Sustainable Times Newsletter January 2010
| Sustainable CUNY |
The City University of New York (CUNY) is committed to integrating sustainability into the university and the surrounding metropolitan area through its policy work, curriculum, research, workforce development and economic development activity. Actions highlighted below are contributing to a more sustainable New York City and can serve as examples to other urban centers.
|NYC Receives DOE Funding for CUNY Led NYC Smart Solar City Project|
New York City was awarded over one million dollars in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) and NYSERDA to establish the 'NYC Smart Solar City' project. This successful award is the result of the ramping up of strategic solar planning by the NYC Solar America City Partnership (CUNY, NYC Mayor's Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability, and the NYC Economic Development Corporation). NYC Solar America City
The NYC Smart Solar City project will include NYC Solar Empowerment Zones, a NYC Solar Map and a Smart Solar City Data Acquisition System. This spring, Solar Empowerment Zones will be established across the five boroughs. The Zones are designed to increase outreach and education efforts around solar, to help Con Edison learn about the impact of high levels of solar on its grid and to research and pilot finance and policy models to encourage solar installations. An interactive Solar Map will be created that allows users to estimate the solar potential of any address in the city.
As a crucial step to streamlining and clarifying the process of integrating solar into a complex urban grid, a Smart Solar City Data Acquisition system will be developed that allows communication between the electric grid and distributed PV generation, increasing the ability of electric utility Con Edison to depend on solar as a peak generation source. U.S. DOE Announcement
|NYC Solar Thermal Program Launches|
The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), as part of it's participation and support of the NYC Solar America City Initiative, launched a Solar Thermal Pilot Program in October of 2009. This program will fund 30% of installed costs (up to $50,000) of solar thermal installations in New York City. NYCEDC will study the performance of the systems installed under this program to better understand the financial, technical and regulatory barriers that must be overcome to foster a sustainable and robust marketplace for solar thermal systems in New York City. Awardees, and a possible second round, will be announced in 2010. NYC Solar Thermal Program
|CUNY Project Included in NYC Smart Grid |
With one of the highest load densities in the world, New York City, its suburbs, and New Jersey represent the most intricate and diverse area for urban and suburban smart grid performance. Smart grid technologies will help consumers use energy more efficiently, support alternative energy sources, enable widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and enhance reliability to all customers including major medical facilities, transportation systems, financial institutions, and media centers.
The U.S. Department of Energy, through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, awarded Con Edison a total of $181 million in 2009. This funding will enable Con Edison to deploy and integrate smart grid technology into its network grid system. One of the innovations involves a distributed generation project with the City University of New York (CUNY) to study how a photovoltaic system with battery storage can be integrated into the New York City electric grid. Press Release
|NYC Receives New, Extended Solar Incentives |
The New York City solar community is set to benefit from national incentives as well as local solar incentives created in 2009. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funding extended federal tax credits for solar and also made the Investment Tax Credit available as a cash grant. Analysis by the NYC Solar America City team helped lead to a NYC property tax abatement for solar, the first in the country. NYC Tax Abatement FAQ The first application was filed in March of 2009, with an exponential increase expected in 2010.
|CUNY's New York City Solar Summit Sees Record Attendance|
CUNY and the NYC Solar America City Partnership reported on the progress of the NYC Solar America plan to a record-breaking 500 attendees at the 2009 Solar Summit. Presentations NYSERDA President Frank Murray was the morning keynote speaker: "The NYC grid is the largest and most complex in the country. CUNY is leading the technical challenge of creating the plan to integrate solar into NYC, and through its detailed analysis of the City's grid, CUNY and its NYC Solar America City partners have created a blueprint for implementing solar in urban America."
The U.S. DOE sponsored a photo display of NYC Solar Installations, and JoAnn Milliken, the Solar Program Manager for the U.S. Department of Energy, praised the City's efforts. "As a Solar America City, New York is tackling some of the more difficult challenges related to urban solar energy use, such as connecting solar systems to complex electric grids, and institutionalizing solar training programs. The Department of Energy is proud to support the city's efforts to make solar energy affordable and accessible to New Yorkers."
|Three New Important NYC Solar Reports |
The NYC Solar America Cities team released three publications in 2009, leading to better information on solar in emergency management, real-time pricing impacts on solar PV economics, and a detailed report on the challenges and solutions to connecting PV on Con Edison's network grid system.
