The campus has committed to reducing energy use, not only to reduce costs, but to meet the goals set for carbon reduction in our Climate Action Plan.
This fall, SUNY Cortland will become the first institution in the 64-campus SUNY system to operate all of its facilities — classrooms, residence halls, dining areas, sports facilities … everything — using 100 percent renewable electrical energy.
The campus has embarked on an aggressive approach to become more energy efficient in many areas. The central steam heating plant, which consists of a number of older inefficient natural gas fired boilers, is in the process of being phased out and replaced with individual natural gas fired condensing boilers in each of the buildings on campus. These "Satellite" boilers are over 90 percent efficient and are projected to reduce the consumption of natural gas by 20 percent per year.
Other campus projects have included replacement of older style, inefficient, incadescent and flourescent lighting with more efficient flourescent designs.
In addition, LED lighting projects are also underway.
These types of lighting upgrades are at least 40 percent more efficient than the older designs.
Many of the existing buildings on campus have also been retrofitted with new highly efficient HVAC systems, energy efficient windows and re-insulated to today's modern standards.
Each building on campus is controlled by an Energy Management System (EMS). These systems control and monitor the building's mechanical equipment such as HVAC systems. They also monitor electrical equipment such as indoor and outdoor lighting. These sophisticated systems maintain the proper temperatures, air quality and lighting levels in the most energy efficient manner possible and provide the tools for energy use monitoring and analysis.
Major building projects going forward are all designed to meet LEED Gold standards. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings use 39 percent of the energy and 74 percent of the electricity produced in the U.S. each year. LEED designed buildings promote a wide variety of "energy-wise" strategies such as: energy use monitoring; efficient design and construction; efficient appliances; highly efficient HVAC systems; efficient lighting and controls to minimize lighting during daylight hours while maximizing light from the sun and the use of renewable and clean sources of energy.
Glass Tower Hall is an excellent example of LEED construction. Opened in August of 2005, this residential building design demonstrates that the commitment the campus is making towards sustainability has been underway for quite some time.
The Professional Studies Building is another example of forward thinking in the area of sustainabilty, energy efficiency and renewables. This building is heated and cooled by a Geothermal Water Source Heat Pump System. A series of 40 wells, 400 feet underground on the building's west side, are used for pumping heat to or from the ground. In the winter, it uses the earth as a heat source, while in the summer, it becomes a heat sink. The design takes advantage of the relatively stable temperature of the Earth's crust throughout the year to boost efficiency and reduce electric and natural gas consumption. This source of heating and cooling is a form of renewable energy; it has avoided about 650 tons of carbon emmissions since it was commissioned in April of 2011.