As millions around the world celebrate Earth Day 2021, SUNY New Paltz is moving forward with plans to establish a Carbon Neutrality Task Force to identify a target date and a comprehensive strategy to becoming a net-zero carbon campus by reducing emissions and increasing offsets.
The effort aligns with state-wide climate goals adopted with the 2019 passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which included commitments to 100% carbon-free electricity in New York by 2040 and economy-wide net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“The Carbon Neutrality Task Force is a continuation of steps we’ve taken over the last two decades,” said Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management John Shupe. “It’s going to take a great deal of effort, dedication, and wisdom, but I’m confident that our community will come together to accomplish this goal.”
The Task Force is envisioned as a community-wide, two-year planning effort with proposed sub-committees focusing in areas like clean and renewable energy, transportation, telecommuting, food and infrastructure, among others.
“We’ve investigated many potential sustainability solutions over the years and are moving towards the current consensus emerging across the state: the decarbonization of heating and hot water systems through electrification that is ultimately offset with renewable energy from the grid,” said Campus Sustainability Coordinator Lisa Mitten.
The Office of Campus Sustainability has outlined a working process for this task force including a set of nine charges that can be viewed via this link.
We will share more information soon about how members of our community can join our Carbon Neutrality Task Force and get involved in this important work.
Background on carbon reduction efforts at SUNY New Paltz
The Carbon Neutrality Task Force extends an institutional priority that dates back to at least 2008, when then-President Steven G. Poskanzer signed onto the Carbon Commitment along with other college and university leaders.
In 2013, the College established the Office of Campus Sustainability, which has worked extensively to cut energy usage and achieve cost savings of an estimated $300,000 annually on utility bills. That office led the development of an institutional Energy Master Plan that was published in 2016.
More recently, SUNY New Paltz has achieved carbon reduction through the installation of solar panels and a battery storage array in 2018; upgrading 100% of exterior lighting and many interior spaces to LEDs; and prioritizing energy efficiency in building construction and renovation, as evidenced by our eight LEED-certified buildings.
Visit the Office of Campus Sustainability online to learn more.