SRU's Strategic Plan: Trend Five recognizes that the world is reaching a point of diminishing returns regarding resource utilization, and includes specific goals and action steps we plan to take in order to prepare our students with the skills needed to excel in such a world.
Energy conservation remains one of the best options available to reduce our carbon footprint; energy conservation projects are generally very sustainable from an economic standpoint, creates local green jobs, and reduces our buildings' net energy loads (and therefore reduces the investments needed to transition to renewable energy power plant sources in the future).
In 2011, SRU formally adopted an Energy Conservation Policy which is reviewed and updated regularly; other ongoing initiatives to identify new ways to conserve our resources include the standing Energy Conservation Committee, the "Small steps. Big payoff." Energy Action Pledge campaign, and the Green Fund Grants program. The documents below provide additional resources of help to anyone working to save money on their utility bills, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and protect our environment.
Want more tips on conservation and sustainable living? Check out the EarthShare.org website!
Our Climate Action Plan also describes the substantial steps SRU has already taken to conserve energy and water, and the specific steps we plan to take to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2037.
The charts below show SRU's historic metrics used to monitor our progress in conserving energy and water use, as well as related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Metric #1: Energy Usage per Student-Year shows we have been reducing the amount of energy used each year on a "per student" basis:
Metric #2: Energy Usage in Btus per GSF-Year shows the annual energy used per gross square foot of floor area of our buildings. This metric is often referred to as the EUI, the Energy Use Index, and is the standard metric used to determine how energy efficient a particular building, or group of buildings, is. As shown below, SRU's building energy efficiency has been improving significantly over the past decade.
Because of the efforts SRU has made to increase its buildings' energy efficiency, our total energy consumption has decreased substantially, even though the size of our campus continues to expand: As one can see, SRU uses very little fuel oil for heating buildings, and the uptick in energy use in FY 2013 was primarily due to the addition of a large Student Center that includes energy-intensive kitchen/dining facilities and extended hours of operation.
As we move forward with our Climate Action Plan to achieve climate neutrality by the year 2037, we must remember that if we continue to increase our student body, increase the size of our building stock (and the amount of amenities provided in those facilities), we will have to adjust our Climate Action Plan to include even more ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions!