Seven years ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo set some ambitious energy goals for state owned buildings. The program called for all state property to reduce it’s energy consumption by 20%. One of the largest employers in the state is on track to meet that goal. As of last week, The State University of New York system has reduced the amount of energy the 64 campuses consumed by 18%.
Over the last decade, efficiency standards have saved the New York taxpayer $1.9 million per year. Instead of paying higher electricity bills, the money saved can be spent on better resources for the 425,000 students currently enrolled across the state. In addition to this savings, SUNY is preparing New York residents for the energy revolution that must occur in the next decade. Last fall, Governor Cuomo invested $15 million in SUNY’s clean energy workforce development and training programs.
Due to these and other innovations, SUNY has been able to reduce it’s carbon footprint by 25 percent since 1990 while adding nearly 50 percent more physical space. The mandate from the state government has spurred innovation in the private sector with new buildings using more efficient insulation, micro windmills, solar panels, and fuel cell technology to reduce or eliminate carbon emissions. Dining halls are even growing their own produce.
“As the nation’s largest university system, SUNY will lead by example by working with our talented faculty and visionary students to continue to research and develop the next generation of energy efficiency technology to combat the damaging effects of climate change every day of the year,” Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said in a press release.