Sustainable CUNY                        Sustainable Times Newsletter  December 2010
As this nation's largest urban university, the City University of New York plays a transformational role in New York City's sustainable future with an educational footprint that spans 23 academic institutions and over half a million students, faculty and staff. Sustainable CUNY is leading CUNY's efforts through three key pillars: the CUNY Sustainability Project, city-wide Sustainable Energy Projects and CUNY SustainableWorks,  a  commercialization program for sustainable and clean technology.

CUNY Campus map
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SworksindexCUNY SustainableWorks News
CUNY to Begin Design Phase of CUNY SustainableWorks Commercialization Center
A Collaborative Path to Economic Development for NY Universities
Upstate-Downstate NY Energy Innovation Cluster Earns Early Success
National Wildlife Federation Features Sustainable CUNY's Green Gateways Program

energynewsSustainable Energy News
CUNY to Launch NYC Solar Map in April 2011
CUNY Helps NYC Aim Towards '100 Days of Solar'
CUNY Charts the Way for Solar Powered NYC Public Schools
CUNY Ramps up NYC Solar Empowerment Zones
CUNY Leads Unprecedented Collaboration at NYC DOB
Film Crew Highlights NYC Solar Efforts in Cross Country Webisodes 

index30in10CUNY Sustainability Project News
Update: '30 in 10' CUNY Sustainability Project
Funding Sustainability Projects
Paving the Parking Lot to Protect Paradise
Using Campus Initiatives to Catalyze a Just and Sustainable World
Reporting to the Governor: E04
Green Energy Training at CUNY
Sustainable Dining and Nutrition at LaGuardia
CCNY Gets Grant For Green Heating in Two Largest Buildings
QCC Plans to Solar Charge E-Vehicles
Sustainability Through Service Learning at QCC
York College Partners Up to Teach Urban Forestry
Food Service Vendor at Kingsborough Community College Rewards Students for Recycling
Sustainable Outreach and Education at LaGuardia
Food Composting at Lehman College
A Student Run Community Garden at the College of Staten Island

designphaseCUNY to Begin Design Phase of CUNY SustainableWorks Commercialization Center

Sworks BCC siteThe City University of New York CUNY has received $700,000 from a private foundation to begin the design phase of a 40,000 square foot commercialization center. "We are currently forming a design committee that will include leading architects and business partners as well as world renowned scientists to ensure that the facility will be designed and built as an 'intelligent' building," said Ron Spalter, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at CUNY. "New York's economy could benefit from a fast track commercialization center that is capable of demonstrating the use of best practices and state-of-the-art technologies not only in architectural design and building operations but in functionality for the innovators who need a place to protype, test and showcase their technologies." The Center, to be located on the Bronx Community College Campus, will be part of CUNY SustainableWorks, a high profile Sustainable CUNY commercialization program strategically designed to provide a pathway into the marketplace for new CUNY, city, state, national, and international smart, sustainable and clean technologies.

Sustainable CUNY has led the U.S. DOE Solar America City partnership since 2007 and launched CUNY SustainableWorks to help accelerate needed clean and sustainable technologies and services into the New York City marketplace. The program is administered through the CUNY Economic Development Corporation and is currently accepting applications for the program and its one million dollar technology investment fund and is headquartered at the CUNY SustainableWorks Collaboration Center located at the Borough of Manhattan Community College at 75 Park Place. More Information
SustainableWorks News Index

NYERICA Collaborative Path to Economic Development for NY Universities

Challenging economic times tend to put every dollar the government spends or invests on stimulating the economy, under the microscope. Funds for grants in particular now routinely require applicants to map out an expected end result in terms the general public can understand. How will this investment using tax payer dollars bring about new jobs, new technology or better health? Often applicants for research grants now need to show a path to commercialization: a blueprint for taking new innovations out of the lab and into mainstream America.

Competition for grants is always fierce, but recently the federal government raised the bar even more. The Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC) RFP wanted to see applications that included unparalleled collaboration from multiple parties. The process alone was not for the faint hearted, even among seasoned grant writers. The five part application included sections for the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) and Economic Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. The E-RIC goal was to create an Energy Hub intended to facilitate innovation and commercialization of technologies that improve the design of energy-efficiency building systems, with a solo award of $129.7 million dollars.

The New York E-RIC consortium included more than 100 partners from across the state. With Syracuse University (SU), CUNY, NYSTAR, and the Partnership for New York City leading the effort, this partnership represents a multitude of research institutions, local and state agencies, well-established networks of training and business centers, among others. Syracuse headed up the NYE-RIC effort and Sustainable CUNY was an active partner, taking the lead on the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) and Economic Development Administration (EDA) components of the NYE-RIC proposal. An unprecedented collaborative effort over many months led to strong partnership bonds across the state, as well as a greater awareness of what the consortium could accomplish for all of New York by working together. The end result was a 350 page strategic plan with a goal the general public could appreciate: an upstate-downstate network where public and private research leads to a streamlined track for new innovations aimed at improving the quality of where we live, work, and play - and just as important- the economic and workforce development supporting framework.

