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Brief Updates

Sustainability Advocate Program Continues To Improve Campus-Wide Sustainability

March 5, 2012

New York University's Sustainability Advocate Program is nearing 200 members strong, and growing. We comprise staff and faculty working together to harness the effort, energy, and enthusiasm of university community to green their departments and the larger campus. The advocates also play an active role in educating peers and students to help build a university-wide culture of sustainability.

Our advocates have helped eliminate over half of the campus' five gallon jugs of bottled water, switched most of the university to recycled print cartridges, increased the percentage of recycled paper purchased to 75%, and helped defer a New York City brownout last summer by saving 17,000 kilo-watt hours of electricity during a peak energy emergency.

Alison Moppett and her colleagues at the law school have piloted additional significant projects to reduce waste including composting in dining areas and dorms, as well as constructing a program for appliance and furniture reuse called "Trash to Treasure."

This semester, we will be launching our new website and tracking system for advocate progress, so stay tuned for more exciting news on improvements.

Wilf Hall Awarded LEED Platinum Rating

February 26, 2012

New York University's Wilf Hall has been awarded LEED Platinum rating, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)'s highest certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Wilf Hall, a building for NYU's Law School, is the sixth "new construction" building project in NYC to receive the rating.

"We strive to be good stewards of the environment, and Wilf Hall is our most visible demonstration of that commitment," said NYU Law Dean Richard Revesz. "It is extremely gratifying that Wilf Hall is one of only six new buildings in New York City to receive a LEED Platinum certification."

In order to achieve Platinum certification, Wilf Hall was evaluated in five categories, including water and energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and innovative design. A green roof and two planted terraces, bedded with grasses, ferns, and trees, help insulate the building year-round and filter pollutants out of rainwater, reducing runoff into the city's sewers. Terraces on the second and sixth floors serve as informal meeting areas, with walking paths enclosed by creeping perennials and grasses. More than 90% of all construction and demolition debris was reused or recycled during the project. Other notable features include bicycle storage and showers for commuting riders.

NYU Prepares for Massive Expansion of Bike Share Program

February 10, 2012

New York University is preparing a massive Spring expansion of services for bicyclists including the NYU Bike Share program, a now permanent campus-wide initiative that provides free short-term bicycle rentals to students, faculty, and staff after they attend a short class on bike safety and theft prevention. The NYU Office of Sustainability will be moving the program out of its pilot stage by more than doubling the size of its fleet this month, improving bicycle and bike-share related signage on campus, and installing a self-serve bike repair station for all cyclists behind Tisch Hall. Bike Share bikes are currently available from 10 different NYU buildings throughout Manhattan to over 1000 students, faculty, and staff who have joined the free program.

The Bike Share has been growing exponentially since its launch in summer 2010 and we're expecting to see even more growth in ridership after we expand the fleet capacity. Having so many more bikes will make the program more reliable and will allow us to do even more to encourage healthy habits and foster a community of sustainability on campus and in the greater community," said NYUGallatin Senior Mike Sandmel who coordinates the program for the Office of Sustainability.

As the first permanent bike-sharing program in New York City, the NYU Bike Share has already informed plans for the city's bike share. Started by a student-led Green Grant, the program seeks to lower the barriers to entry (such as cost and inexperience) that prospective cyclists face at NYU and to ensure that bicycling can be a safe, healthy, sustainable, and fun way to get around New York City.

The Bike Share is helping solidify and expand the NYU culture of sustainability," said Robert Raymond, Program Assistant for Green Transportation. Operating out of the residence halls, the program reaches a diverse range of students, providing a fun, active alternative mode of transportation and serves as an entry point to other sustainability issues and initiatives at NYU. In a university as large as ours, the spring expansion will help us reach more of the NYU community and increase our visibility on campus.

Green Grants Announced for 2012

January 30, 2012

New York University’s Sustainability Task Force today announced eight 2012 “Green Grant” projects, including seed funding for a student food co-op, student-led composting collection for academic spaces and events, LEED evaluation study for the University’s existing building stock, a meatless mondays campaign exploring relationships between food and climate change, and a series of solar-powered kinetic sculptures that resemble flowers and biomimetically open and close their petals. The projects were chosen among a host of submissions from NYU students, faculty, and staff based on impact on the campus’ environmental footprint and campus culture of sustainability, feasibility, and potential for institutionalization after the funding period. Since its establishment in 2007, the program has funded 61 projects to the tune of nearly $400,000 dollars.

“Green Grants are powerfully democratic, lowering barriers to participation and allowing anyone at NYU a structure to test new and experimental ways to solve problems in a low-risk environment,” said Jeremy Friedman, manager of Sustainability Initiatives at NYU. “And Green Grants are powerfully scalable, allowing bold ideas to be seeded and piloted locally so that we can then extend the most successful ones to the rest of campus.”

