Albany plugging $79M into SBU campus efficiency

Cool running: High-efficiency HVAC units are among the many carbon-reducing infrastructure upgrades and other sustainability-focused improvements spreading across the Stony Brook University campus.

A variety of state-funded efficiency upgrades – including new lighting, ventilation and operations-management systems – are included in a new Stony Brook University infrastructure-improvement plan.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced a comprehensive $79 million strategy to bring additional energy-efficient improvements to the Long Island jewel of the State University system. Financed and implemented by the New York Power Authority “in partnership with SUNY,” the upgrades target several SBU facilities – including residence halls, science buildings and Stony Brook University Hospital – and promise multiple benefits, according to the governor’s office.

Right at the top: 28,000 tons of annual greenhouse-gas reductions and a $6 million yearly savings in energy and maintenance costs, “part and parcel with our broader, nation-leading campaign to fight climate change and secure a cleaner, greener future for all New Yorkers,” Cuomo said.

“Energy-efficiency upgrades at SUNY schools are among the many ways in which New York is reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and saving costs in public buildings across the state,” the governor added.

The new SBU improvements follow the Clean Energy Roadmap, a master statewide campus-facilities plan designed to achieve the “sustainability vision” shared by Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson.

Kristina Johnson: Investments abound.

They also build on some $50 million in energy-efficiency upgrades NYPA and SUNY have already completed on the Stony Brook campus – including a pilot run of NYPA’s New York Energy Manager, a web-based data-management system offering real-time energy-use insights.

The SBU upgrades have already removed 16,000 tons of greenhouse-gas emissions from the atmosphere and saved millions of dollars in annual energy costs, helping to put SUNY “at the forefront of clean-energy research and innovation,” according to Johnson.

“We are focusing on our operations to make a more energy-efficient and sustainable infrastructure for the benefit of our communities and New York State,” the chancellor said in a statement. “Investing in clean energy and energy efficiency is happening on all our campuses, through the leadership by Gov. Cuomo … and in partnership with state agencies including NYPA and [the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority].”

The $79 million eco-facelift also fits right in with SBU’s pro-sustainability culture. Not only is the university home to the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, the Clean Energy Business Incubator Program and other carbon-footprint-stomping research-commercialization efforts, but it boasts a long history of cleaning up its own act – including nearly $2 million in recent campus-improvement investments, leveraging $500,000 in PSEG Long Island efficiency rebates.

“Long Island schools and businesses are assessing their energy usage and adopting energy-efficient upgrades that result in reduced energy bills,” noted PSEG-LI Energy Efficiency and Renewables Director Michael Voltz. “PSEG Long Island commends Stony Brook University for taking advantage of our Commercial Efficiency Program and our rebates for energy-efficient equipment such as LED lighting [and] new HVAC systems.

“Saving energy day-to-day supports a clean-energy future for Long Island,” Voltz added.