ALBANY, N.Y. — The firm Ramboll, which operates an office in Syracuse, is conducting an energy audit of Empire State Plaza as part of the state’s goal to “green the plaza” and generate 100 percent of the electricity in the state through renewable energy by 2040.
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and New York State Office of General Services (OGS) selected Ramboll to conduct the audit.
Copenhagen, Denmark–based Ramboll in 2019 acquired Syracuse–based OBG, which was previously known as O’Brien & Gere. Ramboll is an energy, environment, and health-sustainability consulting firm.
Ramboll’s offices in Syracuse, Albany, and New York City are handling the audit work.
The 18-month energy audit will help the state in determining the benefit and feasibility of introducing existing and new energy innovations at the plaza. The planning includes the analysis and consideration of the impacts of the current and future utility operations of the plaza on the local and state community.
After a series of technical reviews, community listening sessions, and meetings with neighborhood associations, the energy audit will look to expand on the current efforts already underway at the plaza. Those efforts were announced in 2019 after NYPA and OGS completed an evaluation of energy options for the plaza.
The plaza’s current heating and cooling system uses a boiler-steam plant — powered by natural gas — to provide heating for the plaza in the winter months. It also leverages the high-pressure steam from the boilers to power several chillers for cooling in the summer months, OGS said. The plaza’s aging energy system “needs to be modernized” to support the 13,000 state employees who work there, the state says.
The goals of the audit include developing a path toward “significantly” reducing the plaza’s dependance on fossil fuels, including an investigation of geothermal and surface water as an energy source
In addition, the audit seeks to reduce the impact of the Empire State Plaza facilities on the local community and environment, along with maintaining and improving the energy resiliency of the plaza.