;
  • Foam insulation;
  • General purpose cleaners (updated);
  • Hand soaps and cleansers, and personal antiseptic and cleansing products (updated);
  • Lower-carbon concrete; and
  • Refrigerant-containing equipment.

Specifications that received tentative approval will be posted for a 90-day public comment period before being brought to the Interagency Committee at their next meeting. Today's actions bring the total number of final green purchasing specifications to 65. All green purchasing specifications can be found on the GreenNY website (leaves DEC's website).

A series of laws, executive orders, and policies have created a strong framework to support New York State government as it works to support the State's ambitious climate goals, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and adopt sustainable practices. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), for example, is the most ambitious and comprehensive climate and clean energy law in the country, mandating that the state's power system be 100 percent zero carbon by 2040, and that the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and 85 percent by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities. The CLCPA includes the direction to State agencies, authorities, and other entities to lead by example and "assess and implement strategies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions," an effort led by the GreenNY Council; Executive Order 88 requires state agencies and authorities to reduce source energy use in State-owned and managed buildings 20,000 square feet or greater; and the "New Efficiency: New York" whitepaper issued in April 2018, directs agencies to reduce site energy use 11 trillion BTUs by 2025 (from the baseline year of 2015) through energy efficiency measures.

Executive Order 4 directs State agencies and authorities to implement a Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship Program and assign an employee to serve as Sustainability and Green Procurement Coordinator. Executive Order 18 directs New York State executive agencies to eliminate the expenditure of State funds for the purchase of bottled water.

The full report is available online (PDF) (leaves DEC's website) on the state's GreenNY website, along with more details about New York's efforts to green state purchasing and operations.

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