Office of Sustainability
SUNY is one of the state’s largest energy consumers, with an energy budget of $280 million. By 2020, SUNY has a goal to reduce system-wide non-renewable energy consumption by 30%. This energy conservation goal is challenging but is achievable, based on behavioral changes, technology and reexamining business as usual, without forgetting our core mission of educating our students for their future. The SUNY Office of Sustainability is working to coordinate and spearhead significant energy reduction and food measures across the SUNY system through implementation of strategic policies and sharing of best practices. With an enrollment of 465,000 students, SUNY is responsible for educating students on the social and environmental effects of consuming resources as well as exposing students to the global complexities they will be faced with after their collegiate years. Such complexities include over population, deforestation, over- harvested oceans, rising temperatures, and fresh water, energy and food shortages. With all of our students and more than 2.7 million alumni worldwide, the Office of Sustainability wants to play a role in creating a generation of environmental stewards and leaders who will work towards solving these global complexities. Whether you are a student, professor, employee or alumni at SUNY, the Office of Sustainability encourages every individual to take steps to protect our world; together our steps will move the dial forward.
Director, Office of Sustainability
Email Deborah Howard
The SUNY Office of Sustainability "Featured Campus" showcases an innovative sustainability-related initiative on a SUNY campus. It not only recognizes the school for striving to become more sustainable but also affords other SUNY institutions with an opportunity to learn and collaborate on related sustainability initiatives. The SUNY Office of Sustainability is interested in your cutting-edge sustainability story. What is happening at your campus that will help propel sustainability at other SUNY campuses?
SUNY Cortland Commits 100% to Renewable Energy!
SUNY Cortland has a long standing commitment to sustainability. Among many impressive sustainability initiatives, the University has designated no-mow zones, two LEED certified buildings, the longest running Green-Reps program in SUNY, and a community bike initiative. If that isn’t enough, Cortland is committed to sustainable dining, has cut its use of natural gas by 30% by installing satellite boilers, has saved 650 tons of carbon emissions using geothermal energy, and offers a master’s degree in sustainable energy systems.
Now, the school is taking its dedication to the next level. Led by President Erik J. Bitterbaum, Vice President for Finance and Management, William Shaut, and dedicated faculty, staff and students, Cortland will be the first school in the SUNY system to power all of its facilities with 100% renewable energy.
To help meet this lofty goal Cortland is installing 700 solar photovoltaic panels on campus. The $3 million installation will account for 6% of the campus’ electricity requirements. The remaining energy demands, roughly 16 million kilowatt-hours, will be satisfied through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates. Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) enable buyers to purchase their electricity from renewable energy sources without physically using the electrons produced from said source. It is a flexible way for environmentally conscious consumers like Cortland to directly support the renewable energy industry and help steer the energy system toward renewable sources as opposed to traditional fossil fuels, like coal.
Cortland has taken massive strides towards achieving their goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Committing to 100% renewable energy sources for their electricity only brings them closer. With the hope of facilitating sustainability-related synergies between SUNY campuses, our eyes will be on Cortland in the coming months and years to see what progressive sustainability programs they bring to the table.
Strategic Plan and Current Initiatives
Conferences and Workshops
Campus Participation with National Sustainability Organizations
American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)
More than half of the 64 SUNY institutions have signed the ACUPCC signatory list
Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
More than a third of the 64 SUNY institutions are enrolled in AASHE.
Ten of the SUNY institutions are reporting for AASHE's STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System) Participants.
Campus Sustainability Websites
Renewable Energy Projects