University at Albany

Guiding Principles

The University at Albany is embarking on developing a comprehensive sustainability plan. This will outline actions and initiatives aimed at lowering consumption, protecting environmental resources, decreasing waste and reducing our carbon footprint. Successful implementation of the plan will likely involve changes in personal behavior as well as rethinking the day-to-day operating practices within the various departments and units of the University. The plan will also require significant multi-year investments and upgrades to our facilities. With such a broad mandate, the following “Guiding Principles” are offered to help shape this plan and steer near-term and future initiatives and be adopted by the appropriate decision making bodies on campus to incorporate into everyday planning. Six broad categories have been targeted.

1. Built Environment

Addressing buildings, site planning, major construction and transportation on campus

  • Sustainability and energy conservation will be incorporated into capital planning through the application of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) equivalent principles of design, planning, and construction
  • Public and alternative modes of transportation, along with reduction of automobile use on campus, will be implemented and encouraged, where possible
  • Construction and site planning will promote pedestrian safety, sustainable landscapes, and  greater efficiency in land use, preserving green and natural spaces where possible
  • Protection of watershed and improve storm water management

2. Education

Addressing awareness and formal instruction

  • Communicate to faculty, staff and students the efforts of the Environmental Task Force, the Office of Environmental Sustainability, and University's Energy Officer, promoting conservation and sustainability
  • Encourage sustainability recognition and rewards and implement future workshops, special events, lectures and symposia centered on sustainability for the community as a whole

3. Energy Use

Addressing energy use of buildings, facilities operations, and consumption throughout campus

  • Ongoing conservation initiatives, such as broader heating and cooling standards, building shut-downs during low enrollment/use periods, and plug-use reductions, will be adopted
  • Encourage cleaner, more environmentally friendly fuels and energy sources will be used for campus facilities operations
  • Campus lighting will encourage the most efficient technology

4. Environmental Landscaping and Water Management

Addressing landscaping and water management on campus grounds and buildings.

  • Promote the use of pond water and gray water for irrigation
  • Ongoing water conservation and installation of lower flow hardware will be adopted
  • Encourage the use of native or other species that require less irrigation and upkeep, where possible

5. Green Commerce

Addressing daily purchasing standards and practices

  • Promote healthier eating opportunities on campus and greater purchase of locally produced food
  • Encourage the purchase of recycled, reusable and minimal-impact products and services on campus
  • Create a vision of the university as part of a larger, sustainable community economy

6. Solid and Hazardous Waste

Addressing the campus waste stream

  • Adopt policies and standards that strive to reduce our waste stream, maximize recycling and reuse materials
  • Seek to minimize hazardous materials on campus