The University at Albany is committed to reaching climate neutrality by the late 21st century. We have made significant strides in achieving our goal, making public commitments in addition to adhering to state standards related to sustainability.
American Campus Act on Climate Pledge
In 2015, the University of Albany signed the American Campus Act on Climate Pledge, the pledge reads:
“As institutions of higher education, we applaud the progress already made to promote clean energy and climate action as we seek a comprehensive, ambitious agreement at the upcoming United Nations Climate Negotiations in Paris. We recognize the urgent need to act now to avoid irreversible costs to our global community’s economic prosperity and public health and are optimistic that world leaders will reach an agreement to secure a transition to a low carbon future. Today our school pledges to accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campus.”
UN Higher Education Sustainability Initiative
In 2012, the University of Albany signed the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative, The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) was created as a partnership of UN entities (UNESCO, UN-DESA, UNEP, Global Compact, and UNU) in the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). With a membership of almost 300 universities from around the world, HESI accounts for more than one-third of all the voluntary commitments that came out of Rio +20.
In 2006, the University of Albany signed the Talloires Declaration, the first official statement made by university administrators commit to environmental sustainability in higher education. The Talloires Declaration is a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities. It has been signed by over 350 university presidents and chancellors in over 40 countries.
American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment
In May 2008, the University at Albany affirmed its responsibility by signing the the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).
The ACUPCC is a high-visibility effort to address global warming by institutions of higher education with specific action steps and targeted time frames to complete goals. The commitment charges universities to develop an institutional infrastructure to support sustainability, conduct regular greenhouse gas emission inventories and devise a carbon neutral action plan. To date, over 670 institutions have signed on.
Climate Action Plan
The Climate Action Plan Report reviews the current progress towards carbon neutrality at the University at Albany and recommendations for achieving this goal. Click the icon below to access the report.
The University issued its Strategic Plan in Fall 2010 to re-affirmed its commitment to sustainability. Specifically, the University's goal to build upon and reconfigure our teaching, research, student life and support spaces in a manner compatible with our contemporary mission necessities investment in sustainable infrastructure. This course of action aligns with those goals outlined in "UAlbany and the Power of SUNY."
Chancellor Zimpher hosted several town halls across the state in the beginning of 2010 to gather input for the State University system wide strategic plan. In April 2010, this plan, entitled "The Power of SUNY" was unveiled. Energy and Sustainability appears as one of the "big, hairy, audacious goals."
New York State Executive Orders
Many executive orders signed by New York State Governors promote policies within state agencies and authorities to reduce consumption of materials and energy in an effort to reduce impacts on public health and the environment. All SUNY campuses therefore are required to comply with such guidelines. The Office of Environmental Sustainability, in partnership with departments across campus, ensure that we are reaching state goals.
Executive Order No. 88
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 88 on December 28, 2012, directing state agencies and authorities to improve the energy efficiency of state buildings. The order establishes a target of reducing average energy use intensity (EUI) in state-owned and managed buildings by 20% relative to a fiscal year 2010/2011 baseline by April 1, 2020.
Executive Order 2
In March 2008, Governor David A. Paterson issued Executive Order No. 2 directing the creation of a State Energy Plan stating that "...the development, implementation, and periodic review of a sensible comprehensive energy plan will enable the State to determine its future energy needs and facilitate a deliberate, efficient, and cost-effective means of meeting those needs."
In June 2008, New York State began a new statewide energy planning process, and on December, 2009, released the 2009 New York State Energy Plan.
Executive Order 2
Signed in 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 2 to reauthorized the follow Executive Orders related to energy savings and climate change:
Executive Order 4
Governor David Paterson signed Executive Order No. 4, which established a state green procurement and agency sustainability program with overarching goals that touch upon many different aspects of government operations. The order also requires state agencies to develop Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship programs that include specific projects designed to help the agency achieve compliance with the order and reduce environmental impacts.
Executive Order 18
Executive Order No. 18, signed by Governor David Paterson in 2009 , restricts the use of bottled water at state facilities and promotes the use of tap water as a preferable alternative.
Executive Order 24
In 2009, Governor Paterson established the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sources within the states by 80% below levels emitted in 1990 by 2050.
Executive Order 39
In 2010, Governor Paterson signed Executive Order No. 39 that established state policies to promote sustainable local farms and protects agricultural lands.
Executive Order 134
George Pataki signed Executive Order No. 134 that mandates that state agencies must purchase environmentally preferred cleaning products.