SUNY New Paltz Sustainable Energy Update

Now in its third year, the SUNY New Paltz Office of Campus Sustainability is continuing its partnerships within Facilities Management and across the campus community to focus on advancing energy initiatives, and is making headway with strong support from College administrators, cooperation from staff and policies set forth by state officials.

In December 2012, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 88, requiring public agencies in New York State to reduce their source energy use intensity by 20% by 2020. SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher upped this goal to a 30% reduction for the SUNY System by 2020.

In response, SUNY New Paltz undertook to develop and begin implementing an Energy Master Plan. So far, the plan’s 16 energy conservation measures, many of which are low-cost or no-cost strategies to reduce energy consumption, are in various stages of completion.

Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) program, which helps consumers make more informed energy choices, presented the College with additional opportunities to explore the feasibility of many cutting-edge clean technology options, including for large scale photovoltaic arrays, microgrids, battery storage, more aggressive demand response programs and alternative fuels. A number of important changes have been made or are in progress, including:

  • The establishment of six new electric vehicle charging locations for use by campus community members and visitors.
  • The installation of a 2.8 KW ground mount photovoltaics array at the Louis and Mildred Resnick Engineering Hall, which brings the campus’s total photovoltaics array size to 60 KW.
  • A partnership with the Central Hudson Commercial Lighting Program that allows New Paltz to upgrade 70% of all exterior lights on campus to more efficient LEDs. New exterior LED fixtures are estimated to use 72% less electricity than current fixtures, reducing the college’s electric bill by approximately $50,000 each year. LED installation is also underway in residence halls across campus and have been completed in LeFevre and Ridgeview Halls.
  • Design and execution of all major campus construction projects to exceed energy efficiency standards.

The Office of Campus Sustainability has also established many ongoing energy efficiency strategies. Actively managing building cooling and heating schedules, for instance, is an extraordinarily efficient and cost effective way for our campus to reduce our carbon footprint, energy use and energy bills.

The demand response program further reduces campus electricity use during the hottest and coldest days of the year to cut back on grid demand. Reducing peak demand is an inexpensive and effective strategy that may help prevent the construction of additional power plants in our region.

Associate Vice President of Facilities Management John Shupe, reflecting on the past two years of energy advances, said, “As you can see, we’ve come a long way in our sustainability and energy efforts, both in the Office of Campus Sustainability and Facilities Operations. Congratulations to our staff who have been so dedicated in moving forward sustainable energy at SUNY New Paltz.”

More information about Sustainability at SUNY New Paltz is available online.