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SUNY Oneonta residence hall is first zero-net carbon retrofit project

By Journal Staff

Date:

Ford Hall, SUNY Oneonta. (PHOTO CREDIT: SUNY)

ONEONTA — SUNY recently announced a partnership with the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) and NYSERDA to start its first zero-net carbon-ready retrofit project on a campus for SUNY Oneonta’s Ford Hall. 

The project seeks to advance Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s statewide clean-energy goal of 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2040.

“We will build upon this first zero-net carbon retrofit at Oneonta to other campuses to send a strong message of not just words but action that SUNY is using the latest technology available to eliminate our carbon footprint and provide a sustainable clean energy environment for all our students,” SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson contended in a Feb. 7 news release.

SUNY issued a request for qualifications (https://www.dasny.org/opportunities/rfps-bids) seeking design-build teams capable of completing the zero-net carbon-ready retrofit project. Ford Hall, which can house 300 students, will be renovated as “zero-net carbon-ready,” meaning in addition to exceeding existing energy codes, the building will make use of future off-site renewable-energy sources as they become available to meet building operations’ energy consumption needs. 

The project will be the “first of its kind” for the SUNY residence-hall program and will serve as a “proof-of-concept,” demonstrating that an affordable residence-hall renovation can achieve zero-net carbon performance, the state says.

The team selected to renovate the residence hall will utilize design-build, with both design and construction services provided through a single contract to further project delivery, provide savings, and integrate construction-process knowledge into the design effort for a high level of quality, the release stated.

“This retrofit pilot will offer energy efficiency solutions that can be adopted across the entire SUNY system to help create a cleaner, more comfortable environment for students and help reduce energy costs for SUNY while affirming New York’s commitment to lead by example in the fight against climate change,” Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA, said.

The project is expected to begin construction in the summer of 2020 and be completed by the start of the fall 2021 semester.

Chancellor Johnson plans to retrofit and renovate SUNY’s 64-campus system to achieve greenhouse-gas emissions reductions. This plan includes SUNY purchasing 100 percent of its grid-sourced electricity from zero-carbon sources, including renewables and energy storage, and requires all new SUNY buildings to be designed to be capable of zero-net carbon emissions. Making these improvements at SUNY’s 2,346 buildings — which represent 40 percent of the state-owner building infrastructure in New York — is expected to reduce New York’s carbon footprint by more than 400,000 tons of CO2 equivalents per year, the release stated.

The residence-hall project will be financed through a combination of DASNY’s SUNY Dormitory Facilities tax-exempt bonds supported by student residence-hall fees and funding from NYSERDA.  

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