In 2009, SUNY Empire State College pledged to design all new buildings to satisfy or exceed LEED Silver requirements. The administration building at 2 Union Ave. was the first building to be designed with energy saving and resource conservation in mind. The Center for Distance Learning at 113 West Ave. in Saratoga Springs is the first of the new buildings to receive the official LEED Silver Certification. Through the use of energy-efficient lighting and a geothermal heating and cooling system, the buildings energy usage is 37 percent less than the baseline building. While creating the geothermal system at 113 West Ave., the college upgraded the HVAC system in the building next door to use geothermal technology as well.
Empire State College is taking energy savings a step further in the future. The seven regional centers currently located in leased buildings are moving to new, college-owned buildings similarly designed to reinforce the college's distinctive identity. The buildings will be LEED Certified Silver.
The college’s new building are reaching the goals of 39 percent more efficient by incorporating the following energy-saving features:
- evacuated tube solar thermal collectors on the roof that will heat water stored in a 550- gallon hot-water tank
- improved building envelope that is highly energy efficient
- high-performance windows, high shading coefficient and low U-value; solar shades reflect natural sunlight into rooms
- high-efficiency HVAC system, four-pipe fan coil system, with a make-up air handling unit and high-efficiency central plant
- a daylight sensor in each office that will adjust artificial lighting in accordance with the amount of sunlight in the room
- occupancy sensors in each room.