The news that the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster received the single award only mildly deterred the New York E-RIC. The collaborators went right back to work actively building a state-wide network and pursuing opportunities revealed during the proposal process. (see 
Early Success article) Tria Case, university director of sustainability for CUNY, says the EAA and EDA aspects of E-RIC were very much in line with the goals of CUNY's new commercialization program, CUNY SustainableWorks, which seeks to create pathways to the marketplace for sustainable and clean technology. Even before the E-RIC RFP was announced, Sustainable CUNY had identified the need for a clean-tech commercialization center, a place to both prototype and showcase new and emerging technologies. "E-RIC helped establish necessary relationships," explains Case. "Through collaboration we developed program language and have been able to identify goals and get through initial barriers to establish a clean energy pipeline that includes R&D and commercialization."

Similarly, in an interview with SU News, Syracuse University Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor asserts, "The process of assembling the NYE-RIC consortium has proven invaluable. We have forged new, cross-sector alliances spanning New York State that hold enormous promise for transforming the building innovation process and for setting a new precedent in Upstate-Downstate New York collaboration." Short of winning the federal grant, it is these partnerships and the lines of communication and collaboration that have opened across the state that are perhaps the most valuable result of the E-RIC process. Ed Bogucz, Executive Director, Syracuse Center of Excellence and Energy Systems says the major partners remain committed to collaboration because, as he describes, life after E-RIC is "an opportunity too promising to stop."
SustainableWorks News Index

earlysuccess Upstate-Downstate NY Energy Innovation Cluster Earns Early Success

While applying for one of the largest Federal grants in history, universities and their partners across New York State established the New York Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (NYE-RIC). Rejecting traditional rivalries that have often stymied collaboration, they established an upstate-downstate network where emerging technology had a streamlined track to commercialization, especially into the vast New York City market with its international ties. Having established an extensive strategic plan and strong partnership bonds, the City University of New York and Syracuse University, along with additional NYE-RIC partners, realized that the plan's potential impact on New York's economy was too important to put on a shelf and pledged to forge ahead with the process.

In June, the NYE-RIC team convened a series of meetings aimed at taking emerging energy efficiency technologies invented and manufactured in New York State and installing them in New York City buildings. The team identified four new technologies from upstate companies ready to be deployed into New York City buildings. As part of the NYE-RIC effort, CUNY, through the CUNY SustainableWorks commercialization program, hosted a meeting of technology experts, building owners, venture capitalists, architecture/engineering firms, utilities, bankers and workforce. The purpose of the meeting was to test out a pilot deployment of new technology into New York City and drive investment into the companies. Four companies presented. One of several success stories follows:

NuClimate manufactures a chilled beam air handling system in Syracuse, New York, a system that is 10% cheaper to install than existing systems and results in 20% to 50% energy savings depending on what system they are compared to. As a direct result of the meetings with NYE-RIC partners, NuClimate has sold its product to the New York City school system and anticipates additional sales. NuClimate is in active discussions with a private equity investment firm and New York City labor leaders to increase its penetration of the New York City market. SustainableWorks News Index

greengatewaysNational Wildlife Federation Features Sustainable CUNY's Green Gateways Program
Green Gateways photo
Green Gateways Internship Program

Across the country many have sought to address the disconnect between green training programs, efficiency goals and actual new jobs. As one of the larger green energy training programs, Green Energy Training @ CUNY, Sustainable CUNY created the Green Gateways internship program that was recently featured as a case study by the National Wildlife Federation. Green Gateways utilizes a three pronged approach by working simultaneously with GET@CUNY BPI graduates (interns), NYSERDA contractors and homeowners & community groups. Green Gateways staff provides information and guidance to homeowners and community based organizations on incentive programs and low-cost financial options for pursuing energy efficient home improvements, subsequently identifying interested homeowners. The staff pairs GET@BPI graduates with interested certified contractors who conduct the audits for the pre-screened homeowners, which then creates work orders. Thus far in the pilot program there have been eight internships: three are still in the internship, 2 interns were hired, one strengthened his skills as an independent contractor and 2 found jobs in other arenas. In effect Green Gateways 'grew a green job' while increasing energy efficiency in NYC homes. SustainableWorks News Index

solarmapupdateCUNY to Launch NYC Solar Map in April 2011

The New York City Solar Map is now in beta testing and on track to go live to the public in April 2011, one year after the Sanborn Map Company flew planes over the five boroughs to gather Light Detection Ranging (LiDAR) data. The NYC Solar America City Partnership, led by Sustainable CUNY, is comprised of the Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the City University of New York. The Partnership recently secured $1M in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to support the NYC Smart Solar City Initiatives, that includes the Solar Map. NYSERDA and the City provided additional funding.
Preview NYC solar map
The NYC Solar Map will help City Planners, Con Edison and Consumers
The LiDAR data provides granular spatial information that is detailed enough to identify the location of a garbage can on a rooftop. The Solar Map, with LiDAR data as a backbone, will provide an estimate of the solar energy potential of every building in the city.

