Two Rochester universities win $1 million each in energy conservation contest

Two Rochester universities win $1 million each in energy conservation contest

Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester both won $1 million grants in a statewide college competition to develop energy saving and sustainability projects.

Suffolk County Community College on Long Island won the third prize offered in the Energy to Lead Competition, which is part of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s REV Campus Challenge.

Colleges were tasked with coming up with projects that would help meet Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s climate change goals for reducing greenhouse gases and moving to renewable energy resources, while also reducing energy demands.

“This is about sustainable campuses,” said Patrick O’Shei, director of market development at the New York Energy Research and Development Authority. “This is about curriculum and research.”

The three projects were:

  • A program to adjust ventilation in rooms in RIT’s Golisano Sustainability Institute so that they reflect the number of people in the rooms, factoring in peak usage data and saving energy. The program will be shared with Monroe Community College and other RIT buildings, and used to teach students in sustainability and building maintenance, said RIT President David Munson. Some of the cost savings will be used to encourage other sustainability projects by students and faculty, he said.
  • UR will construct a four-story building with a near-net zero use of energy, employing a new solar array on the campus and energy storage technology in the building. The building’s energy solar system will be replicable for use elsewhere, said Wendi Heinzelman, dean of UR’s Hajiim School of Engineering and Applied Science. She said the solar array will be built in 2019 to add to UR’s energy profile and the building is expected to be completed in 2020.
  • The Long Island community college will also build a net-zero building, the first in Suffolk County and on a State University of New York campus, said W. Troy Tucker, associate dean of sponsored programs at SCCC.

O’Shei said such competitions aren’t just about saving energy; they also boost the economy, provide incentives for new ways to learn, and engage both students and the community.

The three schools were selected from more than 30 participating colleges.

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