DEC Celebrates Green Your Commute Day

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) celebrated Green Your Commute Day by reducing emissions and announcing projects that will make it easier for staff to green their commutes in the future.

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More than 700 state employees save 868 gallons of gas; DEC signs DOE's Workplace Charging Challenge.

Photo by: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, via Facebook.

Albany, NY - May 20, 2016 - The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) celebrated Green Your Commute Day by reducing emissions and announcing projects that will make it easier for staff to green their commutes in the future.

Acting Commissioner Seggos led a group of staff and local officials on an 11-mile bike ride from Voorheesville into downtown Albany along the recently constructed Albany County Rail Trail. 704 staff from multiple state agencies took action statewide to green their commutes today, a more than 80- percent increase from last year. Participants directly offset 8.5 tons of CO2 emissions, saving 868 gallons of gasoline.

DEC and OGS launch EV charging pilot program. Photo: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, via Facebook.

In addition, DEC is partnering with the Office of General Services (OGS) on a pilot program to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for employee use. The charging stations will be installed at the 625 Broadway Parking Garage and the Water Street Annex Lot, both part of OGS's Downtown Albany Employee Parking Program. The pilot will be up and running by fall 2016.

"I am proud that DEC staff and state workers from Buffalo to Long Island led by example today, and set a record for the participants greening their commutes by biking, walking and carpooling to work," Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State and we are reducing these emissions by making driving an electric vehicle easier. Mile for mile electric vehicles are much cleaner than their gasoline counterparts and are an integral part of our clean energy future. Through these efforts, New York State is once again leading the way in helping to fight climate change."

DEC today signed the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Workplace Charging Challenge, a voluntary DOE program designed to increase the number of employers that offer workplace charging to their employees. As part of the challenge, DEC is pledging to begin offering workplace charging to employees, promoting the benefits of EVs to its workforce, and to promote workplace charging to others.

In 2013, Governor Cuomo signed the Multi-State Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding (ZEV MOU) with the governors of seven other states. The ZEV MOU Action Plan includes a commitment that any state employee driving an EV will be able to charge at their workplace by 2020.

Under the workplace charging pilot, DEC and OGS will test charging infrastructure, develop effective workplace policies, and validate assumptions on electricity usage and costs. Insights gained from the pilot will guide decision making to implement employee charging statewide by the 2020 deadline.

"We are excited to partner with DEC for this important step forward in making it easier for more New Yorkers to drive electric vehicles," OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito said. "OGS is dedicated to a successful roll out of workplace charging across the state to meet Governor Cuomo's ambitious charging goals and this pilot project will be a great opportunity for OGS to learn more about employee charging habits in order to make the roll out effective and cost efficient."

Electric vehicles are clean, efficient, decrease fuel costs and result in tangible health and environmental benefits. Due to New York's relatively clean electric power sources, emissions of greenhouse gases are greatly reduced for every electric mile driven. Electric vehicles will become cleaner over time as New York moves toward Governor Cuomo's commitment to have renewable energy make up 50 percent of New York's electricity by 2030.

Studies by Idaho National Labs have shown that offering workplace charging increases these benefits as it leads to employees driving more electric miles than those who don't have access to workplace charging.

There are currently over 440,000 plug-in vehicles on the road in the U.S., and over 14,000 registered in New York State. Governor Cuomo, through his ChargeNY initiative, has created policies to achieve a steady increase in plug-in vehicles, with the goal of 40,000 on the road by 2018.

More information on the ZEV MOU and Action Plan can be found on their website.

More information on the Workplace Charging Challenge can be found on the website.