Solar maps have recently been  featured on the U.S. Department of Energy  news site ( Solar Maps Help Foster Sustainable Cities)  and are becoming an increasingly useful tool for public education. Several other cities in the US DOE's "Solar America Cities" initiative (including San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Portland, and Boston), have created their own maps. New York City's map, the largest and most complex ever attempted, will serve two purposes: a public education and informational tool and a source of information on solar potential for Con Edison, who can use the data to target locations for solar on its electrical networks.

PV system owners help NYC go solar by adding your system to the map. Contact us

The Center for Analysis and Research of Information (CARSI) at Hunter College is developing the map as part of CUNY's work funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Solar America Cities initiative. The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) is providing technical assistance as part of the DOE grant. Energy News Index

solar100daysCUNY Helps NYC Aim Towards '100 Days of Solar'

The cost of solar equipment has been dropping significantly - which is good news for New York City's solar market. The flip side of this statistic, however, is that administrative costs (permitting, inspections, and application fees) are growing as a percentage of total system cost.
The complicated solar permitting process in New York City continues to be a barrier, even as the current mix of incentives is bolstering market growth. A streamlined and consistent solar installation approval process may be the single most important aspect of the future of New York City solar, according to a 2010 survey of NYC Solar Installers conducted by  CUNY's NYC Solar Ombudsman, Noah Ginsburg. This is no simple task - the process involves several agencies and systems must comply with complicated building, electrical, and fire codes, in addition to zoning and landmarks regulations. Simply identifying the steps in the process is a challenge, and may change from day to day. The timeframe for a solar installation from start to finish can approach a year.

100 days of solarCon Edison's "100 Days of Solar" initiative, which began in the spring of 2010, is trying to cut that timeline down to, as the title indicates, 100 days from the time your project starts until you are generating your own solar power. As a partner in this project, the NYC Solar America City Partnership has been working with Con Edison, Department of Buildings, NYSERDA, and the Fire Department to improve inter-agency communication, reduce paperwork, and identify long-term solutions to a more effective process. A key part of this project is the development of a prototype web-based tool that will allow relevant agencies to virtually track the progress of each installation, as well as create more transparency and clarity for end-users. Procemx was brought in by Con Edison to develop the management prototype, if successful, the "100 Days" stakeholders will seek to identify funding for implementation. For more information, please contact Energy News Index

solarschoolsCUNY Charts the Way for Solar Powered NYC Public Schools
solar pathfinder
Solar Pathfinder

Navigating through the bustling halls of a NYC public school has become a commonplace experience for staff  from Sustainable CUNY, which houses the NYC Solar Coordinator and three NYC Solar Ombudsman. 

This fall, Sustainable CUNY, in collaboration with the City and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), partnered with several city agencies (including the Department of Education) to conduct solar PV site assessments for their facilities located in the Solar Empowerment Zones. In 2009, NYPA announced a 100 megawatt (MW) statewide solar initiative for public-sector facilities, with the goal of installing 15 MW in NYC. Conducting site visits and gathering detailed site information increases the likelihood that these projects will be developed under NYPA's statewide solar initiative.

Sustainable CUNY partnered with the NYC Department of Education to complete site assessments for several NYC public schools, which have a combined solar PV potential of more than 1.5 MW. In addition to the environmental and economic benefits of solar powered schools, the educational opportunities are unmatched! Onsite solar energy systems with data-monitoring can be integrated into interdisciplinary course curricula, exposing thousands of NYC public school students to the rapidly advancing field of renewable energy.  According to leading experts, renewable energy can serve as a powerful tool to catalyze student interest in the critical fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics . Energy News Index

zonesCUNY Ramps Up NYC Solar Empowerment Zones

SEZ- newThe NYC Solar America Cities Partnership is gearing-up to officially launch activities in the NYC Solar Empowerment Zones  in early 2011.

The Zones :
Staten Island East, Downtown Brooklyn, and Greenpoint-Gateway, are strategically selected geographical regions where solar power is most viable and beneficial from a technical standpoint.The NYC Solar America City team at CUNY will be reaching out to government officials, community groups, and the business community within the three SEZs and collaborate with local organizations to host a variety of events and seminars throughout 2011. The goal is to raise awareness on the benefits of 'going solar' in the Zones and help New Yorkers navigate the complex installation process.

