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SUNY Plattsburgh's Earth Day Challenge Nets Five Percent Energy Reduction

Photo of dorm building with grass and trees. Click on the image to see full resolution photo. The results are in.SUNY Plattsburgh's "Power Down Plattsburgh" challenge resulted in a five percent reduction in energy consumption on campus this Earth Day.Sponsored by the newly formed Campus Sustainability Task Force, the challenge asked all faculty, staff and students to find ways of conserving energy - turning off unneeded equipment, unplugging chargers when not in use and turning off lights.To measure results, the college's electric meters were read for a few days in a row and the kilowatt-hours compared. On Tuesday, the campus used 80,020 kwh. On Wednesday, Earth Day, this number dropped by 4,040 kwh to 75,980 kwh - a five percent reduction compared to the day before.

Green Facts

  • SUNY Plattsburgh uses over 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year.

  • The cost of this electricity is over $900,000 annually.

  • This would be the equivalent of over 45 million pounds of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere if this electricity was produced by a coal-fired power plant.

  • Carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas responsible for long-term climate change.

  • Scientists predict that these increases will reduce polar ice caps, raise sea levels, increase disease incidence, negatively impact agriculture and result in species migrations and extinctions, among many other effects.

"Our actions were equivalent to turning off nearly 5,000 light bulbs (100 watt) for a period of eight hours - one for every person on campus," said Dr. Robert Fuller, director of the Center for Earth and Environmental Science. "Our energy savings for a single day resulted in as much as 5,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, considered the primary cause of global warming, being kept out of the atmosphere. If the campus could sustain this level of reduction for an entire year, it could save the college and the State of New York nearly $45,000."Members of the Task Force hope to revisit the challenge on at least an annual basis.

Sustainability Set as College Priority

The Task Force's efforts are part of SUNY Plattsburgh's recently approved strategic plan for 2009-2012, which lists increasing the sustainability of the college as a priority.The plan states, in part, "SUNY Plattsburgh will improve its commitment to environmental conservation and sustainability through conservation and sustainability practices and procedures and curricular and co-curricular programs. These efforts will have tangible benefits that are important to the campus community and to the public."According to SUNY Plattsburgh Provost Jay Stein, these efforts "build on the college's rich history and legacy of environmental education, citizenship and stewardship."

Contact Information

For more information, about the Campus Sustainability Task Force, please contact:Keith Tait
Phone: 518-564-3290
E-mail: [email protected]Lauren Eastwood
Phone: 518-564-3309
E-mail: [email protected]

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