Campus Spotlights

SUNY Campuses Go Green

SUNY schools are taking a variety of actions to increase their use of renewable energy and sustainability practices on campus. These examples show how together, and through a series of collaborative actions, we can continue to lead New York forward into a cleaner, more sustainable future.

University at Albany logo
The College at Brockport logo
SUNY Morrisville logo
Stony Brook University logo
SUNY Fredonia logo

SUNY Brockport: Creating an Energy Savvy Workforce

SUNY Brockport staff being trained at NYPA’s New York Energy Manager.

Training facilities staff to lower energy usage in campus buildings is essential to achieving energy and carbon reduction goals. That's why operations and maintenance personnel are getting a crucial lesson in how to run a building more efficiently, thanks to funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The training program uses curriculum from Green Professional Operations and Maintenance; New York Power Authority’s New York Energy Manager (NYEM) platform for digital energy management; and on-site energy management training provided by the engineering firm O'Brien and Gere.

O&M staff participating in the training include engineers, electricians, pipefitters, fire systems technicians, and refrigeration technicians. The staff is receiving hands-on training of the new NYEM platform. They are also doing building walk-throughs to identify energy conservation measures. In addition, the staff is exploring the use of a building automation system, handheld measurement tools, and data loggers to evaluate additional energy savings. 

By investing in staff training and development to improve energy efficiency, SUNY Brockport expects to realize a five percent savings, or $70,000 annually, in energy costs.

University at Albany: Building Energy Efficiency into New Construction

The UAlbany Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Center under construction as steel frames get put together.

The ETEC at UAlbany is a testament to SUNY's commitment to incorporating energy efficient technologies into new construction projects.

ETEC’s geothermal well field and heat pumps will help heat and cool the building while reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Solar panels on the roof of the nearby Academic Podium will offset electricity usage in the non-lab portions of the building. A section of green roof will help reduce storm water run-off, and provide infrastructure for the addition of more solar panels in the future.

The energy efficiency measures will reduce ETEC's energy costs by about 70 percent, a savings of about $200,000 a year. ETEC aligns with SUNY's plans to design all new buildings to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

ETEC will house some of UAlbany's leading research and academic offerings, including the nation’s first College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity; the New York State Mesonet; the country’s most advanced weather-detection system; and UAlbany’s weather-climate enterprise, which includes the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center. Once complete, ETEC will be the second largest academic building on UAlbany’s uptown campus. The $180 million dollar ETEC building is funded in part by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's NY SUNY2020 Plan.

SUNY Morrisville: Enlisting An Energy Manager to Pave the Way

As part of the state’s On-Site Energy Manager program, SUNY Morrisville has hired Bill Mitchell. One of his job responsibilities is developing a Clean Energy Master Plan, which is required by New Efficiency New York by 2021.

Developing this plan will help SUNY Morrisville meet New York State’s clean energy goals, which includes achieving a carbon-free electricity system by 2040 and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Goals also call for doing deep energy retrofits of existing buildings and ensuring that all new buildings meet net zero carbon standards.

Mitchell is focused on identifying energy conservation measures in 13 buildings that currently make up 40 percent of the campus’s energy usage. He continues to analyze advancements in clean energy technology, the useful life of current infrastructure, and comparisons of centralized vs. decentralized heating and cooling systems.

Mitchell has already planned several energy conservation measures, including retro commissioning 13 high-energy use campus buildings. He will also implement NYPA's New York Energy Manager, which uses data to improve building energy performance, reduce environmental impact, and manage energy costs. 

In addition, Mitchell has planned several energy conservation measures, including the installation of LED lighting in high-use common areas in five dorms, and a central heating project that will reduce natural gas consumption across 15 buildings.

Stony Brook University: Monitoring Energy Usage in Real Time

Stony Brook University has been involved in a pilot project with NYPA's real time energy management system, New York Energy Manager (NYEM), to install electric sub-meters and environmental sensors on key pieces of equipment at its Campus Recreation Center. The project enables the collection of real-time data in equipment such as air handlers, pumps and electric panels. With the use of NYEM's data analytics and advisory services, Stony Brook has identified numerous energy and cost savings opportunities.

Among them was the optimizing of the HVAC system by adjusting occupancy schedules and controlling temperature set points during non-occupied hours. Stony Brook also upgraded to LED lighting. These actions have resulted in a 14 percent reduction in energy consumption.

The overall savings from sub-metering is higher than expected and pinpointed specific equipment causing excessive energy use, which may not have be detected by building data alone.

Given the significant energy and cost savings attributed to equipment-level metering, the campus energy manager is now considering installing equipment level meters in another university building.  With the help of NYEM analytics, Stony Brook is able to see which equipment is consuming the most energy, measure equipment efficiency and identify factors driving up energy costs.

SUNY Fredonia: Renewable Energy Production on Campus

Solar panel array on a grass field behind a parking lot at SUNY Fredonia

The New York Power Authority (Authority) is committed to working with Fredonia to achieve its clean energy and sustainability goals by incorporating solar energy on campus in a new solar photovoltaic array. The rapidly changing regulatory and economic environment for renewable energy in New York State makes it an ideal time to revisit the implementation of renewable energy resources. The Authority is uniquely placed on both the policy and technical implementation fronts to assist Fredonia in implementing renewable energy projects. The installation of a solar array on campus will support the SUNY Clean Energy Roadmap.

This project will provide a customized 1.45-megawatt ground-mounted solar photovoltaic array integrated with a 500-kilowatt energy storage system to ensure energy is available during peak electric demand and emergencies. The solar-plus-storage solution will provide about 1.7 gigawatt hours of energy and offset an average of approximately 400,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. It is estimated that this project will produce enough power to offset all of the University’s Residence Halls.

SUNY ESF: Cleaning the Way to Zero Waste

Students clean debris from the green roof installation at SUNY ESF.

SUNY ESF has pledged to achieve zero waste operations by 2025. In doing so, the College intends to divert (recycle or compost) 90% of the materials discarded on campus. More importantly, the College also hopes to reduce the amount of waste that it sends to landfill or incineration by 90%. ESF is systematically assessing its operations to achieve these goals. Recent initiatives include, but are not limited to:

  • Adopting a Green Purchasing and Break Free From Plastic Policy and associated Green Purchasing Guide
  • Standardizing office trash and recycling and corridor trash, recycling, and compost bins and adding educational signage
  • Replacing traditional office trash bins with 1.15 gallon linerless mini-bins at the Syracuse campus
  • Formalizing a campus-wide compost program on the Syracuse campus, with compost bins present on every floor of every building
  • Offering free reusable menstrual products (cups and pads) to all members of the campus community
  • Replacing plastic beverage containers in vending machines with aluminum and glass alternatives
  • Offering reusable containers at the Trailhead Cafe, the Newcomb campus and the Ranger School

The Sustainability Division has been tracking and working to reduce ESF's carbon footprint since 2007 when the College formally committed to carbon neutrality by becoming a charter signatory of the American Colleges and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment.

In 2009, ESF’s first full inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was completed and the College is on target to meet NYS goals of 40% reduction in GHGs by 2030. ESF has followed its Climate Action Plan, which included guided energy conservation and efficiency projects, on-campus energy systems, green building standards, and facilities stewardship programs. A major component of the plan was the construction of the LEED Platinum Gateway Center and integrated combined heat and power plant (CHP), which was commissioned and has been operational since 2013.