SUNY Cortland was one of 10 colleges and universities around the country selected for a pro bono consulting opportunity to help advance its climate mitigation strategies.
Second Nature, a Boston-based non-governmental organization that works with higher education institutions to accelerate climate action, provided this opportunity through consultants Brailsford & Dunlavey and CustomerFirst Renewables.
“At SUNY Cortland, we are always looking for new ideas on doing things more effectively and sustainably,” said President Erik J. Bitterbaum. “This opportunity will help us make better decisions as we continue to push toward our goal of carbon neutrality.”
This project aims to help winning campuses reduce or eliminate CO2 emissions while minimizing operating costs or achieving other objectives. More than 50 colleges that are affiliated with either the Climate Leadership Network or the University Climate Change Coalition were eligible.
Cortland and the University at Albany will work with Brailsford & Dunlavey, a Washington, D.C.-based program management firm, to create short- and long-term plans to reduce Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions on campus. The firm also will help the university find cost-effective and implementable actions to attain carbon neutrality. If they are successful, SUNY ultimately aims to replicate them throughout the 64-campus system.
“We are so excited about this project as it will assist us in planning out one of the more challenging areas of our climate action plan for institutions in the Northeast, heating buildings without fossil fuels, or any combustion, for that matter,” said Matt Brubaker, SUNY Cortland’s campus energy manager.
“We have some options, but the planning process to implement those needs to happen now in order to meet our targets,” Brubaker said. “Brailsford & Dunlavey will effectively force those harder conversations to occur and get us thinking outside what is comfortable and, well, average.”
“We look forward to working with Brailsford & Dunlavey,” Bitterbaum said. “We hope that together we will create a plan that allows us to shrink our carbon footprint more quickly and sets a course for other SUNY institutions to follow.”
SUNY Cortland has a long commitment to sustainability. The campus was the first in the SUNY system to sign the American College and University Climate Commitment, the first to go 100% renewable for electricity and the first to build a residence hall to LEED Platinum standards, the highest green standard of its kind.
The Sierra Club ranked SUNY Cortland the highest among SUNY comprehensive colleges on its annual “Cool Schools” list in 2020. Cortland has been among the top 100 colleges in the nation on this list for each of the last five years.
In 2020, four electric vehicle charging stations were installed on campus to encourage more students and employees to consider EVs as an option for emissions free mobility.
Visit the Sustainability Office online for more information about green initiatives at SUNY Cortland.