Energy Waste Reduction Program

Suffolk County Community College

Project Overview

Since its inception in August of 2014, Suffolk County Community College’s Energy Waste Reduction Program has saved over 4.9 million dollars in unnecessary utility expenditure. We would like to propose consideration of this innovative initiative for the AASHE Campus Sustainability Achievement award. This application features work that has been completed over the past five years, and serves as an executive capstone as we close out the first phase of the Energy Waste Reduction Program.
As a large institution with an aging and growing infrastructure, energy costs are a significant component of our annual operating budget – nearly $5.4 million dollars in the 2013/14 base year, a line item second only to payroll in its financial impact. Previously, aside from adhering to generally accepted best practices in our building construction and operation, energy costs were largely considered an inscrutable albeit vital cost center. Through the implementation of this program, we are now actively managing energy consumption, giving us not only dramatic savings (and corresponding reduction in our institutional environmental impact), but a means of analyzing, modeling, and forecasting what our cost of energy will be in the future. Reducing expenditures on utilities frees up budgetary resources for greater investment in our students, and allows us to maintain an extremely competitive tuition rate for the Long Island region.


Founded in 1959, Suffolk County Community College is located on Long Island, New York. It is the largest community college in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, serving over 26,000 students across its three campuses and two extension sites, with 1.3 million gross building square footage. In 2009, the assigned team established The Regional Sustainability Initiative Consortium (RSIC) to foster a college-wide dialogue regarding the importance of creating a “green” college. That Initiative’s charges included: • Investigation into the current state of sustainability efforts being initiated on each campus including: classroom, laboratories, plant maintenance, fleet management, energy resources management • Determination of the impact these renewable efforts have on our students, faculty, staff and community we serve. • Development of goals and objectives to enhance the overall position of the college as a “green” community leader.

In 2014, the position of Executive Director of Sustainability Programs was created by the College to focus on Sustainability and Energy. In July of 2014, the SCCC Board of Directors signed a contract with Cenergistic, a national leader in behavior based energy conservation projects, to begin Suffolk’s Energy Waste Reduction Program. It was initiated in August, 2014, using baseline consumption data for the prior twelve months. It involved the hiring of two full time Energy Specialists who are primarily responsible for implementation and ongoing program management. The contract was signed for five years, with an additional year period designed for installation and preparation, we are approaching the fifth year of the contact and look to continue our conservation efforts well beyond its expiration.


Through the implementation of this program and partnership with Cenergistic, the College aims to increase energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the reduction of our impact on the environment, particularly in light of rising utility costs and increasing budgetary constraints. The goal of the program is to reduce energy consumption at the College by 25%. An associated objective is to reinvest a portion of the money into fixing equipment and controls, as well as other energy conservation methods, such as renewables.

Another component of the program is to develop energy industry partnerships and modeling our operational programs as an exemplar for students, staff and our local community. Whenever possible we seek to engage students to assist in our programs and share the messages with the college and local community.


This program is a behavior based energy conservation program. Through a partnership with Cenergistic, the college was able to quickly implement an energy conservation program. It involved the hiring of two full time Energy Specialists whom are supported in this effort by technical resources and consulting from Cenergistic and the college’s Program Liaison who coordinates and oversees activity. The program has a clear set of guidelines for implementation that were approved by the Board of Trustees and adopted by the college, as outlined below:

• Regulating temperature set points to meet the following : Occupied Cooling : 74 -78 degrees Occupied Heating : 68 -70 degrees Unoccupied Cooling: 85 degrees Unoccupied Heating 55 degrees

To ensure the success of the College’s behavior-based Energy Conservation Program, the following areas are emphasized:

• A designated campus administrator will be accountable for energy conservation on his/her campus, along with the Energy Specialists who will, among other things, conduct energy audits and provide timely feedback for evaluation and analysis. • All personnel at each campus are expected to make a positive contribution to maximize energy conservation and produce energy savings. • Accurate records of energy consumption and costs for each campus will be maintained by the Energy Specialists in order to provide verifiable performance results on the goals and progress of the Energy Conservation Program. • To promote a safe, healthy learning environment and to complement the Energy Conservation Program, each campus shall review and adhere to the preventive maintenance and monitoring plan administered by the campus physical plant for its facilities and systems, including heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems (HVAC), building envelope, and moisture management.

In addition , the Energy Specialists perform routine occupied and unoccupied building audits of 50 buildings, adjusting set points to manage the program guidelines when needed. They review building schedules and set HVAC equipment to match building use, which allows us to take advantage of college breaks to increase energy conservation savings. The energy specialists are also responsible for providing the College with recommendations if they analyze a trend equipment is not responding correctly. They also provide recommendations on other energy conservation enhancements. To further enhance the energy waste reduction program, the college also looked at solar generation, green buildings, energy retrofits and green roofs as methods to reduce our footprint.