In conjunction with these outreach efforts, the NYC Solar America City Partnership will be launching several innovative on-line initiatives leveraging the latest in new technologies. The Smart Solar City initiatives address social and institutional challenges, with a goal of large-scale solar implementation in the city. These initiatives include the creation of a NYC Solar Map (project available in the spring of 2011), an on-line engagement platform as well as social media campaigns on Facebook and twitter. Smart Solar City is the next evolution of solar implementation that will build stronger communities, leverage the latest in new web technologies, and connect the city as part of an integrated approach to a more energy secure future.

The Smart Solar City Initiatives are funded  by a U.S. DOE "Special Project" ARRA grant for Solar America Cities, along with support from NYSERDA. See the CUNY NYC Solar America City website for updates on our latest activities and the events schedule. Energy News Index  
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DOBCUNY Leads Unprecedented Collaboration With NYC DOB
Interagency Effort Aims to Streamline Permitting Process for Solar Energy

The New York City Department of Buildings (NYC DOB) now has a dedicated Solar Ombudsman on site two days a week as part of its ongoing commitment to integrate solar technology on the roof tops of New York City, this countrry's largest and tallest built environment.

!Installer Update: Click here for important information on DOB electrical inspections for the NYC Tax Abatement

Designated a Solar America City in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Energy, the NYC Solar America City Partnership (NYC SAC), led by Sustainable CUNY, is comprised of the City University of New York (CUNY), the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor's Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability. The partnership has been working together with key stake holders such as Con Edison, the NYC DOB, the New York Power Authority and NYSERDA to support large-scale solar energy market growth in NYC.
In 2010 the NYC SAC partnership won a second round of ARRA funding that included support for three full time solar ombudsmen who provide technical and logistical assistance to agencies, residents, community groups, and building owners and operators.  The ombudsmen also provide guidance navigating through the City, State & Federal incentive programs and paperwork that help make systems cost effective. NYC Solar Ombudsman Ryan Peck works closely with NYC DOB personnel to answer questions about the PV Property Tax Abatements and to streamline the application process. Energy News Index

 solarwebisodeFilm Crew Highlights NYC Solar Efforts in Cross Country Webisodes
Solar Generation webisode
Watch all 3 Solar Generation Webisodes

Award-winning director and producer Alan Blake traveled cross-country, from Massachusetts
to California, visiting the people who use solar power or work in the industry, including Tria Case, University Director of Sustainability and lead for the NYC Solar America City Partnership . The Solar Generation USA Road Trip campaign chronicles the three-week trip as a three-part online webisode series to educate the public on the benefits of solar energy. Webisode No. 1 focuses on the Northeast capturing smaller residential and commercial applications, from a boat marina, fire station and horse farm, to a New York City rooftop and the Crayola Crayon manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania. The second webisode captures installations in the Midwest including a zoo (with 'solar bears'), a gas station converted to a solar charging station for electric vehicles, the Ohio Governor's mansion and a solar manufacturing facility. The third and last webisode covers larger scale solar in the West including Denver International Airport, a Garbett Homes community with both solar water heating and solar electric as standard features, Colorado State University, the AT&T ballpark of the 2010 World Series champions, the San Francisco Giants, and a Napa Valley vineyard. Energy News Index

scuny30in10Update: '30 in 10' CUNY Sustainability Project

All 19 of CUNY's campuses have now completed an individual 10-year sustainability plan, containing a total of over 820 distinct goals, projects and best practices aimed at folding sustainability into the operations and educational programs of the university. Highlights from CUNY Sustainability Project Update December 2010.

Each plan includes an impressive range of projects in the seven pillar areas of energy, water, transportation, recycling, outreach and education, sustainable dining, and procurement.  Highlights include multiple measures to reduce energy consumption through facility and infrastructure upgrades and behavior changes, expanded recycling programs at every CUNY campus, and plans to more than double the number of degree-level courses relating to sustainability currently offered at CUNY. In addition, many of the goals and policy positions featured in the plans are shared by multiple campuses, presenting opportunities to collaborate across campuses in areas such as procurement, project funding and curriculum development.

Over 80 of the measures from the various plans have already been implemented or completed and many more are underway, with the focus for 2011 being continued implementation. Project News Index

fundingFunding Sustainability Projects

Working together, four CUNY colleges successfully secured a total of $614,000 in federal stimulus funding for energy efficiency projects in FY 2009-10, through state agency NYSERDA's Public Opportunity Notice 1613 (PON1613.) The funds, awarded over three rounds, were for a number of LED and lighting projects at Hunter College and Queensborough Community College, a chiller upgrade at LaGuardia Community College and a steam trap maintenance and replacement program at City College (details). At Queensborough Community College the funds will be used to replace existing 400-watt high-pressure sodium lamps at the Science and Medical Arts Buildings with long-lasting 28-watt LED lamps, which is expected to save an estimated $13,000 per year. All the colleges are currently working on implementing the projects with NYSERDA, which is administering a large part of the ARRA funding for such projects in New York State.

