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UAlbany Surpasses Goal, Saves More Than a Quarter Million Dollars in Campus Energy Initiatives

University partners with National Grid for lecture by leading environmental activist Denis Hayes, coordinator of first Earth Day

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150



Denis Hayes, coordinator of the first national Earth Day

Denis Hayes, national coordinator of the first Earth Day in 1970, joined UAlbany to announce results for its campus energy savings initiatives.

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 9, 2009) -- The University at Albany announced today that it reduced energy costs by $280,000 as a result of its winter Intersession and Fall Energy Savings initiatives. The announcement was made at a lecture by leading environmental activist Denis Hayes, coordinator of first Earth Day in 1970. The event was a partnership between the University and National Grid, whose "The power of action" speaker series encourages people to save energy, manage energy costs and protect the environment.

Prior to the event, National Grid donated $5,000 to the University for its Change-A-Light campaign, launched last fall by UAlbany's Office of Environmental Sustainability. To date, more than 1,300 energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs have been distributed in residence halls.

"The University is taking action to advance sustainability efforts and develop innovative ways to use our resources wisely," said George M. Philip, Interim President. "I commend our facilities staff and the entire University for contributing to the success of these initiatives."

"We are fortunate to be able to collaborate with National Grid to work toward the common purpose of promoting energy efficiency and sustainability," Mary Ellen Mallia, UAlbany's Director of Environmental Sustainability.

"We congratulate the University at Albany for taking the initiative to educate and promote awareness on the benefits of energy conservation," said William Flaherty, regional executive director for National Grid. "We are happy to partner with UAlbany to affect real change on the campus and in the community."

During UAlbany's Intersession Energy Savings Initiative, which ran from Dec. 20, 2008, through Jan. 15, 2009, the University achieved a $266,140 cost savings, surpassing its $250,000 goal. The cost reduction represents a 19 percent decrease in utility costs from the same period a year ago. The initiative produced a reduction of roughly 900,000 gallons of water; 1.33 million kilowatt-hours of electricity; and 11.25 million British Thermal Units (BTUs) of heating fuel. There was also a 3.5 million pound reduction of carbon dioxide emission, which is the equivalent of taking 309 cars off the road for a year. To implement the initiative, the University reduced temperature and lighting throughout its buildings.

The University's third annual student Fall Energy Campaign boasted its most successful effort to date, with every residence hall reducing energy use for the first time, resulting in a $14,000 cost savings. During the campaign, which ran from September 3 through November 9, 2008, more than 100,000 kilowatt hours were saved in the residence halls, which resulted in a carbon dioxide emission reduction of 83.7 tons. Each year, the Fall Energy Campaign promotes conservation of electricity consumption throughout the campus residence halls (Indian, State, Dutch, Colonial, and Alumni Quads) and apartments (Empire Commons and Freedom Apartments).

UAlbany is committed to fostering and adopting an environment of sustainability. The University's ongoing "Go Green" efforts include:

  • Art Exhibition -- Through April 5, the University Art Museum will feature the work of artist Jason Middlebrook, whose "Live with Less" exhibit expresses his environmental goal to see beyond the unpleasant image of discarded materials and to re-imagine them as something beautiful and useful.
  • National Teach-In on Global Warming -- UAlbany students and faculty joined Rep. Paul Tonko to discuss presidential climate actions, as well as global warming policies and solutions.
  • Recyclemania -- Last spring's campaign resulted in a 30 percent increase in recycled materials over the previous year. Over ten weeks, students recycled roughly 13 pounds per person.
  • American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment -- Last May, the University joined more than 520 colleges and universities in pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become climate-neutral.
  • Local food purchases -- In a typical year, Chartwells, UAlbany's food service provider, purchases as much as $60,000 per semester in local produce. Most popular with students are New York apples, with about a ton consumed each week in the University dining rooms. Additionally, UAlbany hosts a Farmers' Market, giving students the opportunity to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables and other foods.
  • Trayless dining halls -- Beginning last fall, Dutch, Alumni and Colonial Quad dining halls became tray-free in order to reduce food waste, use less water and energy.

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