A considerable amount of energy is used to operate a college campus, but Purchase has been able to save thousands of dollars each year due to successful energy initiatives.
Purchase College operates 46 buildings on over 500 acres of property. The college recognizes the importance of conserving energy while maintaining reliability and safety to the campus community. The Facilities Management department consisting of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, structural and grounds personnel works closely with the Energy Manager to find ways to improve the efficiency of the campus. This is done through many energy use assessments to find ways to promote energy conservation, implement green technologies and explore renewable energy options. All of these actions help the college meets its underlying goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and produce significant cost savings.
Through the issuance of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 88 in 2012, the college is on track to reduce energy use intensity (EUI) 20% by 2020. In fact in 2016, the college had reduced its usage by the third greatest percentage of all four-year SUNY schools. We are striving to maintain this reduction even with the addition of new buildings, renovations and increasing campus population. This success is due to our operational management as well as the responsible energy use by our campus community.
There is an exciting new Combined Heat and Power (CHP) project that will take place in the Physical Education building. CHP, also known as cogeneration, is a highly effective strategy to utilize generated heat. This project is funded by New York Power Authority (NYPA), Israel-US Binational International Research and Development Foundation and Brenmiller of Israel. The electricity will be used to power the gym and the captured exhaust heat will be used to heat the building, hot water and the pool. This will result in intense energy and cost savings for the college.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are being installed to new areas of campus since the college has invested in improving lighting in buildings and roadways. Many large-scale lighting projects have been completed in the Library, the Performing Arts Center, academic buildings, housing areas and along roads surrounding the campus. LED lighting fixtures produce light approximately 90% more efficiently than incandescent lightbulbs and have a much longer lifetime.
LEED buildings focus significantly on energy efficiency. More information on the new LEED buildings can be found here. Wayback, the upcoming residential housing, will feature various features to promote sustainable energy use including, but not limited to, solar panels (PVCs) on the roof, energy efficient technologies and an interactive energy dashboard. The dashboard will be important to engage with the building’s constituents to acknowledge the energy use of the building and how to be more conservative.
Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) Campus Challenge is a statewide initiative for colleges and universities to promote and help build clean, resilient and affordable energy systems for NYS. Higher education institutions are venues for knowledge, research and resources which enable us to act as leaders and train the next generation of clean energy leaders. Participating in REV Campus Challenge helps the college aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set and achieve ambitious clean energy goals. This is accomplished by investing in clean energy and implementing energy efficient technologies, integrating clean energy into curriculum and campus/community engagement.
To educate students further on energy efficiency, new curriculum has been developed in the Environmental Studies department leading to the creation of an “Introduction to Renewable Energy” course. The college’s energy manager will periodically lecture to that class, as well as the Environmental Policy course to create awareness and engagement of on-campus operations and have real world examples of the topics discussed in class.
We are also actively exploring renewable energy sources and innovative energy aggregation strategies through New York Coalition for Aggregated Renewable Energy Systems (NYCARES).