Winning proposals selected for PON 1613 funding across the state of New York typically met strict cost-to-energy-saved criteria and had a payback of 2 years or less, eliminating energy efficiency bids from Kingsborough Community College, Hostos Community College and City College, as well as a total of nine solar PV proposals from seven CUNY colleges.  However, the application process did help the colleges identify and outline these projects that are now ready to plug in to other grant applications or funding from other sources.
In addition, a further $240,000 was secured through a separate ARRA funding opportunity (PON0004) to perform energy audits at eight CUNY's senior college campuses. The audits were conducted by engineering consultants O'Brien & Gere and CDH Energy in partnership with CUNY's Department of Design, Construction & Management and reports of the findings are being finalized. Project News Index

ccnyheatCCNY Gets Grant For Green Heating in Two Largest Buildings

A $249,000 economic stimulus grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) will help make the heating systems for CCNY's two largest buildings greener.  The grant will pay 80 percent of the cost of replacing aging steam traps in Marshak Science Center and the North Academic Center (NAC), installing meters and training personnel to maintain and monitor the new system."This is the first recommendation from CCNY's campus sustainability plan to be implemented," said Holly Kallman, the College's sustainability coordinator.  "It was selected because it will yield the highest energy savings and is the most cost-effective to implement."  Ms. Kallman said the project is expected to reduce CCNY's energy consumption by 170,000 therms annually and its carbon dioxide emissions by 950 metric tons.  The project's cost equates to $172 per 10 million BTUs, which is significantly below the $900 threshold for funding set by NYSERDA, she added.  One therm is equivalent to 100,000 BTUs (British thermal units).

Approximately 115 steam traps are to be replaced in the two buildings, which have approximately 1.5 million square feet of gross space, combined.  The steam traps, some of which are more than 35 years old, trap heat energy and interrupt the heat transfer process, Ms. Kallman noted.  The work is expected to begin during the Spring 2011 semester, after the end of the heating season. The funds come from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) appropriations for energy efficiency projects.  NYSERDA administers the ARRA program for New York State.  Project News Index

pavingPaving the Parking Lot to Protect Paradise

Queensborough Community College has secured a $34,150 planning grant from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund/the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to improve stormwater management on campus.  The objective of the study is to investigate ways to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of stormwater entering nearby Little Neck Bay by installing permeable paving and other green infrastructure in one of the college's parking lots. The College's northern and western perimeters border Oakland Ravine, a tributary which feeds into nearby Oakland Lake and from there into Long Island Sound. Such improvements will eliminate or mitigate pollution and/or erosion from up to nearly one-half million gallons of storm water originating on campus parking lots each year. The project will explore paving, bioretention basins, rain gardens and other source control technologies to minimize the amount of runoff entering the ravine.

Concurrently, students in the Biological Sciences and Geology Department will monitor the volume and quality of storm water runoff from the College parking lots, and, using existing instructional resources, will take measurements of various pollutants in the samples.  "This is a great opportunity for Queensborough students to not only become involved in community-based projects, but also to gain practical experience in a rapidly growing area of employment," said Mary Bandziukas, who is coordinating the service learning component of the project.The project is the first of its kind at CUNY.

The college project was one of 38 proposals to receive funding totaling $6.8 million. The grant pools funds from the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and FedEx to restore and protect the Long Island Sound waterway. Project News Index

aasheUsing Campus Initiatives to Catalyze a Just and Sustainable World

In October Sustainable CUNY presented at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Education (AASHE) conference in Denver, Colorado, with the above title as the focus. AASHE's mission is to 'empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation' and has a member base of over 1091 U.S. Colleges. Keeping in mind the mission of the organization and the parallel to CUNY's own mission, Tria Case, Neil Richardson and Laurie Reilly led a panel presentation on: Leading the Way: How CUNY is Shaping Sustainability in  New York City  Over 2100 sustainability minded leaders were in attendance at the conference representing 500 colleges and ranging from graduate students and faculty to administrators and staff from 49 states and 10 countries. A wealth of information was presented over the three day conference through presentations, papers, posters, panels, workshops and meetings as well as keynote speakers such as Ed Begley Jr., Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker and Maggie Fox. Presentations and Materials   video