Recycling Upgrades

NYU has been recycling about 30% of all waste for many years – but the university aims to boost this figure with the improved Mixed Recycling system, allowing all recyclable items – paper, glass, aluminum, cardboard – to be deposited in just one labeled bin. Goods are further sorted in a new, cutting-edge materials recovery facility.

This innovation makes recycling even easier for students, faculty and staff, and has been known to dramatically increase recycling diversion rates. The change applies to nearly all academic buildings across campus - see bin labels for more information.

Now, we need YOUR HELP to make new and continuing waste reduction/reuse/recycling programs a success!

  • An expanded Technoscrap collection program means more bins across campus to collect CDs, cell phones, cables, batteries and other e-wastes to ensure proper recycling or disposal of hazardous components
  • Does your office area or academic department have a Sustainability Advocate yet? If not, see above, and ask your local Advocate about ways to improve recycling. For instance, working with Advocates, the Stern Campus Greening Initiative piloted a program to improve recycling by upgrading recycling bins and signage while removing trash bins from classrooms at the Kaufman Management Center and Tisch Hall -- resulting in a 178% increase in recycling collection!
  • Get informed about Composting initiatives on campus! Since 60% of NYU’s waste is biodegradable, a number of Composting projects on campus are underway, including: dining hall collection behind-the-scenes in prep areas and front-of-house at Kimmel, Hayden and Rubin cafeterias; floor-by-floor compost collection in the School of Law residences; a new pilot program to collect food scraps during events in the Puck Building by NYU Wagner students; and an on-site composting tumbler installed at the Carlyle Hall courtyard!
  • This spring, contribute to the Green Apple Move Out-- participating NYU residence halls collect discarded usable goods and unopened food and donate them to local charities or non-profits. Each year 1000s of pounds of such items are successfully redistributed to promote reuse and yield cost-savings through avoided disposal.
  • Contact the FCM Client Services Center at 212-998-1001 to schedule a pickup or drop off of intact moving boxes free of charge for NYU offices that are shifting spaces. Let's recycle our assets!

NYU Community Cut Electricity More Than 15 Percent During Energy Curtailment

July 29, 2011

When record-high temperatures hit the east coast last week, New York University students and employees took the lead in reducing their energy usage, cutting the university’s energy consumption by about 15 percent.

NYU Executive Vice President Michael Alfano announced in a university-wide email that unnecessary lighting, elevators and air conditioning were to be shut off to curtail the university’s electricity usage, per the request of Con Edison, which faced a peak power emergency as a result of record-breaking temperatures across the city.

According to Cecil Scheib, NYU Director of Sustainability and Energy, NYU cut total energy use by about 3.5 megawatts during the nine-hour curtailment that occurred over two days. The university saved about 31,500 kilowatt hours, roughly 15 percent of the university’s total energy usage.
“That would power one average New York City home for six years solid, or it is like taking about 15,000 NYC homes off the grid,” Scheib said.

Alfano also encouraged students, faculty and staff to change their individual behaviors to reduce electrical usage. Members of the NYU community were urged to shut off unnecessary lighting, turn off “phantom loads” like printers and speakers, and turn off all other electronics when not in use, Alfano said.

“Sustainability Advocates”, the more than 200 grassroots staff volunteers trained to lead green efforts in offices throughout the NYU campus, took the lead in spreading the word about the curtailment and the need for conservation.

“It makes an incredible difference how our individual actions add up — when we work together, it helps the city avoid firing up older, dirtier ‘peaking plants’ to make extra emergency power,” NYU Manager of Sustainability Initiatives Jeremy Friedman said. “This doesn’t just reduce global warming, it also prevents asthma attacks and curtails local air pollution.”­­

With over 40,000 students and 16,000 faculty and staff, NYU has demonstrated its dedication to curtailing energy usage and reducing energy waste across campus in the past. Last summer, NYU made a similar request of its community to reduce energy consumption during a heat wave. Scheib predicted that the university cut 25 percent more electricity this summer than during last year’s curtailment.

To further reduce its impact on New York City, NYU accepted Mayor Bloomberg’s Mayoral Challenge in 2007 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017. In just four years, NYU met and surpassed this goal, six years ahead of schedule.

NYU has executed many energy saving initiatives to achieve this drastic energy reduction. The new natural gas fired cogeneration plant decreases greenhouse gas emissions by about 23 percent and air pollutants by 68 percent compared to the old plant.

Additionally, NYU has installed thousands of air conditioning, heating and lighting occupancy sensors in university offices, classrooms and residence halls. The university also launched a “lights off” campaign to turn off unused lighting, as well as “NYUnplugged,” an energy conservation competition between campus residence halls.

"I'm proud to be part of a community that comes together in an emergency,” Scheib said. “It's gratifying to see NYU support the city by helping guard its electric grid against potential blackouts during heat waves."


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