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University Aims High in Quest for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

University Aims High in Quest for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

Contact: Patrick Verel
(212) 636-7790

Marc Valera and Fredric S. Golder, New York Association of Energy Engineers Chapter Awards Chairman
Photo by Ken Levinson
Fordham’s efforts to reduce energy use and foster sustainability have earned high praise from the New York Chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers.

The University received the association’s annual “Corporate Energy Management of the Year” award on June 15 in a ceremony at the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen in Manhattan.

The award, which is given for “outstanding accomplishments in developing, managing and implementing a corporate or organizational energy management program,” was presented to Marc Valera, vice president for facilities management.

Valera said the prize reflected the University’s comprehensive efforts to streamline its energy consumption and reduce its carbon footprint, both in new construction—including Campbell, Salice and Conley residence halls—as well as retrofitting existing structures such as the William D. Walsh Family Library.

“It’s wonderful for the University’s efforts to be recognized by professionals in the field,” Valera said. “Fordham understands the connection between energy use and sustainability and has worked diligently to be a good steward of our physical assets.”

Fordham is well on its way to meeting New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s challenge—issued in 2007 to colleges and universities—to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2017. Fordham already has reduced its emissions by 21 percent, Valera noted.

Retrofitting structures on the Rose Hill campus, some of which date back to the 19th century, has been a major part of the effort. Hughes Hall, which is being transformed into the new home of the College of Business Administration (CBA), will be gutted and upgraded with more efficient heating, cooling, insulating and lighting systems.

“As part of our five-year plan for capital improvements, any project undertaken will include energy-efficient technology,” he said. “Since the inventory of buildings on the Rose Hill campus is so old, we have a wonderful opportunity to improve their energy use as we renovate them.”

The Lincoln Center and Rose Hill campuses make for a unique set of opportunities for Valera and his staff. The Lincoln Center campus is inherently more efficient due to its newer buildings and compact layout. The Rose Hill campus is a good place to experiment with new technologies because—unlike Lincoln Center—Fordham owns and operates campus-wide steam, water, sewage and electrical utilities and infrastructure systems.

Ideas under consideration include a 250-kilowatt solar array and a cogeneration facility. The cost of solar arrays, of which there is a 25-kilowatt installation on the roof of Walsh Library, has been decreasing, Valera said. Another possibility is installing a solar-powered hot-water heater on the roof of the Lowenstein Center or McMahon Hall.

Sustainability does not end at the door of a building, though. The University continues to add to its fleet of electric vehicles, and this past May, students moving out of their Rose Hill dormitories donated almost two tons of clothing, furniture and electronics to Goodwill Industries.

“That’s two tons that won’t go into the trash, and that will be repurposed,” he said.

Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to approximately 14,700 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a campus in Westchester, the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y., and the London Centre at Heythrop College in the United Kingdom. 6/10

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