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January 30, 2014

SUNY Cobleskill, others take part in plan to boost energy efficiency

By Jessica Reynolds Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — The State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill is one of ten SUNY campuses involved in a new energy-efficiency project announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week, according to a Jan. 23 press release. 

SUNY Cobleskill’s manager of capital projects, Allan Quinn, said a photovoltaic array will be installed this spring at the college. The array, which Quinn described as a unit of solar panels, will be located just east of the school’s Center for Environmental Science and Technology and will provide a majority of the energy needed to run the building, Quinn said.

The project is a part of Cuomo’s planned partnership between the New York Power Authority and SUNY, called Build Smart NY, according to the release. Under the plan, measures to increase energy efficiency at 10 SUNY schools will contribute to cleaner communities and save the university system an estimated $3.5 million a year, the release said.

“Under Build Smart NY, we are ensuring that New York State government is reducing our impact on the environment and saving taxpayers money,” Cuomo said.

According to the release, the projects will reduce SUNY’s energy usage and help to eliminate 21,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. The goal of the initiative is to reduce energy use at state-owned or managed facilities by 20 percent by the year 2020.

At SUNY Cobleskill, the new source of energy will save the college $8,405 and will reduce the school’s carbon dioxide emissions by 45 tons, according to a document released by the governor’s office.

Quinn said the 75 kW “pv array,” as it is commonly referred to, will be a great learning experience for students, particularly those attending classes in the Center for Environmental Science and Technology.

“They will have an excellent example of what they’re learning about right outside,” Quinn said. “There will also be a flat screen in the lobby of the CEST for students to see, in real-time, the energy being generated by the pv array.”

According to the state’s numbers, the installation of the pv array will cost approximately $400,000. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is a state corporation that will provide some of that money through a grant, Quinn said.

Quinn said the pv array will be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, meaning all the materials used are “green” and eco-friendly. The pv array is in line with the college’s commitment to sustainable use of natural resources, Quinn said.

SUNY Delhi has several similar solar panels on its campus, Quinn said, but SUNY Cobleskill’s panels will be significantly larger.

Other schools participating in energy efficiency installations include SUNY Purchase, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Brockport, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and SUNY Upstate Medical University, according to the release. Projects at these colleges will include installation of new lighting, heating and ventilation upgrades, new electric motors and replacement of outdated boilers and chillers.

All together, the release said, the projects will cost the state approximately $80 million, but will generate annual savings of $3,586,450.

Construction of the pv array will begin in April, Quinn said. He said the structure should be completed by May.