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.