Environmental Sustainability

Energy Conservation


Energy-conservation projects implemented by the Office of Facilities include: 

  • received silver LEED certification for its Center for Distance Learning building
  • changed building temperature set points to reflect the occupancy schedules of the buildings
  • installed a new elevator with an energy-efficient motor and solid-state controls
  • replaced a cooling tower motor with one that has variable speed drives
  • replaced an ineffecient boiler with two lower-temperature condensing boilers so one can be shut off when unneeded 
  • raised the temperature set point for the air handler 
  • implemented energy audits at half the buildings at the Coordinating Center 
  • installed light occupancy sensors in all buildings
  • adjusted the lighting systems to better reflect building occupancy 
  • adjusted the air-ventilation system to reduce cold-air exchange and still meet fresh-air requirements.

The director of facilities continually explores ways to conserve energy. Some projects that have been researched include: 

  • solar energy
  • solar LED parking lot lights 
  • rescheduling geothermal wells 
  • new lighting systems for those without remote controls.


The Office of Integrated Technologies has virtualized the college servers. Through this process 40 servers replaced 125 for a savings of about 54,000 kWH a year and a 300 percent increase in computing power. The data center now requires less cooling than before. The savings are further extended as the college is in the process of virtualizing desktop computers by replacing them with thin clients. This will save an additional 500,000 kWH a year and make computing at the college easier by increasing accessibility to software and providing security of information during a power loss. 

The technology team also worked with the director of facilities to install a separate high-efficiency cooling system for a new server room. This separate system will allow the server room to be cooled efficiently when the rest of the building is being heated. 

How Employees Can Help Conserve Energy

The facilities department and the Office of Integrated Technologies are working hard to reduce energy use and the carbon footprint at the college. The Environmental Sustainability Committee has developed energy conservation guildelines for building occupants that potentially could help reduce energy use by 10 percent. 

Guidelines for efficient energy use implemented by building occupants:

Heating and Cooling

  1. Office Thermostat Controls
    Optimum use of building heating and cooling systems includes operating with one consistent temperature across the entire building. If one area of the building is set at a different temperature than the other, both the heating and cooling systems will engage as the building tries to maintain different temperatures in different areas. Occupants of offices with thermostats should not adjust thermostat temperatures to be more or less than four degrees from the surrounding settings.
    1. In buildings at 1 Union Ave., 2 Union Ave., 28 Union Ave., 113 West Ave., and 111 West Ave., the temperature is controlled by the director of facilities to some extent. Thermostats in the office can be used to increase or decrease the temperature by four degrees.
    2. Occupants of 3 Union Ave. that have control over a thermostat should set the temperature between 68 and 72 degrees for heating months (beginning mid-October), and between 74 and 78 degrees during cooling months (beginning mid-April). If these temperatures are not providing a comfortable work environment, the director of facilities should be contacted before the thermostats are adjusted. 
    3. Occupants of leased buildings should set their thermostats between 68 and 72 degrees for heating months (beginning mid-October), and between 74 and 78 degrees during cooling months (beginning mid-April) if they have control over the settings. If the heating and cooling system is not providing a consistent temperature across the building, the director of real estate should be notified so that the landlord can be contacted.
  2. The use of space heaters is prohibited unless authorized by the director of facilities and the director of safety.


  1. All desktop users should set power-management settings so that computers, monitors and all other computing accessories enter hibernation or standby mode when unused for 15 minutes. 
  2. All electronics should be turned off every evening.
  3. All electronics purchased must be Energy Star-rated according to NYS Executive Order 111.

Windows and Doors

  1. During the heating season (mid-October to mid-April), building occupants should keep blinds, drapes and curtains open to allow for natural warming of the space by the sun.
  2. During the cooling season (mid-April to mid-October) building occupants should close blinds, drapes and curtains to block direct sun.
  3. Windows should remain closed at all times.
  4. Doors to offices should remain open whenever possible. The building heating and cooling system is regulated by sensing air flow throughout the building. The greater the flow of air between offices, the better the system works. Open doors are especially important in areas where common spaces, such as halls and sitting areas, do not have their own heat source.


  1. Building occupants should rely on energy-efficient, overhead fluorescent lighting.
  2. When more light is needed, or when overhead fluorescent lighting is excessive, occupants should try task-lighting at the point of use.
  3. All unneeded lights should be turned off, including in common spaces such as workrooms, conference rooms and storage areas. The light can be turned on again if the room is used.
  4. Halogen lamps should never be used.
  5. Decorative lighting should not be used.
  6. Sufficient daylight may make electric lighting unnecessary.
  7. In rooms without motion sensors, individuals are expected to turn off lights when exiting rooms that are no longer occupied when leaving the workspace for more than 20 minutes and at the end of each day. Occupants of rooms that are equipped with motion sensors are encouraged to turn off lights when they leave the room, as sensors may keep the room lit for an extended period of time before automatically shutting off the light. The large round button above the motion sensor can be used to turn lights on and off. The switch next to the sensor should always be left in the “on” position.   

Other Items that Add to Plug Load

  1. Equipment that is not in use should be turned off or unplugged. This includes coffeemakers, shredders, battery chargers, laptops and computer monitors (especially if there are two on one desk). Coffeemakers and water filters that keep water warm all day can be put on a timer to shut off after working hours and turn on again before occupants return to work.
  2. Personal refrigerators and microwaves are not allowed.
  3. Décor items that require energy, such as clocks, fountains, lights or signs, should not be used.