Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.02
Liaison Beth Klein
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

State University of New York at Cortland
EN-11: Inter-Campus Collaboration

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.50 / 3.00 Beth Klein
Campus Sustainability Coordinato
Early Childhood Education
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution an active member of a national or international sustainability network?:

The name of the national or international sustainability network(s):

Second Nature

Is the institution an active member of a regional, state/provincial or local sustainability network?:

The name of the regional, state/provincial or local sustainability network(s):

The NY Coalition for Sustainability in Higher Education (NYCSHE) unites representatives of higher education and supporting organizations with a common interest to promote, sustain, and advocate for environmental, economic, and social responsibility as envisioned by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

SUNY Cortland is also a Steering Committee member of a recently formed consortium, 2017 New York Higher Education Large Scale Renewable Energy project consortium. This group of 26- colleges and universities from New York State are working to develop upwards of 150,000 MWhs of annual generating capacity in New York State. The consortium is in the process of finalizing consultant selection agreement with aspirations of developed projects generating by December 2020.

Has the institution presented at a sustainability conference during the previous year? :

A list or brief description of the conference(s) and presentation(s):

AASHE 2018 - Pittsburgh - Scaling up renewable energy beyond campus
Matthew Brubaker co-presented with Sarah Zemanick from Cornell University
The Paris Agreement (at the moment) represents civilizations best path forward for global action and accountability of our collective reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions. What happens when a significant player backs away? The “We are still in” movement has captured the attention of a broad coalition of parties committed to the Paris Agreement, specifically, the United States Climate Alliance. New York State is a committed member. New York State, also, has a large number of Colleges and Universities with firm commitments for Climate Action. Through grassroots networking and mutual goals, the New York Campuses Aggregate Renewable Energy Solutions (NYCARES) coalition is in the process of pooling our need and our resources for a large portion of New York State’s Commitment to supporting the Paris Agreement. This session will explore key milestones of developing the public / private partnership, garnering both internal and external institutional support, risk assessment, economies of scale beyond a single owner / buyer, and other legal / contractual aspects of Large Scale Renewable Energy (LSRE) development. Our coalition is building on examples beyond New York State in an effort to push the limits of what is accepted to what is expected of policy and governance for LSRE.

AASHE 2018 - Poster Session:
Alternative Transportation in the Rural Context
Poster presented by Matthew Brubaker

SUNY Cortland and other smaller comprehensive colleges function as economic drivers to the local economy, and especially in the case of smaller colleges located in more rural settings. In this context, what options do institutions have to leverage economic activity, encourage accessible alternative transportation, and reduce our carbon footprint while expanding our transportation options and increasing participation? SUNY Cortland was one of the first in the state system to offer a community bike program to encourage sharing and point to point use on campus. Like many campuses, we also offer Zipcar as a means to provide other options for those slightly longer trips where the campus bus loop does not go. As we investigate plans for future improvements to our internal operations and enhance economic partnerships, can we offer alternatives to enable increase use of electric vehicles, or potentially more common car-pool / van-pool options? How have other campuses facilitated the economic partnerships to benefit the broader community? Does size matter in this quest for enabling greater adoption of alternative modes of transit, as we move towards the post-carbon economy? Come share your experience in an open facilitated dialogue of case studies, mutual aspirations, and campus engagement.

AASHE 2018 - Poster Session:
Supporting Sustainability Education and Biodiversity Through Grounds Management
Poster presented by Dr. Beth Klein
For the last 3 years, AASHE Sustainable Campus Index has recognized SUNY Cortland as top performing in the grounds category. This poster will highlight the variety of methods we use to support sustainability education and biodiversity through management of our campus grounds. SUNY Cortland encompasses nearly 800 acres of land with nearly 600 dedicated and devoted for outdoor educational opportunities and the preservation of natural areas and biodiversity.
At our main campus, we have incorporated bioswales planted with native species, model gardens, and a growing edible forest and orchard based on permaculture principles. These efforts have resulted in not the marginalization of model gardens, or campus orchard efforts, but brought them directly to the center of campus where most students and staff cross daily.

New York State Green Building Conference - 2018
Innovative Sensor Application for Achieving Deep Energy Savings
Matthew Brubaker presented case study at SUNY Cortland, part of presentation by David Gordon of Green Building Partners.

Facility Managers and Designers face many challenges while bringing to bear the realities of Climate change concerns along with state sustainability mandated initiatives to reduce energy consumption. One of the largest yet relatively untapped opportunities to achieve energy reduction goals lies in the smart application of sensors. New sensor platforms and new wireless sensor solutions provide a “game changer” for achieving measurable, consistent, and significant load reductions in HVAC applications. Simply stated, the idea is to use energy only when it is needed, i.e. based on actual occupant demand. Specific applications include centralized demand control ventilation in academic buildings, “active sensing” in laboratories, and wireless energy management systems that deploy self-powered sensors in residential applications. As various codes and guidelines evolve, additional emphasis is placed on the embedded use of technology to achieve planned energy savings. Integrated with existing Building Automation Systems (BAS) or stand-alone BAS platforms, sensor applications have resulted in significant energy reductions – 30 to 50% - along with providing assurance for safety and indoor air quality. The presentation will provide a technical overview of sensor technologies and review the various implications for HVAC control applications. This technical overview will be largely supported by Department of Energy / Lawrence Berkley National Labs research and ASHRAE guidelines. To complement this research and industry experience, two case studies from SUNY campuses will provide a real-world glimpse of innovative sensor applications and their quantitative impacts. A better understanding of demand-based control strategies and the use of sensors will provide enhanced value for facility, energy and plant operations personnel who are looking to improve energy efficiency and move forward with achieving their energy efficiency and sustainability goals.

State of New York Sustainability Conference 2018
NYCSHE Annual Conference - Matthew Brubaker Co-Presented with Erik D. Eibert of the New School
Making it Work: The Drive for High Performance Buildings
Planning, designing, and operating high-performance buildings involves a process that requires goal setting, collaboration, newer technologies, and overcoming operational challenges among others. In this presentation, Erik and Matt will share specific stories from their campuses and their experiences that will be valuable to anyone trying to introduce or increase the number of high-performance buildings on campus.

Erik will discuss the 18-story LEED Gold University Center (built in 2014) that is the heart of The New School’s Manhattan campus and serves as a prime example of the university’s commitment to sustainability. The University Center has a number of unique features that make it energy and water efficient such as natural gas co-generation, ice storage cooling, enthalpy wheel heat recovery, water treatment plant, adaptive lighting, demand control ventilation, InnComm Dormitory Automation, breaker-level metering, and a green roof. The emphasis will not be on the features themselves (those are often cited), but rather the process undergone over the past four years to optimize and make these systems work. The New School has overcome operational challenges which have required a large degree of testing an analysis to achieve- and these may serve as valuable information for those considering such features on their own campuses.

Matt will focus on overall building performance and the key drivers that lower emissions. What goals were set early? What was determined later in the process? Is it a matter of offering more time to analyze and review sound engineering and design, or is it a matter of cost and timely execution of a set of plans? Can this be completed in the context of the lowest responsible bidder or do other delivery methods need to be employed? If whole buildings can’t be presented in the allowable time, specific components from renovation projects can be further explored which were essential drivers in lowering carbon emissions. These improvements may include: envelop improvements, ground source heat pump systems, or a mostly normal “off-the-shelf” renovation project that has all of the calculated emissions eliminated through a renewable energy development that off-sets the carbon emissions.

Has the institution submitted a case study during the previous year to a sustainability awards program that is inclusive of multiple campuses? :

A list or brief description of the awards program(s) and submission(s):

Has the institution had staff, students or faculty serving on a board or committee of a sustainability network or conference during the previous three years? :

A list or brief description of the board or committee appointment(s):

Yes - the State of New York Sustainability Conference, which is the annual conference for NYCSHE

Does the institution have an ongoing mentoring relationship with another institution through which it assists the institution with its sustainability reporting and/or the development of its sustainability program?:

A brief description of the mentoring relationship and activities:

Has the institution had staff, faculty, or students serving as peer reviewers of another institution’s sustainability data (e.g. GHG emissions or course inventory) and/or STARS submission during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the peer review activities:

Has the institution participated in other collaborative efforts around sustainability during the previous year, e.g. joint planning or resource sharing with other institutions? :

A brief description of other collaborative efforts around sustainability during the previous year:

SUNY Cortland actively participates in the SUNY Sustainability Coalition. This coalition mobilizes change through collective action and collaboration, in order to ensure sustainable, thriving campuses and communities throughout New York State. This body serves as the sustainability voice for the State University of New York. Further, it serves a state forum for sustainability initiatives, bringing together a broad spectrum of SUNY professionals to discuss issues critical to the acceleration, expansion, and adoption of sustainable initiatives around curriculum, operations, research, and engagement. November 14 and 15, 2017, SUNY Cortland hosted the 2017 State of New York Sustainability Conference.

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

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.