Numerous shared challenges to integrating sustainability were in evidence at the conference, including the tough economy, limited staff and resources and competition with other university priorities. However, CUNY has several distinct advantages when compared with some of the other colleges in attendance. While many started their sustainability movements through the diligence of a professor, a department or an environmental club, CUNY's efforts were led by Chancellor Matthew Goldstein when he accepted NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's '30 in 10' PlaNYC University Challenge in June of 2007. Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Allan Dobrin was asked to develop and monitor a 10 year plan "designed to ensure that CUNY will be a leader in the areas contained under the rubric of sustainability." A task force was promptly created, a University Director of Sustainability, Tria Case, was appointed and every campus charged with creating it's own unique plan. While CUNY's breadth and depth has its own challenges, having leadership from the top requesting the participation of virtually every department is clearly making a tremendous strategic difference when it comes to drafting, and implementing viable plans.  Deep ties to NYC's infrastructure and workforce also puts CUNY in a leadership position for not just Universities, but for urban environments as progress and lessons learned are shared with New York City agencies on a regular basis. Academic institutions often do operate like small cities and through lessons learned and best practices can lead the way to a sustainable future, beyond the universities walls. News Index

e04Reporting to the Governor: E04

CUNY submitted its second annual New York State mandated Executive Order #4 (EO4) report in November, detailing the university's efforts to reduce waste and increase recycling, green its procurement and implement measures to make its operations more sustainable. Progress from the first annual report includes an 8.5% decrease in the amount of overall waste generated by each individual at CUNY as a result of improved waste management practices, an increase in electricity purchased from clean, renewable sources to 20%, and a 30% increase in the amount of recycled content copy paper purchased by the university (and a corresponding fall in the purchase of virgin copy paper).

Further highlights from the report include numerous efforts to improve energy efficiency at CUNY facilities, measures to better inform the CUNY community of its sustainability efforts through meetings, public events, online portals and webinars, further initiatives to reduce paper waste, an increase in composting and green cleaning and the adoption of numerous 'green' purchasing policies for items such as computers, light bulbs and carpeting.

In the first annual report summarizing activity by all state agencies under EO4, CUNY was highlighted three times for its efforts to minimize its impact on the environment. This year's report was expanded to include details on activity to improve energy efficiency and water conservation, reduce paper & printing waste, lower vehicle emissions and adopt greener cleaning practices. News Index

GETGreen Energy Training at CUNY

Solar in the HarborNew GET@CUNY courses on multiple CUNY campuses are now open for registration.
Math/Electricity Basics for PV
BPI- Building Analyst
BPI- Building Envelope
Solar Thermal Design and Installation

Visit the Center for Sustainable Energy website for more information.
 Project News Index

dineatlagccSustainable Dining and Nutrition at LaGuardia
Anthony N. Lugo, Director, Campus Auxiliary Services & Sustainability

The sustainable nutrition pillar is directed at reducing green house gases (GHG) and improving the health and eating habits of students, staff and faculty.  To reduce GHG and advance wellness on campus, the Sustainability Council engaged the College's vending and food service vendors.  Vending machines typically remain on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, consuming energy by the minute.  All vending machines on campus - which total 35 - were thus removed and replaced by energy efficient machines, machines that power down when idle for long periods.  Machines also feature healthier choices that contain less fat, saturated fat and sugar.  Machines are stocked with options like trail mixes, fruits snacks, nutrition bars and vegetable chips, all marked by a 'fit pick' sticker.  The College's food service provider, for its part, added new menu options to advance nutrition and personal health.  The main cafeteria now offers fresh salads with your choice of toppings and vegetarian dishes, while the kiosks offer fruits, pasta salads, organic chips and coconut milk daily.  Offering healthier items empowers members of the College community to make better choices, choices that will contribute to better eating habits. Project News Index

qccsolarchargeQueensborough Community College Plans to Solar Charge E-Vehicles
Electric and plug-in hybrid electric engines are beginning to be used as alternatives to fossil fuel-powered vehicles.  One of the challenges to the widespread adoption of such vehicles is the lack of publicly accessible electric vehicle charging facilities.

QCC Charging stationQueensborough Community
College is developing a solar-enhanced electric vehicle charging station, which will be used to recharge its fleet of electric vehicles used by Buildings and Grounds personnel for maintenance as well as electric bicycles used by Public Safety officers to patrol the campus, and is seeking funding from National Grid to help support the station. The charging station also will utilize solar panels to convert light energy into electric energy and thus offset the cost of charging.  These panels will be mounted adjacent to the charging station and connected through interface circuitry to the utility power grid.  When an electric vehicle is connected to the charging station, power will be transferred from the power grid to charge the batteries in the electric vehicle.  A display will monitor the operation and allow for data recording.

