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Brockport, first SUNY to begin energy management program

by Kristina Livingston
Tue, Feb 20th 2018 09:00 pm

The College at Brockport is slated to act as the first “pilot school” within the SUNY system to implement a training program which will utilize a facility known as the New York Energy Manager (NYEM), operated by the New York Power Authority (NYPA), according to a February 7 press release by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

NYSERDA consists of a 13-person research board appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that works to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy waste across the state.

NYEM will introduce software within its digital energy management system to college employees, which will allow them to monitor the energy usage of individual buildings. The program will aim to “reduce energy use, associated carbon emissions, and building operations costs by enhancing the skills of operations and maintenance staff and managers across the State,” and is possible, in part, due to a grant the college will receive from NYSERDA totaling $220,000.

According to Chief Communications Officer David Mihaylov, the program may be utilized to keep a better eye on parts of campus not often taken into consideration regarding energy consumption. 

“If we know if a classroom or an area of a building is not being used, we can remotely turn down the heat and make sure the lights are off,” Mihaylov said. “We haven’t always had a good way of monitoring individual buildings and parts of buildings, and this is going to allow us to just better manage our electricity usage across the campus.”

The college’s newest environmental initiative will align with its current 5-year Strategic Plan, the third goal of which aims to make Brockport a fiscally and environmentally sustainable institution, as well as the visions of SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson and  Cuomo. 

With Cuomo’s announcement of Executive Order 88 on Dec. 28, 2012, it has been asked of government institutions, which SUNY is included in, to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent by April 1, 2020. Institutions are required to submit annual reports detailing it’s progress.

The project is also of interest to Johnson as sustainability pairs is one of the two themes she wishes to focus on during her time as chancellor, along with “strategic partnerships.”

“SUNY accounts for more than 40 percent of all state-owned buildings, so our leadership is critical as we continue to work with the governor, NYSERDA, NYPA, and others to meet the goals of Executive Order 88 in New York and the Paris Climate Accord,” Johnson said, according to NYSERDA.

Fiscally, the implementation of such a training program is estimated to reduce energy costs by $260,000 every year, roughly five percent of the college’s overall energy spending, per President Heidi Macpherson.

According to Mihaylov, once the program is well-adjusted and successful within the campus community, it is set to be spread to other SUNY campuses.

Mihaylov stated that despite the program’s anticipated financial and energy-saving benefits, the most important piece to its introduction, is its relevance to the Strategic Plan and the college’s longterm goals. The date of its installment has yet to be specified.

“As an institution, we’re trying to better align our resources with our priorities,” Mihaylov said. “It’s nice to save energy, it’s nice to save money, but it’s part of the bigger picture.”

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