The College of Mount Saint Vincent has been moving toward becoming a more sustainable, “green” campus. The Mount has taken steps to improve energy efficiency, conserve resources, and enhance environmental quality, creating a healthy living and learning environment and educating the College community about sustainability. The Mount will continue to explore and implement initiatives that are in line with its mission.
The College has completed the following green energy initiatives:
- Oil to Gas Conversions
- Switching from a boiler system that uses heating oil to a more energy-efficient system of high-pressure natural gas, the College has reduced its annual utility costs and its carbon footprint by 25-30%.
- Solar Energy
- Solar-covered carports were installed in the Villa parking lot, which has been expanded and completely rebuilt as part of the Mount’s green campus initiative. The addition of solar panels to the Peter Jay Sharp Athletic Center roof has also been finalized. The solar panels added to these areas provide the equivalent of 540,000 kilowatt hours of energy of electricity annually.
- Lighting Upgrades
- Lighting throughout the residence halls, the Library, other campus buildings, and most exterior lights have been upgraded to either fluorescent or LED bulbs. The College expects to see a 7-10% reduction in electricity costs annually. This project has saved work hours as well—since LEDs last 10 times longer than average fluorescent bulbs, they don’t require frequent replacement.
- Energy Management
- The College has taken steps to maximize the effectiveness of its Building Management System for HVAC systems, adding a scheduling component to regulate system heating and cooling temperatures based on building occupancy, replacing manually-operated thermostats with digital, programmable units, and implementing additional building closure procedures that include checking for air conditioners and lights left on in unoccupied areas.
- Recycling Program
- Working with the New York City Department of Sanitation’s (DSNY) recycling program, the College has placed sets of color-coded recycling receptacles across campus and inside buildings to facilitate the separation of paper, cans and bottles, and trash. These receptacles are located inside and outside all residence halls, academic and athletic buildings, and other high-traffic spaces. Not only is the College contributing to the DSNY recycling program, but it is also saving significantly on the cost of trash removal—provided free by DSNY for its program partners.
The College is exploring several key green energy initiatives that will further reduce its carbon footprint, energy costs, and consumption, lower facilities maintenance costs, and provide a healthier, more sustainable campus. Future initiatives include:
- Solar Energy
- The College plans to install additional solar panels on the roofs of two residence halls and the Library. Adding more solar panels will further reduce the energy that the College pulls from the grid.
- Cogeneration Plant at the Library
- A cogeneration plant uses natural gas to produce electricity while utilizing the leftover by-product for heating and/or cooling components. The College is exploring whether it would be feasible to install such a plant in the Library. This plant would generate electricity that would be fed back into the grid while providing clean heating and cooling to the Library.
- Demand/Response Program
- Demand/Response programs call on building and property owners to shut down the use of major equipment and/or run on generator power during peak times initiated by the local energy company. These programs facilitate the conservation of energy while taking advantage of monetary incentives that can be reinvested into improving the College.