University at Albany, State University of New York
Contact UAlbany Directories Calendars & Schedules Visitors Site Index Search
Admissions Academics Research IT Services Libraries Athletics


University at Albany Cools Down With Natural Gas

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 16, 2005) -- Through a partnership with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the University at Albany has developed an absorption chiller air cooling project that will provide 1,500 tons of air conditioning for the campus, fueled by natural gas rather than electricity.

The $3.5 million project will pay for itself in approximately 14 years through an energy performance program developed by NYPA in which annual electricity savings pay back the capital for project costs. As an incentive to reduce electrical consumption, especially during hot summer months when there is a tremendous strain on the state's electric grid, NYSERDA has offered the University up to $500,000 in funding to pay for the project.

By installing this high-efficiency gas technology the campus will reduce air emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides,  increase air conditioning reliability, reduce operating and maintenance costs, and help reduce the University's reliance on fossil fuels. In addition, by reducing its electricity consumption the University decreases the risk of neighborhood "brown-outs" during the high-usage air conditioning months of summer.

"We're pleased to once again partner with NYPA and NYSERDA to make the campus more energy efficient," said University at Albany President Kermit L. Hall. "This program is a tremendous example of a government and higher education collaboration that benefits the institution, our students, our neighbors, and the citizens of the state."

"The array of new technologies now at work to lower energy costs at the University at Albany illustrates NYPA's comprehensive approach to energy efficiency and improved air-quality," said Power Authority Chairman Joseph J. Seymour. "Under Governor Pataki's leadership NYPA's energy efficiency programs have saved the state university system more than $11.1 million and eliminated the release of 76,195 tons of greenhouse gases."

"When Governor Pataki first urged NYPA to expand our energy efficiency programs, most of our efforts focused on lighting improvements. Now while working with long time partners like the University at Albany, we are showcasing non-electrical solutions to energy reduction," said NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer Eugene W. Zeltmann.

"NYSERDA's partnership with the University at Albany and NYPA will help lessen energy costs for the campus," said NYSERDA President Peter R. Smith. "This system will also help reduce air emissions and lessen the strain on the State's electric grid during the hot summer months by reducing its electricity consumption through using a highly efficient cooling technology."

The absorption chiller program will be used to cool most of the buildings on the University's main campus, or some one million square feet of indoor space. The University estimates the gas chiller will save $260,000 in cooling costs per year.


The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages more than 16,000 diverse students in nine degree-granting schools and colleges. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit