Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 63.76
Liaison Mark Youndt
Submission Date March 10, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Skidmore College
OP-6: Clean and Renewable Energy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.36 / 4.00 Levi Rogers
Director of Sustainability Programs and Assessment
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total energy consumption (all sources, excluding transportation fuels), performance year :
193,142 MMBtu

Total clean and renewable electricity generated on site during the performance year and for which the institution retains or has retired the associated environmental attributes:
8,424 MMBtu

A brief description of on-site renewable electricity generating devices :

Solar Photovoltaic- In 2014, Skidmore cut the ribbon on its 2-megawatt solar array located on College grounds about one mile from the main campus. The array consists of 6,950 ground-mounted panels that provide about 12% of the College's electricity needs. The project was made possible through a partnership with Dynamic Energy, Washington Gas, and funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Background on the solar project:
In 2012, two graduating seniors presented their capstone research project, Solar on Skidmore, prompting Skidmore to more seriously consider solar in its energy portfolio. In the same year, Governor Andrew Cuomo launched the New York Sun Initiative administered through New York State Energy Research and Development (NYSERDA) to expand solar installations in the state, and favorable remote net metering regulations further incentivized the development of renewable energy projects. With such timely and favorable opportunities, the College began pursuing photovoltaic solar energy. Dynamic Energy approached Skidmore College, and in collaboration with Washington Gas through a power purchase agreement (PPA), developed plans for a 2-megawatt solar array. Upon completion of the State Environmental Quality Review Act assessment, open community meetings, and planning board hearings, the College was approved to build what would be one of the largest solar arrays in the state.

Non-electric renewable energy generated on-site, performance year:
244 MMBtu

A brief description of on-site renewable non-electric energy devices:

The numbers reported above account for Skidmore's six solar thermal projects. We did not include our geothermal systems in our non-electric renewable energy numbers.

Solar Thermal:
Skidmore College has six solar thermal systems installed to support the domestic hot water needs of our campus. Penfield, McClellan, Kimball, and Wilmarth residence halls each have a 10-panel array that supplies about 30% of the domestic hot water needs for each building. Skidmore's Van Lennep Riding Center also has a 10-panel solar thermal array, supplying hot water at our horse stables located on Daniels Road.

Skidmore's sixth recent solar thermal project was made possible by a successful crowdfunding campaign that was launched by the Office of Advancement. The 54-panel array sits atop the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall and supplies the building with over 1000 gallons of hot water every day. This project was made possible thanks to generous donations from students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of the College, along with funding support from Skidmore College and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

About 40% of the campus is heated and cooled with geothermal energy. The Arthur Zankel Music Center, Filene Music Building, Saisselin Art Center, Northwoods and Sussman Village Apartments, the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall, Wiecking Hall, the Tang Teaching Museum, and the Dance Center utilize geothermal heating and cooling systems. These systems provide 100% of the cooling needs and about 70% of the heating needs of the apartments and Music Center and about 95% of the heating needs of the dining hall.

In 2012, Skidmore College won the Best Campus Sustainability Case Study Award from AASHE for our innovative district geothermal system. A district field is one that supplies heating and cooling energy to multiple buildings, unlike stand-alone systems that provide energy to a single building. Two district geothermal systems are operational, and a third district system was built to support an additional 10% of campus square footage. The College has 23 stand-alone systems supporting the buildings in the Northwoods and Sussman Apartment Villages and the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall.

The Arts Quad district system is an 84-bore geothermal field designed to heat and cool Zankel Music Theatre, Filene Hall, Saisselin Art Building, and the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater (178,300 square feet). Skidmore’s district design reduced the number of geothermal bores and total field loop size by 25% when compared to a stand-alone system. The buildings in the Arts Quad can also communicate to distribute surplus energy between buildings rather than pulling energy from the bore field.

In 2014, Skidmore installed its second district field under Wiecking Green. This 64-bore field supplies heating and cooling energy to Wiecking Hall, the Tang Teaching Museum, and our Dance Center. In 2016, the College completed the construction of our third district field. This 240-bore system is designed to support the heating and cooling needs of the Tisch Learning Center, Bolton Hall, Palamountain Hall, the Dana Science Center, and Skidmore's new Center for Integrated Sciences.

The Murray-Aikins Dining Hall and all 22 campus apartment buildings (over 200 individual apartments) are heated and cooled with stand-alone geothermal systems.

Total clean and renewable electricity generated by off-site projects that the institution catalyzed and for which the institution retains or has retired the associated environmental attributes, performance year:
8,707 MMBtu

A brief description of off-site, institution-catalyzed, renewable electricity generating devices:

In January 2013, a conversation between Skidmore's Director of Financial Planning & Budgeting at Skidmore College and a representative of Gravity Renewables (and alum of Skidmore) led to an opportunity at a historical small-hydro facility. The facility, originally built in the early 1800’s, sat on an existing fault line and waterfall in Stockport, NY. Years of inadequate funding, however, threatened the future of the historical site. In 2015, Skidmore College and Gravity Renewables finalized an agreement that would revitalize the historical dam and expand the College's renewable energy portfolio. We anticipate that this certified low-impact dam at Chittenden Falls will eventually generate about 18% of the College's electricity needs. The project was made possible through favorable new remote net metering legislation, and upon its completion, became the first remote net metered small-hydro project in the United States. The facility is located about one hour south of campus and includes a small classroom for the Skidmore community to use during class trips and tours.

This project truly exemplifies sustainability in that it simultaneously improves environmental, social, and economic well-being. This small-hydro facility takes advantage of a natural abutment, which means that there is very little risk to the surrounding natural and built environment and is a low-impact source of power. In addition, this facility provides important economic benefits to the Stockport community by increasing the town’s tax base and other local spending. This project also preserves a piece of our cultural heritage. There is an inter-generational pride associated with historic infrastructure like this, and there are many positive social benefits to keeping these facilities alive.

Total third-party certified RECs, GOs and/or similar renewable energy products (including renewable electricity purchased through a utility-provided certified green power option) purchased during the performance year:
0 MMBtu

A brief description of the RECs, GOs and/or similar renewable energy products, including contract timeframes:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Electricity use, by source (percentage of total, 0-100):
Percentage of total electricity use (0-100)
Biomass ---
Coal ---
Geothermal ---
Hydro 11
Natural gas ---
Nuclear ---
Solar photovoltaic 10
Wind ---
Other (please specify and explain below) ---

A brief description of other sources of electricity not specified above:

Energy used for heating buildings, by source::
Percentage of total energy used to heat buildings (0-100)
Biomass ---
Coal ---
Electricity ---
Fuel oil ---
Geothermal 40
Natural gas 60
Other (please specify and explain below) ---

A brief description of other sources of building heating not specified above:

Percentage of total energy consumption from clean and renewable sources:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.