Operational excellence is one of our three key objectives, along with safety and providing a +1 customer experience.
Through an emphasis on operational excellence, we’re making the generation of power cleaner and more efficient. In 2015, our energy-efficiency programs helped customers cut their use of electricity by more than 750,000 megawatt hours. That helped to reduce peak demand and defer billion-dollar capital investments for building new substations. Our programs saved one million dekatherms of natural gas in the past year. And we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by 48 percent since 2005. That’s equivalent to taking more than 500,000 vehicles off the road. That’s operational excellence.
Cybersecurity continues to take on greater importance in our personal and working lives. We remain vigilant in our efforts to make sure that our buildings and equipment stay safe from attack and that our customers’ personal information is not compromised. Because we recognize the risks associated with malicious software attacks, we maintain a comprehensive cybersecurity network designed to protect our computers, servers, business applications, and data from unauthorized access and control from internal and external threats. We also recognize that new threats pose a constant challenge to our security, so we continue to fortify our defense through investments in technology, enhancements to our cybersecurity process, and greater collaboration with law enforcement officials, regulatory agencies, and industry resources.
Strong business ethics is a core value of our company. We also recognize that standards of business conduct are an integral component of a sustainable company.
Key enhancements are being made to our core systems to help improve efficiency and overall resiliency during a major storm, and to reduce our environmental impact. Since Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, our systems have undergone a number of improvements to better serve our communities during extreme conditions—reinforcing perimeter walls, installing gates and floodwalls, and raising critical equipment.
When a blizzard dumped between two and three feet of snow in our service area in January 2016, more than 1,000 power outages were averted in Brooklyn and Queens because of $1 billion in upgrades to our infrastructure. The storm-hardening improvements began in 2013 after Superstorm Sandy and will continue through 2016. The infrastructure upgrades include “smart switches” installed along overhead wiring that has made our system more resilient by minimizing the number of customers impacted by falling power lines.
In 2015, we doubled our procurement of green products compared to 2014, with approximately $7 million of expenditures. This included items such as hybrid vehicles, low-carbon fuels, and recycled paper, toner, and carpets. We partnered with our vendors to reduce, reuse, and recycle various materials used by the company. Through our resource recovery program, we diverted close to $11 million of waste from landfills by focusing on products such as scrap cable, transformers, and paper.
Experience has taught us that a solid financial foundation, operational excellence, the highest ethical standards, and the utmost regard for our employees and the people and communities we serve are the bedrock qualities of a successful company.
Since its inception in 1995, the Environment, Health & Safety Committee of the Board of Directors has met four times a year to review our EH&S efforts. The committee also develops strategic goals that help drive our EH&S and sustainability efforts. The EH&S vice president is responsible for developing programs to ensure compliance and work toward EH&S excellence.