New York State’s higher education institutions represent a diverse network of two- and four-year, public and private colleges and universities. Institutions across the state are committed to growing their clean energy efforts, engaging their student body, and advancing sustainability on campus.
Roughly 55% of NYS institutions are members of NYSERDA’s REV Campus Challenge, a program designed to recognize and support clean energy efforts and sustainability goals. Members implement clean energy projects and principles on campus, in the classroom, and in surrounding communities.
ERS has been working with NYSERDA on the REV Campus Challenge since July 2018, providing outreach services to NYS higher education institutions. The outreach team helps members navigate NYSERDA’s portfolio of programs and leverage the many financial and technical resources available to them. The outreach team is growing the robust and engaged REV Campus Challenge member community, providing support, resources, and recognition to campuses and ultimately allowing each member to identify their own best path forward to meet their financial and energy goals.
REV Campus Challenge members represent the diversity of New York State and its higher education institutions. We’ve highlighted six members’ accomplishments and experiences with the REV Campus Challenge through “Member Spotlights.” You can view all of the Member Spotlights on NYSERDA’s website here.
For a small institution like Cazenovia College, the heart of a successful sustainability strategy lies with engaging and energizing the student body, campus community, and local entities and decision makers – bridging the gap from campus to community. Joining the REV Campus Challenge created opportunities to further campus conversation around energy efficiency, energy conservation, and clean energy principles, including how to integrate these principles into academic curriculum.
In April 2019, Colgate University was the first NYS college or university to achieve carbon neutrality, an effort first initiated after its presidential-appointed environmental council was formed in 2005. The university continues to look for ways to reduce on-campus emissions and meet new targets – including aspiring to become a zero-waste campus by 2025.
Funding from the REV Campus Challenge Technical Assistance for Roadmaps program allowed St. John’s University to develop an Energy Master Plan. The development of this plan helped to identify achievable projects and assisted with project prioritization. The plan has led to additional studies that explore ground-source heat pump and solar projects on campus, both of which have proposals underway through other NYSERDA programs.
SUNY Empire State College’s use of distance learning means lower greenhouse gas emissions for the college, but it also creates unique challenges in managing energy across leased spaces. SUNY Empire is focused on completing energy conservation projects, including extensive retro-commissioning and installing geothermal heat pumps, to achieve their energy reduction milestones.
The REV Campus Challenge supports SUNY Purchase’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by incorporating sustainability into all aspects of the college. The campus acts as a model to the community and other higher education institutions by showcasing their innovative initiatives, including a combined heat and power (CHP) system and energy storage demonstration in the physical education building.
SUNY University at Buffalo won one of the first REV Campus Challenge Energy to Lead Competition awards in 2016, allowing UB to implement its clean energy initiative known as “Localizing Buffalo’s Renewable Energy Future.” This ambitious initiative’s goal – a joint effort by UB, the City of Buffalo, Erie County, Buffalo State College, and SUNY Erie – is to bring 100 MW of renewable energy, mostly in the form of solar power, to Western New York.
The REV Campus Challenge team is here to answer your questions about NYSERDA’s programs and available resources. Contact us at REVCampusChallenge@nyserda.ny.gov.