- A highly anticipated report, "Interconnecting PV on New York City's Secondary Network Distribution System," was published on December 31, 2009. This report is the result of a yearlong collaboration between NREL, Con Edison, and the New York City Solar America Cities Partnership. This report describes the technical and administrative barriers as well as the potential solutions to interconnecting PV in New York City. This report will guide much of NYC's Solar Plan going forward and is a great resource for anyone who wants to better understand the Con Edison grid.
|Campus Sustainability Plans Take Shape|
The first quarter of 2010 will be a busy period for those involved in the Sustainability Task Force as CUNY's 19 campuses begin to submit their 10-Year Sustainability Plans in January and the campus energy audits and greenhouse gas inventories continue into the New Year. Medgar Evers College, Bronx Community College,York College, the College of Staten Island, Hostos Community College and Lehman College have already submitted the final drafts of their 10-year plans, with the remainder due on January 15th. The plans, which point the way forward for campus-led sustainability initiatives, include a wide array of energy-saving measures, such as projects to reduce, reuse or recycle waste; plans to reduce water consumption; plans to lower the number of cars coming onto campus; plans to procure more environmentally friendly products; and plans to engage students at all levels with sustainability through the curriculum, continuing education and events such as Earth Day. Once submitted to the Task Force, the campus plans will be subject to a review process, with the finalized documents consolidated into a CUNY-wide sustainability plan.
Energy audits at five of CUNY's colleges have taken place since June, and further audits are planned for the first few months of 2010. The audit team, which included the environmental engineering firm of O'Brien & Gere, worked with on-site facilities staff and student interns to analyze energy use on a campus-wide basis. The audit results included a list of recommended actions designed to reduce energy spending and lower emissions. These energy conservation measures, together with those proposed by the campuses in their 10-year plans, will be the centerpiece of CUNY's strategy to meet the university's 30% emissions reduction target by 2017 under Major Bloomberg's PlaNYC. In addition, CUNY's six community colleges will begin an inventory of their individual greenhouse gas emissions this semester, following on the inventory process already completed at the senior colleges in 2009. The inventory process, which measures both past and present emissions, will provide the Task Force with a complete picture of CUNY's emissions profile from 1992 onward.
|Internship Program Lends Support to Campus Sustainability Efforts|
As part of the CUNY Sustainability Project, a dozen interns have been assigned to 14 CUNY colleges since July. The Sustainable CUNY internship program was developed to assist the campuses' sustainability councils with development of their 10-year plans and implementation of projects that will advance sustainability practice and awareness on campus. The interns, all of whom were recruited from CUNY colleges, have provided the campuses with support, coordinating activities related to sustainability. This has included helping to research project proposals, collecting key baseline data, cataloging current practices, drafting sections of the campuses' 10-year plans, pursuing grant opportunities, developing designs for dedicated college sustainability web pages, devising recycling programs, introducing food waste composting, canvassing opinions about sustainability on campus, and reaching out to student groups. In the process, the interns have been able to experience first-hand the challenges and opportunities of implementing sustainable practices in a real-world setting.
Two additional interns have been working with the environmental engineering firm O'Brien & Gere on a series of campus energy audits at six CUNY campuses. These interns, both engineering students at the New York City College of Technology, have helped measure and analyze energy use at each site as well as identify opportunities for energy conservation. The remaining interns are set to continue assisting the Sustainability Task Force, and there are plans to develop and expand the program further in 2010. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
|CUNY Seeks to Become NYC Leader in Generating Solar Power|
In a move that could make CUNY the single largest host of site-generated solar power in New York City, CUNY collaborated across multiple campuses in November to submit a proposal to secure funding for 380kW of roof-mounted solar PV projects. Responding to a funding opportunity through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), seven CUNY colleges put forward a total of nine projects worth over $3.1 million and ranging in size from 10kW to 50kW.
The nine PV projects, which will be evaluated on an individual basis by state energy authority NYSERDA, drew on the full strength of the CUNY Task Force on Sustainability. Staff from the seven colleges' Sustainability Councils and facilities departments partnered with the Department of Design, Construction and Management, the Solar America Cities NYC Team and the Sustainable CUNY Project Team to select the sites, evaluate their potential and prepare the bids. Additional technical support was also provided by energy services company Johnson Controls Incorporated.
The seven colleges that took part in the solar proposal were Bronx Community College, the College of Staten Island, Hostos Community College, Hunter College, Kingsborough Community College, Queens College and York College. Queens College and Bronx Community College each submitted two bids and, in an effort to strengthen the proposal, all seven colleges committed a 5% cost-share toward the cost of their project(s).