Energy Savings Retrofits. To help reduce energy use, the college installed more efficient boilers/chillers, building management systems, variable frequency drives, occupancy controlled lighting, vending machine controls, and demand controlled ventilation.
Solar Generation: The college has 3 rooftop solar installations, which total 143.38 MWh per annum.
Buildings: Five College Buildings were built to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Standard. The Renewable Energy and STEM Center is being designed as LEED Platinum, and as a Net-Zero Energy Building o Learning Resource Center (Submitted for LEED Gold certification) o Lindsay Life Sciences Building (Submitted for LEED Gold certification) o Montaukett Building (Submitted for LEED Gold certification) o Sports and Wellness Center (Built to LEED Gold standard) o Renewable Energy and STEM Center (In planning stage as a LEED Platinum building and net zero energy building) o Workforce Development Building (Awarded LEED Gold certification) Green Roofs. The campus has one green roof and one more in the design phase. At the Learning Resource Center on the Grant campus, a green roof installation has been completed. Additional green roofs will be installed at the renewable energy and STEM Center

Another key element of this program is to communicate the energy program goals to students, faculty and staff. We communicate this program to the college community through outlets such as College emails, social media, building TV monitors and Professional Development Day.


March 2014 – Office of Sustainability created July 2014 – Board of Trustees signs contract with Cenergisitic August 2015 – 2 Energy Specialist hired January - December 2015 Cost Avoided – 6.7%, $325,727 January - December 2016 Cost Avoided – 15.3%, $757,852 January - December 2017 Cost Avoided – 18.1%, $1,015,634 April 2018 One Energy Specialist Left January - December 2018 Cost Avoided – 19.3%, $1,162,817 May 2019 New Energy Specialist Hired January - December 2019 Cost Avoided – 22.7%, $1,356,569


Cenergistic’s financial model is a shared savings arrangement with associated costs including staff salaries being borne by Cenergistic. The savings are adjusted for weather and commodity costs. No capital investment on the part of the College is involved.


To date, it has resulted in the following reductions: • Commodity savings – o kWh of Electricity – 23,087,174 o Therms of Natural Gas – 1,285,175 o kGals of Water – 36,164 o Gallons of #2 Heating Oil – 35,525 • Environmental equivalence – o Automobiles not driven for an entire year = 2,706 o Planting tree seedlings every year for 10 years = 333,086 o Equivalent metric tons of CO2 reduced = 12,990 Monetary equivalence- $4.9 Million Dollars in cost savings.

Complimentary Capital Projects: Solar Generation: The College’s Solar Panels have produced approximately 143.38 MWh of electricity. Green roofs: Reduces energy use by reducing thermal heat load via absorption of UV rays. Offers increased insulation to better retain building’s thermal properties. Enables solar panels (if applicable) to operate more efficiently by reducing heat load enabling panels to operate more efficiently. Reduces CO2 in the atmosphere via pollutant absorption. Reduces stormwater runoff via absorption of excess precipitation. To explain the benefits of the green roof, signs will be posted, electronic signage will be presented on building monitors, and information included on the college’s Office of Sustainability website (attached in supporting documents).

Other related Initiatives : While the primary objective of this undertaking has been a reduction in energy waste, a tangential benefit has been an improved ability to maintain a comfortable year-round environment for the important teaching and learning activities taking place on our campuses. By partnering closely with our Plant Operations staff, Central Facilities department, Building Administrators and classroom faculty, the Energy Management team has identified numerous savings opportunities, while at the same time building a culture mindful of energy use and its costs. We are in turn reaching out to our students to communicate the meaningfulness of this effort, and its application to their lives on campus and beyond. In short, this project has significantly improved the overall quality of our campus environments, while introducing real, quantifiable gains in efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Lessons Learned

It is critical to find the right fit - The process of hiring the two energy specialists took longer than anticipated, searching over a year to find the person suitable for the job. The position can sometimes be demanding in terms of scheduling- it requires off hours, nights and weekends. Other questions that we faced were: Where do they fit in? What bargaining unit will they be in? What is the relationship with Plant Operations?

Program Benefits - The program serves as a resource for collecting data and keeping records of utility costs. Prior to the inception of the program there was little knowledge about the systemwide energy use. The program has yielded quantifiable energy savings, while improving energy efficiency and comfort. It also put a new focus on energy and sustainability issues throughout the College.

Cenergisitic’s model can be used by any other organization. The results are dependent on the support of the organization’s Administration, Facilities and Plant Operations and staff’s willingness to work with the energy specialists and program liaison to implement the Energy Program Guidelines.

Accountability – The College’s utility bills are entered into EnergyCAP. EnergyCAP is a:

• Third party verified energy saving software model • Follows International Measurement and Verification Protocol • Winner of EPA Energy Star Partner of the Year • Winner of Environmental Leader’s Product of the Year • Clients include: o Commercial - BJs Wholesale Club, Northrop Grumman, Vanguard Group o Federal - Marine Corp., Smithsonian o States - Colorado, Maryland, Pennsylvania o University Systems – State University of New York, University of California Cenergistic’s Measurement and Verification specialist also reviews our data on a monthly basis. The College’s invoices from Cenergistic are reviewed by the College’s Business and Financial Affairs Office auditor.