LaGuardia Community College’s Sustainability Efforts Receive Kudos from CUNY

Long Island City, NY—LaGuardia Community College is on a sustainable path. For the eighth consecutive year, the College was the recipient of the CUNY Executive Vice Chancellor’s Productivity Awards for its ambitious sustainability projects that reduced expenditures and saved energy.

Executive Vice Chancellor Allan Dorbin presented two awards to Shahir Erfan, vice president of administration, who accepted the honors on behalf of the College. One award was for the reorganization of the cleaning service; the second for the work on the E-building mechanical systems, which included the upgrade of the chilled water distribution system and the Library’s air handling units. The ceremony took place at the CUNY Financial Management Conference on January 29. 

“Winning CUNY’s Productivity Award once again affirms that LaGuardia Community College continues to look for ways to be more efficient and effective in delivering services to the College community, while being environmentally responsible,” said Mr. Erfan.

The initiative to reorganize LaGuardia’s cleaning service, headed by Diane Colon, director of administrative and support services, re-examined how staffing should be deployed and replaced contractor staff with better trained and supervised College employees. As a result of the effort, the College reduced expenditures in this area by $200,000 annually.

Yury Fastovsky, director of building operations, and Richard Ng, director of campus facilities, led their team in a project that converted the Library’s chilled water distribution system from a constant flow to a variable flow. Using more than $300,000 in funds it received from a successful competitive grant proposal to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), in addition to $70,000 in campus investment, the College is able to reduce energy demand by 186,000 kilowatts, which translates into an annual savings of $30,000.

In addition, to rehabilitating the Library’s existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units, building operations department staff cut new access panels, removed sections of the two air-handling units to clear obstructions from the chilled water coils, instead of hiring contractors. Upon completion of the repairs, air supplied to the library was increased by 40% or 13,630 cfm (cubic feet of air per minute).

LaGuardia, a longtime advocate of sustainability, was one of the first colleges to win a CUNY Sustainability award in 2008 for its campus-wide comprehensive approach to sustainability. Initiatives that gained notice were the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products and the installation of solar powered batteries to operate hands-free faucets.

Last year, one LaGuardia initiative garnered a productivity award: the auditing of the College’s vending machines, which resulted in a savings of $450,000 over the past five years.

“LaGuardia continues to lead the way in the University’s sustainability efforts,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia. “The College applauds the Division of Administration for its innovative initiatives that are creating an eco-friendly campus, while saving much-needed revenue.”

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 LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit to learn more.