Press Release

DCAS and FIT Partner on New $7 Million Energy-Efficient Air-Cooling System

April 8, 2024

Completed ahead of summer, the new electric chiller is expected to reduce energy costs by over $1 million per year and reduce emissions by 1,000 metric tons

Photos available here. Photo Credit: Fashion Institute of Technology

New York - The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), today announced the completion of a new $7 million electric chiller, installed on the FIT campus, which prioritizes student comfort and works towards expanding the city’s net zero infrastructure. The prior 1,000-ton steam turbine-driven chiller, which typically utilizes fossil fuels for power, was replaced by a high-efficiency all-electric 1,500-ton chiller, which will be able to reap the benefits of new large scale renewable energy projects coming online and feeding New York City’s electrical grid. Anticipated reductions include over $1 million in energy costs per year and nearly 1,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to the energy consumption of approximately 3,000 households.

"As we unveil this creative collaboration between DCAS and FIT, we're not just cooling spaces for some of our brightest students; we're sparking a new era of energy efficiency in our city’s most cherished and utilized buildings and spaces,” said DCAS Commissioner Dawn M. Pinnock. “This new, energy-efficient electric chiller project epitomizes our commitment to sustainable infrastructure, helping us pave the way towards a greener, more vibrant future for New York City. Together, in addition to reducing costs and emissions, we're fashioning a legacy of environmental stewardship for generations to come."

“DCAS has been a valued partner to FIT for more than 15 years and through their generous financial support and leadership, we have been able to significantly upgrade our facilities’ infrastructure, which has contributed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 57%,” said Sherry F. Brabham, treasurer and vice president for Finance and Administration, FIT. "This new state-of-the-art chiller will help us to achieve our sustainability goals which remain central to FIT’s mission."

“This project is a significant step toward implementing a municipal phase out of fossil fuel infrastructure, as committed to in PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done,” said Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice Executive Director Elijah Hutchinson. “Projects such as this show how building system upgrades can be optimized to eliminate fossil fuel combustion, improve comfort, and save money, while making progress towards New York City’s carbon neutral future.”

"Electrification of building systems is a key decarbonization strategy," said the City's Chief Decarbonization Officer and Deputy Commissioner of Energy Management Sana Barakat. "We are proud to partner with FIT and install a brand new, all-electric chiller that will provide comfort to the students and faculty who utilize these spaces every day. I am excited by the progress we are making and to implement even more building electrification projects with other agencies across the City."

Electric chiller cooling systems, such as the newly installed one at FIT, are typically used in large buildings or industrial settings to regulate ambient air temperature, similar to air conditioners. Electric chillers consume less energy compared to steam chillers as they are powered by electricity as opposed to fossil fuels, which can be generated through a mix of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower.

This builds on DCAS’ recent energy efficiency projects including the recent installation of a new heating cogeneration plant at the Bronx Zoo in March 2024, and a 55kW solar panel installation at Elmhurst Hospital, bringing new renewable energy to the Queens Level 1 Trauma Center in January 2024.

The project was completed as part of DCAS’ Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency (ACE) Program. ACE provides funding and technical support for energy efficiency, emission reduction, and distributed generation capital projects, which are managed and implemented by partner City agencies. Through the ACE Program, DCAS helps partner agencies identify, prioritize and accelerate projects that mitigate carbon emissions and takes New York City towards its climate goals. The program team evaluates project proposals from agencies based on their expected emissions reductions, energy usage savings, energy cost savings, and other benefits for the city. Through the program, DCAS has invested in projects such as boiler retrofits, chiller upgrades, fuel oil conversion projects, lighting upgrades, process equipment changes and photovoltaic installations.

About the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services

The NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) makes city government work for all New Yorkers. Our commitment to equity, effectiveness, and sustainability guides our work providing City agencies with the resources and support needed to succeed, including:

  • Recruiting, hiring, and training City employees
  • Managing 55 public buildings
  • Acquiring, selling, and leasing City property
  • Purchasing over $1 billion in goods and services for City agencies
  • Overseeing the greenest municipal vehicle fleet in the country
  • Leading the City’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions from government operations

Learn more about DCAS by visiting or by following us on TwitterInstagramFacebookLinkedIn, and listening to the Inside Citywide podcast.

About FIT
A part of the State University of New York (SUNY), FIT has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology throughout its history. Providing more than 8,000 students with an uncommon blend of hands-on, practical experience, theory, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, the college offers a wide range of affordable programs that foster innovation and collaboration. Its distinctive curriculum is geared to today’s rapidly growing creative economy, including fields such as computer animation, toy design, production management, film and media, and cosmetics and fragrance marketing. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers nearly 50 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the new creative economy. Among notable alumni in fashion are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Norma Kamali, Reem Acra, Brian Atwood, Stephen Burrows, Dennis Basso, Francisco Costa, Nanette Lepore, Bibhu Mohapatra, Ralph Rucci, John Bartlett, Peter Do, Daniel Roseberry, and Michelle Smith. Other prominent graduates include Leslie Blodgett, creator of bareMinerals; international restaurant designer Tony Chi; and Nina Garcia, editor-in-chief of Elle.