In order to prepare students for new technologies and to address the types of jobs that the energy and transportation industries will be looking to fill, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology Department at Queensborough Community College has submitted a proposal to the National Science Foundation to develop a number of courses and course modules related to energy, power, alternative energy, and specifically electric vehicles. 
Project News Index

serviceqccSustainability Through Service Learning at QCC
By Dr. Simran Kaur Sehmi   
Earth Day QCC
Earth Day at Queensborough Community College

From our gas guzzling machines to our culture of "waste"; from our use of hairsprays to our relentless deforestation, our lives are littered with actions which, taken collectively, can be anathema to sustaining life on earth.
I wanted to know what incoming students in my non-major biology courses thought of all this.  Using the concept of a carbon footprint as a starting point, I restructured my course to include a form of experiential education, aimed at strengthening students' civic responsibility and engagement: "service learning". Since the course was writing-intensive, I assigned current topics related to global environmental issues that would expand students' research techniques while empowering them to deeper thought on our global crisis.
Beginning in fall 2008, the first writing intensive assignment on the carbon footprint concept was underway. The subsequent transition to service learning in the following semester (spring 2009) culminated in the compilation of an informational brochure, based on the previous semester's research and writing, describing the salient features of the carbon footprint concept. This was then distributed with great enthusiasm by my students on QCC's Earth Day celebrations in April 2009 and 2010.  This project was supported, in part, by National Grid.
This process has been repeated successfully every semester since, using new writing-intensive topics related to current environmental concerns including green rooftops, the water footprint concept, greenhouse gases, global warming, deforestation and flooding, and the urban heat island effect. Students' feedback seems to indicate their growing awareness and responsibility towards promoting a sustainable lifestyle.  Project News Index

yorktrees York College Partners Up to Teach Urban Forestry

York College recently collaborated with Cornell University's Cooperative Extension program,on tree identification and care. The York/Cornell collaboration came about when Dr. Cheryl Adams, a York College Biology professor, attended stewardship classes under the 1 Million Trees NYC program in spring 2010 and met Lorraine Brooks of Cornell's "Urban Environment" program. Brooks, an Extension educator and her colleague, Veronique Lambert, presented six workshops at York as part of Cornell's overall plan to increase awareness of urban forestry in New York City. The engaging workshops were attended by students, faculty and general members of the college and the Green Initiative Committee.

York is also evaluating Zip Cars to supply the college and external community's private transportation needs while providing a net benefit to the environment. Project News Index

pandaaFood Service Vendor at Kingsborough Community College Rewards Students for Recycling

Panda HouseThe college food service vendor for Kingsborough Community College, Panda House, is implementing significant changes and improvements in the service it provides in the coming year. Among them, a bottle return recycling machine that has been installed on the beach patio to accept deposit-required, plastic bottles such as water and soda bottles. The recycling machine will accept plastic bottles and issue a receipt which can be cashed or used in the U-cafeteria for purchases. Panda House, at its four campus locations, serves more than 10,000 people per day during the fall/spring semester.

William Keller, vice president for Finance and Administration for Kingsborough Community College was pleased to note that Panda House received an A grade from the New York City Department of Health, following its annual inspection. Project News Index

educationlagccSustainable Outreach and Education at LaGuardia
Anthony N. Lugo, Director, Auxiliary Services & Sustainability

Sustainable outreach and education involves engaging student groups, faculty, staff and community organizations to promote sustainability and raise awareness. The Council viewed LaGuardia's efforts to make its buildings more energy efficient as a learning tool for green jobs. This past April, the Council arranged for facilities personnel to take Professor Frank Wang and his physics students on a facilities tour. Making buildings and homes more energy efficient will support 7.9 million U.S. Jobs, 19,000 of those new jobs in NYC over the next four years, according to the US Green Building Council.[1] "The tour helps students apply what they learn in textbooks to how a boiler functions, for example," said Frank Wang, Physics and Engineering professor. This collaboration between faculty and staff showed physics students how through cost-effective initiatives like an new energy management system and low flow faucets, the College reduced energy consumption by over 1.2 million kilowatt hours and water usage by 4 million gallons. Retrofitting and renovating an existing building's infrastructure like electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems is costly - with the average return on investment between ten to twenty years.[2] "In the classroom, topics are mostly abstract, but the tours localized concepts, connecting what students learned to potential career objectives," added Professor Wang.While touring, students saw the College's HVAC system, chillers and boilers. Students asked questions, evaluated theories and confronted obstacles in real-time. "The better seasons are spring and fall because temperature is almost perfect so many days neither chiller nor boiler have to be turned on. That means saving money, less pollution (and) no allergies," offered Laura Sofia Silva Montoya, a student. Project News Index

[1] US Green Building Council Green Jobs Study, Booz, Allen & Hamilton, November 2009
[2] American School & University,

rocketFood Composting at Lehman College
Rocket Composter
Rocket Composter

Lehman has long been interested in composting food waste, but was very concerned that the food waste would attract wildlife and would generate unpleasant odors. Food preparation activities at the College generate approximately 120 pounds of compostable food scraps each day (approximately 18 tons per year). Food waste is disposed of along with the general trash. The recent purchase of an automated composter has made it possible to capture food waste that would normally be disposed of with the regular trash. The composter accelerates natural decomposition processes by regulating water content, exposure to air, and mechanical turning. It has the capacity to process a volume of 11.4 gallons of food waste per day, or approximately 57 pounds.

