Sustainable Investment Fund Supports First Wave of Energy Saving Projects

March 1, 2013

Sustainable CUNY Conserves has awarded half of the $1-million Sustainable Investment Fund to twelve college energy saving projects in the first wave of support for initiatives which make significant energy use reductions through either proven or innovative efficiency improvements. Baruch College, City College, the College of Staten Island, Hunter College, John Jay College, Lehman College and Queens College all secured funding for one or more of their proposals.

The winning projects, selected on criteria that included a short-payback period (5-years or less) and the ability for rapid implementation, range from lighting and lighting control upgrades to steam trap maintenance, to pilot programs testing newer technologies with wider potential application at CUNY. Each college is making a contribution of approximately 30% toward the costs of their projects, either through matching funds or in-house labor for installation.

Five of the projects address lighting, including the introduction of LED technology at key locations at Baruch College and John Jay College. Queens College intends to install motion sensor lighting controls throughout its Queens Hall building to cut down on unnecessary use of lighting, and City College will replace light fixtures in the gym and Great Hall, cutting the energy use by 50% in these spaces.

The maintenance of steam traps has been shown to be an effective method of saving energy at CUNY and elsewhere and two further projects at Baruch College and Queens College will receive funding to inspect, repair or replace those steam traps that are found to be defective. Malfunctioning steam traps use significant amounts of energy in building heating systems.

An innovative project to inject permafrost into the compressor coils of one of the chillers at Baruch College will determine whether this technology can impact energy use by improving refrigerant flows, in turn heat transfer and the energy use of the cooling system.

Hunter College is also undertaking a pilot project, inserting a timer device which overrides the thermostat on water fountains to ensure the fountain does not chill drinking water at nights, weekends and other extended times when the fountain is not in use. Most water fountains respond to thermostat water temperature readings, chilling water for drinking regardless of time of day or use. CUNY has hundreds of fountains where this application, if impactful, could be implemented.