News Pulse - State University of New York at New Paltz

College to integrate green design in Student Union Building addition

The college recently applied for a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to fund energy saving measures on the new $10 million Student Union Building addition.

The grant would be in addition to a $179,241 incentive award from NYSERDA that the college received for a 2005 project that incorporated a high efficiency chiller in the SUB.

David Rooney, vice president of student affairs, said the college intends to utilize the award to invest in sustainable and green design for the SUB addition project.

"This award recognizes the efforts the college community continues to make toward utilizing energy efficient technology," he said. "And we will continue to make sustainable architecture and green design a priority in the SUB addition."

The additional NYSERDA grant could total as much as $500,000 and would be used to further implement green design practices into the SUB project, said Brian Obach, professor of sociology and chair of the college's Environmental Task Force. Obach has been instrumental in researching and pursuing the funding of methods that not only benefit the environment, but also the aesthetics of the building and economic factors related to its maintenance.

Adhering to U.S. Green Building Council standards and obtaining Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification would officially designate the SUB a green building, said Obach.

"This is absolutely the way to go," said John McEnrue, director of design and construction. "The project provides energy savings, helps the environment and saves the school money – how could anyone say no to that?"

There are a number of green design elements that can be incorporated into the project, said Obach, including passive and active solar power systems. As well as a geothermal heating and cooling system that Obach said is feasible because it relies on water and the College Pond is located next to the building. He added, however, that none of these approaches are set in stone.

"There are limitless possibilities that we need to explore," he said.

As part of the application process, NYSERDA representatives will visit the campus to determine what can be done. The college will also work with a LEED certified architect to determine the best methods for the project. Obach said the benefits of the program are that NYSERDA provides both guidance and funding.

MARCH 13, 2006
Volume 4, Issue 5

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