Sustainability Initiatives


Buildings & Operations

UAlbany strives to operate in the most sustainable manner possible through a combination of energy efficiency and conservation projects, renewable energy technologies, green cleaning and sustainable waste management.

Please visit the Office of Facilities Management website for information on ongoing construction and renovation projects.

LEED Certified Buildings

Several UAlbany buildings, listed below, are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. LEED certification indicates a building was designed and built to meet certain standards in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

LEED Silver Buildings

  • Husted Hall

  • SBA Annex Building

  • RNA Institute, Life Sciences

LEED Gold Buildings

  • Data Center, Information Technology

  • Beverwyck Hall on Dutch Quad

  • Herkimer Hall on Colonial Quad

  • Liberty Terrace

  • Massry Center for Business 

  • Mohawk Tower on Indigenous Quad

  • Schuyler Hall on Dutch Quad

LEED Platinum Buildings

  • Hudson Building

  • ETEC

Sustainable Features of ETEC

ETEC is a hub for innovation, scholarship, applied research and commercial development designed to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations to confront complex problems. 

The $180 million, 246,000 gross square foot state-of-the-art building aligns with SUNY’s goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions. It has received LEED Platinum certification, the highest level awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council for energy-efficient and sustainable buildings.

A geothermal field of 190 wells and solar panels on the Uptown Campus Podium combine to save about 70 percent in energy costs, efficient fixtures reduce water usage by 40 percent, and the site includes green stormwater management including a porous parking lot and a teaching green roof. 

Learn more about ETEC.


UAlbany spends approximately $7 million on electricity and over $15 million in utility costs annually.

The Office of Sustainability and the Office of Facilities Management work together to assess energy use, promote energy conservation, and implement green technologies and renewable energy systems on campus. This helps reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, while producing significant cost savings.

Energy Campaign

UAlbany encourages students to conserve electricity in on-campus housing by offering rewards during the 10-week Energy Campaign.

During the campaign, each quad and apartment complex's electricity use is monitored. Each housing area is challenged to reduce electricity use by 10%, as compared to the baseline measurement taken before the campaign begins.

Campus offices and units who would like to participate by offering rewards or assisting with treasure hunts should email [email protected].

Renewable Energy on Campus

Solar Panels: The solar panel system on top of the Social Sciences building generates enough electricity to power five homes and save 20 tons of carbon emissions annually. The project was competitively selected under the State Energy Program by the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The solar panels were funded by federal stimulus funds and are expected to save the University about $5,000 per year.

Geothermal Energy: The on-campus Liberty Terrace apartment complex features a geothermal heat pump system that supplies heating and cooling. It uses the earth as a heat source in the winter and as heat sink in the summer. It provides approximately 400 tons of temperature control to the building and uses 50 percent less energy than the other buildings on campus. The geothermal system is expected to save about $300,000 per year.

Renewable Energy Credits: UAlbany purchased renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and carbon offsets as environmentally-conscious measures at University Hall.

  • UAlbany purchased 800,000 kilowatt hours of wind energy with the RECs, supporting wind farms in New York State and creating an estimated annual environmental benefit equivalent to removing 110 passenger vehicles from the road. 
  • The certified carbon offsets reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated from the building, creating an estimated annual environmental benefit equivalent to removing 79.3 passenger vehicles from the road.

The certified RECs and carbon offsets were supplied by renewable energy developer and marketer Renewable Choice.

The University also purchased Green-e Energy certified clean source, American wind RECS for the Massry Center for Business, Service Building A, and Liberty Terrace.

Intersession Energy Saving Initiative

During Intersession, UAlbany implements strong energy conservation measures from late December to early January. Visit the Intersession Energy Saving Initiative webpage for more information.


Many places on UAlbany's campuses highlight local ecology and flora. Learn more about the regional environment.

Parker Pond — located between Indigenous Quad and Liberty Terrace — functions not only as a landscape feature but also as a retention basin for run-off stormwater. The collected stormwater is then used  to irrigate campus lawns and fields.

A few gardens around campus serve as locations for relaxation and reflection. The largest and most popular gardens on campus are the East and West Gardens. The East Garden — located between Biology and the Performing Arts center — offers a breathtaking scene in late April while the azaleas are in bloom. The West Garden — located between Social Science and the University Library — provides a green and sunny spot for studying.