Should the CUNY bid be successful, this will raise CUNY's solar footprint to a total of 780kW, effectively adding nearly 25% more solar PV capacity to New York City's existing 3MW of solar power. Separate plans to install 300kW of solar PV at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and 100kW of dispatchable PV at LaGuardia Community College have already been approved and are at the design stage. An announcement by NYSERDA on the funding awards is expected in late January 2010.
|Green Energy Training at CUNY|
The City University of New York historically has trained the workers that keep New York City running. Coordinated through the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), Green Energy Training at CUNY (GET@CUNY) is now training the green collar workers who can help keep the city running efficiently and on renewable energy. The GET@CUNY program offers nationally recognized training and
certifications and in 2009 provided clean energy training to over 900
Courses and workshops include training for Photovoltaic Installation, Solar Thermal Installation, Building Performance Institute Certifications in Building Envelope and Building Analyst, Air Sealing/Insulation Installation, Home Energy Auditor Technician, GeoThermal, Selling Solar, Streamlining Solar, RetScreen training and more. Register here. GET@CUNY training locations include Bronx Community College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Kingsborough Community College, LaGuardia Community College, Medgar Evers College and New York City College of Technology. Bronx Community College is the home of CUNY's hands-on Clean Energy Training Lab, the first in New York City.
Two more CUNY clean energy training labs are in the planning for 2010, as well as Access GET@CUNY, a new program designed to provide wrap-around services and internships for the underserved and unemployed population.
|Webinar Series Helps Shape Sustainability Plans for 2010|
Over 400 staff, faculty and students from across CUNY took part in a series of 21 webinars during 2009. The webinars were aimed at widening the conversation about sustainability and providing a platform for an exchange of ideas and experiences amongst CUNY's colleges.
Addressing a range of themes including renewable energy, recycling, composting, green roofs, bike-sharing, sustainable dining, green procurement, water conservation, education, and the curriculum, the webinars were intended to inform the development and drafting of each CUNY college's 10-Year Sustainability Plan. The webinar sessions also shed light on many shared issues and interests, some of which will form the basis of initiatives that will feature prominently in 2010.
Held weekly through the Spring and Fall semesters, some 200 unique individuals took part in the sessions. These included representatives from CUNY's 19 campus Sustainability Councils, specialists and experts from across the university, and external guest speakers and presenters. The 2009 webinar series has been archived and is available for download from the Sustainable CUNY Sharepoint portal, accessible to all members of the CUNY Task Force on Sustainability.
|Over 15,000 Respond to CUNY Commuting Survey|
A survey to determine the commuting behavior of the entire CUNY citizenry was launched this fall, with over 15,000 unique responses registered thus far. The survey, designed to monitor how CUNY's students, faculty and staff travel to and from CUNY locations, was issued electronically. Information gathered from the survey could lead to the development of transportation policies and initiatives that improve the speed, comfort and greenhouse gas emissions of the half a million people who commute to CUNY premises every day. Response rates so far have varied from college to college, and it is likely that the survey will be re-issued at a number of campuses early in the New Year to ensure a representative sample of respondents is achieved. A full report on the survey's findings will follow later in 2010.
|CUNY EO4 Report Sets the Bar High for Recycling|
Executive Order #4, issued by Governor Paterson, mandates that all state institutions green their procurement and implement measures that minimize their impact on the environment. CUNY's Executive Order #4 report shows that the university currently recycles over 30% of its waste by weight and is actively pursuing policies and practices intended to reduce or reuse the waste generated in its day-to-day operations.
In addition to items more readily associated with recycling, such as cans, bottles, cardboard and paper, CUNY also recycles its electronic waste, batteries, tires, construction debris, motor oil, scrap metal and glass. Numerous colleges also recycle the cooking oil from their dining services; reuse furniture, boxes, office equipment, packaging materials and toner cartridges; compost food and yard waste; and make use of green cleaning products.
The report, submitted in August 2009, also found that CUNY purchased nearly seven times more recycled content copy paper in fiscal year 08-09 then it did traditional virgin copy paper. In an effort to cut down on the use of paper, all CUNY colleges are currently implementing measures to reduce the use of paper by their students, faculty and staff. Purchasing, Environmental Health & Safety, and Building and Grounds staff from each CUNY college assisted in the preparation of the report, as did the Sustainability Councils of all 19 campuses and staff from the Central Office.
Sustainable CUNY Tria Case
University Director of Sustainability
NYC Solar Coordinator
Environmental and Productivity Liaison
Sustainability and Productivity Associate
External Training, Intern Outreach
Angelo Bucolo,Simone Herbin, Priscilla Posada, Prashant Sharma, Daniel Strong, Ray Wong,
Othalia Doe-Bruce, Ed Hernandez, Piotr Kocik, Noah Landes, Julita Mienko