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Frequently Asked Questions

“Seems too good to be true … new refrigeration and lighting paid for itself and I’m selling more.” – Westmere Beverage

Frequently Asked Questions

About unwasteNY

What is unwasteNY?

New Yorkers are living smarter and more resourcefully these days. We’re consolidating errands to save gas, shopping for the best deals, and making the most of our resources. But many of us don't realize that 25 percent of the energy we pay for, we waste.

unwasteNY is illuminating energy use to help home and business owners eliminate energy waste. Research tells us that most New Yorkers are aware that wasting energy is a problem, but many don’t realize how much energy they are wasting or what they can do to change it. unwasteNY connects New Yorkers, encouraging them to share and learn simple ways to unwaste their homes and offices and make their lives a little better. It is part of the New York State Public Service Commission’s (PSC) effort to make the state more energy efficient.

How are New Yorkers hearing and learning about unwasteNY?

unwasteNY will reach New Yorkers in their community, at work, online and at home through a variety of ways. The program includes community-based outreach; commercial and industrial outreach (to small, medium and large businesses); partnerships with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), utilities and other agencies; and news coverage. A major focus of unwasteNY is the creation of and the Unwaste Network, where consumers can go to learn about and participate in unwasteNY.

What is is helping New York businesses save money and energy. You can read stories about real New Yorkers who are eliminating energy waste in their businesses, learn about small energy-saving actions that can make a big difference in reducing waste, and take the Unwaste Challenge to download a custom checklist to unwaste at work.

Once you register at, you are invited to take the Unwaste Challenge by downloading and completing a custom checklist that explains the simple actions you can take to eliminate workplace energy waste. You can also connect to programs that can make replacing old lighting, HVAC and refrigeration systems more affordable and offer assistance in making your business more energy efficient. When you complete enough items on your checklist, you are officially part of the Unwaste Network.

How do I know if I can join unwasteNY for Business?

If you are a business with a location in New York State, you are eligible to join!


Who’s Involved

Who is involved in unwasteNY?

unwasteNY is part of the PSC’s mission to lead the state toward more efficient energy use. The PSC is working in cooperation with NYSERDA, utility companies across the state, community-based organizations, and other partners to promote energy efficiency programs.

What is the role of the New York State Public Service Commission?

The PSC regulates the state’s electric, gas, steam, telecommunications and water utilities as well as oversees the cable industry. It has a broad mandate to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to reliable utility services and is charged by law with the responsibility for setting just and reasonable rates and ensuring that adequate service is provided by New York's utilities. The PSC is the lead organization responsible for unwasteNY.

How is unwasteNY for business being funded?

unwasteNY is funded through New York's System Benefits Charge (SBC) program, the state’s long-standing energy efficiency and clean-energy development initiative. The program currently funds energy efficiency programs, outreach and education initiatives, and various market transformation activities.

New York’s Energy Reduction Goal, unwasteNY and You

Does New York State have a statewide energy reduction goal?

Yes. The goal is to reduce electricity use by 15 percent of projected levels by 2015.

How will the state achieve its goal of reducing energy use?

The state is seeking to achieve its goal through a combination of programs offered by the state and the state’s utilities to help consumers improve the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses. unwasteNY is designed to change how New Yorkers think about and use energy, to encourage actions to eliminate energy waste, and to take advantage of the state’s programs to help consumers improve the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses.

The goals of unwasteNY are two-fold: 1) to serve as a one-stop shop for consumers for all available energy efficiency programs offered through NYSERDA, utilities and other state agencies; and 2) to change New Yorkers’ behaviors by illuminating energy use and encouraging them to share and learn simple ways to make their homes and offices more energy efficient. In addition to helping New Yorkers take advantage of these programs, unwasteNY will also offer New Yorkers an array of do-it-yourself actions to eliminate energy waste.

How is this program different from other energy efficiency initiatives through NYSERDA and the utilities?

unwasteNY is an integrated, statewide outreach and education program designed to ultimately change consumer behavior regarding energy use. It is designed to support, complement, and increase participation in NYSERDA and utility energy efficiency programs by creating a statewide identity for all New York State’s energy efficiency programs. The programs offered by NYSERDA and the utilities provide assistance (through rebates, loans, etc.) for New Yorkers to take energy efficiency measures in their homes and/or businesses. These initiatives often have an education component that focuses on their individual programs. unwasteNY is an umbrella program.


Community-Based Outreach and Education

As a leader of a community-based organization, how can I encourage my community to take actions to save energy?

An important avenue for educating New Yorkers about how they can reduce energy use is by engaging community-based organizations (CBOs). To aid in this effort, unwasteNY field organizers will form working groups in regions across the state to bring together organizations that are interested in working together to implement innovative solutions for reaching people in their communities. We know that CBOs like yours will play a pivotal role in spreading messages to the people in your community through materials, events and online. Visit our page on community-based outreach to find out how your organization can get more involved.

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