Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CSEA Does its Part for Campus Sustainability

SUNY Canton’s CSEA (Civil Service Employees Union) Local 603 is doing its part for campus sustainability through the purchase of energy efficient Energy Star appliances for employee break rooms. According to union President Joe Kelly the new equipment arrived during the Fall 2009 semester, and included eight refrigerators and nine microwave ovens.

The French Hall employee lounge has a new 21 cubic feet refrigerator, a 4.5 cubic feet refrigerator, and a microwave oven. Meanwhile the staff room in Cooper Service Building has a 21 cubic foot refrigerator and 2 microwave ovens.

The Campus Center, and the employee break rooms in the four residence halls have new 4.5 cubic feet refrigerators and new microwave ovens. The Wicks Hall break room also has a new microwave oven.

Older equipment can be very inefficient so the purchase of 17 new appliances by CSEA is another step in a larger campus-wide effort to conserve energy. Thanks to the members of CSEA for their contribution to this effort.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Green Pages Update

SUNY Canton Green Pages are off to a strong start in the first six weeks of existence. Through September 30th there were over 2000 visits to the Green Pages, despite the fact that the direct link from the SUNY Canton Home Page was temporarily replaced by the swine flu alert during early September.

Many people were unaware of various efforts to make the campus more sustainable, and the Green Pages were created to get the word out on all that was being done. Information is being added and updated regularly. Since their inception, new links for campus recycling, the draft State Energy Master Plan, utility usage data, and the campus environmental club have been included. Please send any ideas to

Sustainability Resources Fund Started

As part of SUNY Canton’s commitment to becoming a more sustainable institution we are pleased to announce the creation of a Sustainability Resources Fund as part of the Canton College Foundation. Associate Director of Advancement Julie Parkman and Sustainability Coordinator Doug Welch recently made a joint announcement to the campus community. Donations will be used to advance campus sustainability projects.

SUNY Canton employees interested in contributing to this new fund can do so either through a payroll deduction, or a one-time donation. Forms for starting a payroll deduction can be obtained from the Canton College Foundation office. SUNY Canton alumni and community members interested in contributing can do so as well. Please include “sustainability” on the memo line when writing a check.

Thank you very much for your interest in this new endeavor.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Zero-Sort Recycling

This is a reprint of information shared with faculty and staff in a slightly different format & venue earlier this semester.

To increase our recycling effort at SUNY Canton, this semester we will transition to “Zero Sort” recycling. All recyclable materials including cardboard, paper, plastic, glass and metal will be collected as a single stream and placed in a single collection container for removal by Casella. Casella is currently placing new “green” colored collection containers Zero-Sort Container near our buildings on campus labeled “Zero Sort”.

Similar “blue” colored collection containers will continue to be used for the purposes of collecting solid waste materials.

An initial order of desk side recycle containers and other miscellaneous recycle containers for public areas, etc. should be arriving in the next few weeks. The Physical Plant will deploy these containers as soon as received. All recyclable materials including cardboard, paper, plastic, glass and metal should be placed in these containers. Please be sure your bottles and cans are empty prior to recycling them. Solid waste materials should be placed in other waste receptacles located in areas common to offices, public areas, etc. Until new containers arrive, please collect your recyclables by whatever means you are currently using, cardboard box, etc.

To learn more about “Zero Sort” recycling visit

Thank you in advance for participating in this effort.

Michael R. McCormick
Director of Facilities

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New LED Bulbs a Breakthrough

Over the past few years we have cut our household electricity consumption by nearly 70%. By the end of 2008 I was feeling as if we had hit a wall. For the previous year our monthly usage had fluctuated within a narrow range around 150 kwh per month.

Then in early January 2009 I heard about a new LED light bulb that is equivalent to a 40 watt bulb, uses 1.5 watts an hour, and cost ten dollars. While it sounds expensive, it is far cheaper than other LED bulbs. I went out and bought a few, using them selectively on the porch, in hallways, on the landing of the staircase, and in a computer/desk lamp. In some places such as the kitchen, baths and reading lamps we continue to use compact fluorescent bulbs or regular light bulbs.

The results have been impressive, cutting another 40 kwh per month from our home electric bill. The reason is that replacing a 15w compact fluorescent bulb with an LED means we are reducing our use by 90%. The bulbs are mercury-free and are available at Ace Hardware stores throughout the region.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Conservation is Cool!

One of the biggest misconceptions about conserving energy is that we would all end up sitting in the dark and cold. Not true. In the European Union per capita energy consumption is far less than North America, but the standard of living is about the same. While the excellent public transportation in Europe would account for some of this difference in energy use, it is not the whole story.
Conservation is a concrete action we can all take to shape our shared energy future in a positive way. Conservation means one less power plant to build and pay for, and fewer transmission lines through someone’s back yard who does not want them there. Conservation buys time to figure out energy alternatives, saves money, and partially insulates us from the vagaries of national and international energy markets.
So far from being a dirty word, conservation is our friend. In a time of energy uncertainty and financial crisis, here is something we can do, even as we embark another busy academic year here at SUNY Canton.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Campus Making Progress on Conserving Natural Gas and Electricity

Seeing campus energy use decline by 42% over the next few years may seem like a tall order, but measurable progress is being made. Recent data shows that SUNY Canton continues to reduce its use of electricity, natural gas and water according to figures tabulated by Pat Hanss, Assistant Facilities Program Coordinator. Electricity use dropped 9.35% over the past year. Campus electricity use actually grew between 01-02 and 04-05, but has dropped 16.6% over the past four years. In 2008-2009 SUNY Canton used 7193.5 megawatts of electricity.

Natural gas consumption for heating has seen a similar trend, declining about 8.4% over the past year. Total usage in 2008-2009 was 75,559 MCF of natural gas. After fluctuating in the early part of the decade, gas use is down 19.7% since the 04-05!

Water consumption has also dropped measurably in recent years—44% since 02-03. Figures over the past year have also been impressive. The campus used 1,722,000 fewer gallons of water in 2008-2009, or 9.4% less water than it did the preceding year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SUNY Canton Hosts State Energy Hearing

SUNY Canton hosted the first of several hearings on the proposed New York State Energy Plan on Tuesday August 18. Numerous regional officials and leaders spoke during a comment period that lasted over two hours. For more information see the Watertown Daily Times article by Elizabeth Graham at:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Suny Canton: Toward a More Sustainable Future

As another academic year starts, it is with a mixture of enthusiasm and gratitude that I approach my new duties as Sustainability Coordinator/Right to Know Officer. I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve the campus community in this new capacity. There is much to be done in making the campus more sustainable, but also a lot of interest and ideas. I am encouraged by the changes in the past year while I was on sabbatical such as the implementation of the Sustainability Task Force, two student recycling efforts, and the creation of the Sustainability Coordinator position. One of my projects since returning on July 1 has been working on creation of the campus Green Pages.
Through a number of Executive Orders from the Governor’s Office and SUNY Central policy statements, it is apparent that the goal is for the SUNY to become the Sustainable University of New York. In the weeks and months ahead we will see more changes in energy, recycling, purchasing, and other areas. SUNY Canton is being asked to reduce its energy use by about 40%
Despite, the current lull in regard to energy, there is a certain urgency to all this; the prospect of higher priced and/or scarce energy supplies. Last fall I was working with a consultant who told me, “In the past the assumption was that when energy prices went up they would come down again. Now, the assumption is that when energy prices go down, they will go up again.” Beyond our current financial challenges, those institutions and businesses that have taken sustainability seriously will be in the best position to continue carrying out their missions. It is important that SUNY Canton is one of those institutions.