Energy Conservation at Lehman College
Every day activities like flicking on a light switch, making a pot of coffee, printing a report, turning on a fan, taking a shower, washing your hands, etc., uses energy in one form or another. And energy, in the form of electricity, hot water, heating or air conditioning is primarily generated using fossil fuels.
Implementing energy conservation programs at Lehman College began long before Mayor Bloomberg’s “30 in 10 Challenge” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% by 2017 or the Sustainable CUNY Program of 2007. In the early 1990’s before “sustainability” became a commonly used term for conservationism, Lehman College began implementing sustainable strategies, e.g., campus-wide lighting upgrades and installation of occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lights when a room is not in use.
As part of our commitment to conservation and reduction in energy use, we instituted an annual program to replace older, high energy use window air conditioning units with newer, energy star units. In 2001, we replaced 20-year-old chillers in the central chiller plant with new chillers, increasing efficiency and reducing energy usage. In addition, we expanded the Building Management System to all mechanical systems on campus for central control of temperature, night set-back of systems to turn mechanical systems on and off. We have replaced incandescent and less efficient, higher energy lights by using lamps (i.e., lightbulbs) with more efficient lower energy use compact fluorescent or LED lamps. All electronic equipment, including computers, printers, a/v equipment, copies, etc., are now energy star-rated. In addition, CRT screens were replaced with LCD monitors. We have recently completed a utility master plan and will soon begin design on a new central heating plant and an upgraded cooling plant that will incorporate new technologies and further reduce both energy use and carbon emissions. We anticipate reducing our carbon footprint over the next six years to a level that will meet or beat the Mayor’s challenge.