CUNY Conserves Effort Saves Millions

September 12, 2013

One year after CUNY’s 13 Senior colleges were given direct control of their energy budgets, and any savings that resulted from conservation efforts, CUNY has exceeded all expectations. The CUNY-wide energy savings program resulted in substantial reductions due to comprehensive efforts across campuses, the strategic Sustainable CUNY Conserves program and the Campus Sustainability Plans. The plans, developed through Sustainable CUNY as part of the PlaNYC University Challenge, helped serve as a blueprint for the University wide effort to reduce energy consumption, spend less money on utilities and use the savings to support other campus efforts. Sustainable CUNY Conserves provides a platform for shared ideas on best practices, training, data and analytics, software assistance, and a one million dollar investment fund in addition to providing assistance on implementing the Campus Sustainability Plan actions.

In May, Sustainable CUNY Conserves hosted a meeting of senior CUNY and college administrators, engineering, buildings & grounds and facilities staff to review progress and develop additional strategies for conserving energy across the university. Each college was presented with a customized Energy Profile, including data tracking college energy use and spending during fiscal year 2012-13, energy usage trends since 2008, as well information relating to greenhouse gas emissions, peak load behavior, Building Management System (BMS) survey information and more. Discussions during the meeting included the potential to save further funds by taking measures to impact peak electrical demand on a daily basis.

Vice Chancellor Iris Weinshall and University Director of Sustainability Tria Case presented twelve Sustainable Investment Fund (SIF) awards to seven colleges totaling over half a million dollars. The efficiency measures implemented as a result of the first round of SIF awards is expected to collectively save CUNY over $600,000 annually. The application period for the next phase of SIF Awards will be announced shortly.