Climate Action Plan Progress

The Climate Action Plan was prepared in response to the requirements of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (PCC), which Chancellor Nancy Cantor signed on February 23, 2007. The Climate Action Plan was developed to inform SU’s efforts to completely eliminate its net emission of greenhouse gases by 2040.

The Sustainability Division is working on the following projects to help reach this goal:

South Campus Solar Thermal
Energy Systems and Sustainability Management and FIXit (a part of Auxiliary Services) partnered with ARA Construction and Kingspan Solar on a solar thermal project for twenty buildings of three-bedroom apartments on south campus. Two systems are installed in each building to provide 50-60% of the energy needed year-round to heat water for the 160 apartments. This project is estimated to save the University approximately 300,000 kWh  and 125 tons of GHG emissions annually.

College of Visual and Performing Arts
An audit has been completed for the Visual and Performing Arts buildings which identified HVAC improvements for Shaffer Art building and lighting improvements for Smith Hall. The estimated savings per year are:

  • Electricity: 480,655 kWh
  • Steam: 1,829,237 lbs
  • Carbon Reduction: 349 tons

Recreation Services
An audit has been completed for the Recreation Services spaces that identified improved lighting, energy management system controls and HVAC improvements in Archbold, Flanagan, Women’s Building, Tennity and the fitness spaces in Marshall Square Mall, Marion Hall, Brockway Hall and Goldstein Student Center. The estimated savings per year are:

  • Electricity: 1,019,426 kWh
  • Steam: 2021 klbs
  • Carbon Reduction: 527 tons

Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability
Funded by the Climate Action Plan, Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability (CALS) offers yearly grants totaling $50,000 to students and faculty that submit projects that will promote and implement sustainability on campus. For the 2017 Spring semester, six proposals were chosen for full or partial funding. Projects include:

  • $20,000 to Steve Chapin, Associate Professor of Computer Science, and Peter Wilcoxen, Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, to build a lab at the Syracuse Center of Excellence, where they will research and test ways to connect electric vehicles to the Smart Grid. Their proposal includes establishing a student EV Club and using the lab in a multidisciplinary graduate course on smart grids.
  • $8460 to Amber Bartosh, Assistant Professor of Architecture, and Mark Povinelli, Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurial Leadership in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Whitman School of Management. They will work with their students to develop a Climate Disruption Awareness Generator. This will be a participatory installation in Bird Library that uses virtual reality simulation to enable students to understand the embodied energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with everyday interactions with technology and engineering and architectural systems.
  • $7781 to Jeongmin Ahn, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, who will work with graduate and undergraduate students to research membrane technology that has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in power generation facilities. They will present their findings to technical professionals in Central New York.
  • $6530 to Kristina Gutchess, a graduate student in Earth Sciences, and Zunli Lu, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences. Working together with a number of colleagues in Earth Sciences, SUNY-ESF, and the Newhouse School of Communications, they will evaluate the movement of water and de-icing salt across the campus landscape and model expected changes in campus hydrology under various climate disruption scenarios. Their findings will identify optimal locations for sustainable green infrastructure on campus.
  • $4500 to Jason Fridley, Associate Professor of Biology, and Douglas Frank, Professor of Biology, who will supervise an undergraduate research project on the impact of plants on ecosystem carbon and nutrient cycling. Dubbed “Project Carbon,” it will utilize a specially designed laboratory facility as well as campus assets like the Climate Garden to enable students to determine the carbon budgets of different plant species across environments. Project Carbon results will be on display in the Life Science Complex.
  • $2679 to graduate students Hugh O. Burnham, School of Education, and Adam Fix, SUNY-ESF, who will work with Assistant Professor of History Gladys McCormick to develop an oral history of climate activism and the divestment movement at Syracuse University. This will become the basis for campus presentations and part of the archives at Bird Library.