The University's first rain garden was installed at Alumni House in October 2011 in partnership with the Albany County Stormwater Coalition. The garden mitigates rainfall run-off onto University Drive.

UAlbany's fountains are iconic symbols for the University and surprisingly sustainable features. By recirculating water, the fountains don't put a constant demand on our water supply. The fountains' hours are reduced to conserve energy and the water streams' levels are adjusted according to wind conditions to conserve water.



Food & Dining

Food and dining initiatives are a central component of our sustainability efforts on campus. From vegetarian and vegan dining options to including more local foods on the menu, sustainability has been integrated into our food culture.

About 30 percent of the food on campus comes from local sources — ensuring freshness, boosting the local economy and creating connections with the community. Learn more about UAlbany Dining's sustainability efforts.

UAlbany is also proud to help organize and to participate in the New York Campus Crunch, a state-wide celebration of local food on college campuses.




One of the best ways to reduce waste is to buy more durable and sustainable products. 

New York State Executive Order 22 requires state agencies to purchase more sustainably. Guidance on sustainable contracts and product specifications is available on the New York State Office of General Services website.



Recycling & Waste

Each year, UAlbany throws away 1,572 tons of garbage each year and recycles 249 tons of mixed paper, 34 tons of co-mingled product (glass, plastic and tin), 109 tons of scrap metal, 3.2 tons of tires, 2.8 tons of motor oil, 1 tons of kitchen grease and 0.23 tons of batteries.

The University has replaced aging recycling and waste bins in the University Libraries, Campus Center and Academic Podium buildings with new, better labeled bins to help campus community members identify what can be recycled.

Pre- and post-consumer food waste is composted in the University's two dining halls. Employees can email [email protected] to request a composting pail for their office to further divert food from our waste stream.




Each day thousands of students, faculty and staff commute to UAlbany three campuses — presenting many opportunities for improving transportation efficiency. Transportation is a significant source of air pollution and a contributor to climate change.

About 60 percent of students regularly use alternative transportation options, while only 10 percent of employees commute without using a personal vehicle. Challenge yourself to leave your vehicle in the driveway once a week for the next month. You may be surprised to learn that you can reshape your commute with little effort.

The Office of Sustainability and Parking & Mass Transit Services collaborate on various transportation-related initiatives on campus.

Bike-shares & Bike Registration

The Bikeable UAlbany Initiative tracks how many bicycles are on campus so the University can plan for a safer, more comfortable bicycling experience for everyone. Register your bike for free.

Current students and employees have free access to the regular CDPHP Cycle! bikes, which are typically available from April to November. Learn more about bike-shares on campus.


UAlbany has teamed up with 511NY Rideshare, a free carpool matching service for anyone living in the Capital Region. The program includes a Guaranteed Ride Home.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

UAlbany has several electric vehicle charging stations on its campuses. Visit the Parking & Mass Transit Services' EV Charging webpage for locations and rules.

Parking Permit Discount for Fuel Efficient Vehicles

Students and employees with fuel efficient vehicles (at least 35 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, per EPA's fuel economy ratings) are eligible for a 20% discount when they purchase a UAlbany parking permit (decal).

UAlbany & CDTA Buses

Current students and employees can use their UAlbany ID cards to access all UAlbany and CDTA buses.

CDTA provides service throughout the Capital Region and offers several routes that service UAlbany's campuses.

UAlbany buses provides safe, reliable and efficient services to the campus community. Review UAlbany bus schedules. See bus locations in real time using the UAlbany Bus Tracker.


While many people equate energy conservation and recycling with sustainability, most neglect to include water use. Yet water is an extremely valuable resource that needs to be conserved.

Did you know that turning off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving can save between two and six gallons of water? Or that the average 10 minute shower takes between 25 and 40 gallons and the average bath between 35 and 60 gallons of water? 

Take the time to think about ways you can conserve. Some ideas include turning off running water when its not in use, taking shorter showers and baths, and only running the washing machine and dishwasher when they are full. 

In our continuing effort to reduce water use, UAlbany has installed low flow fixtures for showers and bathroom facilities across campus. To learn about additional water conservation efforts, visit the Environment section.