The composter, named "The RocketŪ" (Tidy Planet Ltd., Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK), is a cylindrical metal chamber having a central interior shaft equipped with a helical blade that rotates along with the shaft. Equal volumes of food-preparation scraps (vegetables peels, cores, stalks; animal-product scraps) and wood chips (serve as a bulking agent) are added to the composter. During the first few weeks of operation, newly-generated compost from Lehman's main compost pile is added to provide microorganisms until an ecosystem of decomposition within the chamber is established.Excess water can "drown" microorganisms and is slowly drained from the composting chamber via gravity. The shaft turns at hourly intervals, chopping up large pieces, exposing the mixture to air, and mixing the contents. In the first few weeks of operation, heat is applied until the decomposition process is established enough to produce its own heat. The temperature is maintained above 65°C for a minimum of 2 days to ensure the destruction of any harmful pathogens and weed seeds. From initial addition of food waste to the production of compost, the process takes approximately two weeks. Pre-processing food waste by grinding it into very small particles and removing water, a process called pulping, further accelerates the composting process and doubles the weight of food waste that can be processed by the composter. Lehman College has evaluated prototype pulping equipment earlier this year; the finalized pulping equipment will be put into service in December 2010.

Diverting organic materials from the solid waste stream and composting these materials instead is beneficial to the environment. Natural decomposition processes by microorganisms and facilitated by air, water, and temperature produce an environmentally valuable product - compost - that is used to replace depleted nutrients in soil, decreasing the need for artificial chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In addition, a significant component of waste is removed from landfills, an environment not conducive to natural decomposition processes.

Lehman's RocketŪ for composting food waste is the second in operation in New York City and the third in New York State. Project News Index

csigardenA Student Run Community Garden at the College of Staten Island
Erica Zito, CSI Student

In November of 2009 an idea sprung from the creative minds of several students at CUNY'S College of Staten Island; a student run community garden.  A proposal filled with the plans, goals and dreams for this garden was reviewed and welcomed by the colleges' Sustainability Committee, who provided the seed money. The intention for starting a community garden had been based upon achieving a more sustainable campus: locally grown organic produce was to be used at the college, reducing it's carbon foot print.  However, that was not the only intention, the students  wanted to help raise hope and awareness within the student body.
CSI GardenToday, the garden is a visually concrete statement that says change is possible, that its happening right here, right now, and that there are people out there who care.  It raises awareness of the true cost of produce that is not genetically modified or grown outside of the USA. The students wanted to let the whole College know that you can do it right in your own backyard! Being that we live in big old New York City it's often difficult to have a garden at home where a backyard might not exist or is covered with concrete. So we invite all of those who wish to grow fresh and organic produce to our garden. Here, in exchange for your time working the in community plot, we will build you your own very special plot where you will be able to start a garden of your own and reap all of its benefits. This past year the students at CSI had their first growing season and it was beyond expectation. Both community and volunteer plots flourished with a variety of lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, peppers, potatoes, eggplants, beans, squash, strawberries and even an 81.5lb pumpkin! All of this work could not have been accomplished without a wonderful team of volunteers, who we call the Green Thumbs. They poured their heart and soul in to making this garden and our community, grow. Special thanks to all the great people working in Buildings and Grounds and to everyone on the Sustainability Committee. You rock! Project News Index


Sustainable CUNY

Campus Sustainability Websites

Baruch College

Bronx Community College, Center for Sustainable Energy

Brooklyn College

City College of New York

College of Staten Island

Hunter College

John Jay College

LaGuardia Community College

Queens College

Queensborough Community College

York College

Sustainable CUNY

SCUNY ChairsTria Case
University Director of Sustainability

Will Cunningham
CUNY SustainableWorks Associate

Amy Flannery
Sustainability and Productivity Associate

Tom Flynn
Green Gateways Coordinator

Noah Ginsberg

NYC Solar Ombudsman

Tracy Handler

External Training, Intern Outreach

Rosanne Hoyem
NYC Solar Ombudsman

Alison Kling

NYC Solar Coordinator

Ryan Peck
NYC Solar Ombudsman

Kitty Preston
Environmental and Productivity Liaison

Jillian Puszykowski

Green Gateways Coordinator

Laurie Reilly

Neil Richardson
Project Manager