Karen Miller attends NYS Greening of the Mansion Ceremony, May 1, 2008
For Immediate Release: May 1, 2008
First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson Announces
Solar Panel Installation At Governors Mansion
Greening the Mansion Initiative to Continue
Legislation Promoted to Provide Funding for Residential Green Buildings
First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson today unveiled the first installation of solar panels at the Governor’s Mansion, a significant step toward reducing the Mansion’s energy consumption and pollution. The panels were placed on the Rockefeller Pool House and are already providing energy for the Mansion’s upkeep. The First Lady said that she will continue the Greening the Mansion initiative to promote healthy buildings and environmental sustainability, while cutting the home’s electrical energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent.
“If our buildings are unhealthy, it increases the chances that we will be unhealthy and that our children will be unhealthy,” said First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson. Inefficient buildings are the largest contributors to global warming, in fact, nearly 40 percent of greenhouse emissions come from buildings. This level of pollution contributes to poor air quality and poor health.
Greening the Mansion is a model for all homeowners. It demonstrates ways people can change their homes to make them environmentally friendly. Through simple steps such as upgrading to energy-efficient light bulbs, using natural fiber doormats to reduce the need for vacuuming and toxic floor cleaners, and installing energy-saving appliances, homeowners can significantly reduce pollution and their energy bills.
“The Mansion should serve as an example of the many ways that New Yorkers can make their homes and businesses into greener, healthier places,” said First Lady Paterson.
Other, more substantial, changes are also underway at the Mansion. The first photovoltaic panels were installed over the pool house, and they will produce 3.5 kilowatts of energy. This fall, the second installation of solar panels will be placed upon a new carport, adding an additional 46.5 kilowatts to the Mansion’s power supply.
The First Lady also announced the submission of a Governor’s program bill that would provide an economic incentive to residential developers and homeowners to install solar panels and other green features. The Green Residential Program Bill would give all New Yorkers the green building incentives already available to businesses. The bill would help offset the typical 5 percent increase in onstruction costs when green building features are incorporated into residences.
Tracie Hall, Executive Director of the New York Upstate Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, said: “The greening of the Governor's Mansion is yet another example of progressive, sustainable initiatives throughout New York State. We commend the leadership and vision being demonstrated in this beautiful, historic residence.”
Martin Ping, Executive Director of Hawthorne Valley Association, said: “We are deeply honored and grateful to have the First Family as a member of the Community Supported Agriculture Movement, or CSA. What a message of support. By joining a CSA farm, the Mansion has access to fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season. This enables the Mansion to support its local economy and connect with those committed to a healthier, sustainable New York.”
The Greening the Mansion initiative begun by former First Lady Silda Wall Spitzer, is an ongoing project at the Governor’s Mansion to reduce energy usage, transition the building to clean, renewable energy resources, and develop sustainable practices in maintaining the grounds and operations. The announcement of the installation of the solar panels marks the completion of the first milestone in the initiative (increasing the building’s efficiency), and the beginning of the second phase transferring to clean, renewable energy).
Highlights of the plan also include:
- Ecologically Sound Maintenance Practices. The mansion is phasing in the use of non-toxic cleaning products, organic pest control, mulching lawnmowers that recycle grass clippings in place, extensive recycling, and composting.
- Green Equipment. The mansion staff has begun to use hybrid electric vehicles. Electric lawn mowers and lawn maintenance equipment will also be used to reduce gasoline emissions. (Electric equipment can plug into the solar carport for power.)
- Local and Organic Food Policy. Last year the mansion began purchasing New York-grown, and preferably organic, produce to the greatest extent possible. The mansion also purchases from a local food co-op, and joined a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which allows consumers to buy a share in a farm and receive fresh local organic produce when it is harvested.
“Like every home, the history of the Mansion reflects the tenor of the times,” said First Lady Paterson. “Decades from now, I hope that historians will look back on our time and determine that it was a turning point when we made crucial choices to build greener, healthier buildings to reduce our energy consumption, address global warming, and improve the health of all. I hope that Greening the Mansion will have played a role in this effort.”
Additional news available at www.ny.gov/governor/press