Higher Education

Colleges and universities rely on energy to create safe, comfortable, productive learning environments.

Discover new ways that managing energy can drive campus safety for students and faculty while enhancing your reputation as a sustainability leader.

How you benefit

  • Create comfortable and productive environments for your students and staff
  • Drive safety and security across your campus and facilities
  • Increase profitability by lowering operating and maintenance costs
  • Enhance your brand reputation as a committed sustainability leader
  • Attract and recruit top-notch students and staff seeking an education or career with sustainability-minded schools

Key energy saving opportunities

1. High-Efficiency Lighting Design

Energy-efficient lighting in education environments can provide a better student and staff experience and save money. In comparison to conventional lighting options, high-efficiency lighting uses less energy, costs less to operate, and can last much longer than traditional options—up to 25 years. You can also use controls and sensors to increase campus safety with reliable indoor and outdoor lighting.

Learn more about high-efficiency lighting.

2. Building Envelope Upgrades

Building envelope upgrades (increasing insulation, weatherstripping windows, etc.) can be a low-cost, effective way to improve the comfort of your building. Making improvements helps to both regulate your indoor climate (temperature control, air quality, etc.) and protect students and faculty from the outdoors (drafts, condensation, etc.). These upgrades also help ensure that your heating and cooling systems are performing efficiently, saving you energy and money.

Learn more about building envelope upgrades.

3. Ventilation System Upgrades

Effective ventilation has been proven to drive higher student and faculty productivity. Making ventilation system upgrades can improve the comfort and air quality of your building and save money. For example, demand controlled ventilation (DCV) systems automatically adjust your ventilation equipment to meet the needs of your building. DCV systems can reduce ventilation when classrooms and other spaces are not occupied or are at lower than peak occupancy.

Learn more about ventilation systems.

4. Clean Heating and Cooling Upgrades

Clean heating and cooling technologies, such as heat pumps, make it possible to keep your students and faculty comfortable year-round, save energy, and reduce your carbon footprint. Unlike conventional HVAC systems, heat pumps draw heat from the environment and move it indoors to heat or move it outdoors to cool your building. Heat pumps also allow for zoned heating and cooling—letting you customize the temperature of different spaces.

Learn more about clean heating and cooling.


Higher education programs and resources

  • REV Campus Challenge (NYSERDA) - recognition and support for New York State colleges and universities that implement clean energy projects
  • SUNY Concierge (NYSERDA) - professional guidance to help SUNY universities prioritize energy saving goals and find program opportunities

For a full list of programs, visit our energy programs and incentives page.

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