Rockland Community College is planning for $11 million in energy efficiency investments that the school said can net it more than $550,000 in yearly energy savings.
The school announced in November that it had contracted Ecosystem, a Canada-based engineering company with offices in New York City, to lead a retrofit project on nine buildings of the school’s Suffern campus.
“We need a lot of capital equipment replacement, boilers and chillers, new lighting,” said Nayyer Hussain, senior vice president of finance and administration at RCC. “So instead of doing patchwork, we thought it would be good to try to tackle a lot of our campus needs, particularly in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), in one go.”
The project’s 14 retrofit measures include the installation of a combined heat and power plant, stage lighting and air conditioning upgrades at the school’s Cultural Arts Center Theater, installation of efficient lights and electrical outlets at the school’s library, installation of water stations around campus and upgrades to both the chiller and boiler plants.
“The project plays a major role in helping us fulfill our sustainability mission statement, in which we pledge to sharply reduce our global warming emissions,” college President Cliff L. Wood said.
In regard to the sustainability mission, the school pledged in 2011 that it would dramatically cut back on its carbon footprint with the goal of carbon neutrality within 25 years. It has tracked progress on its website, highlighting efforts such as its recycling program, a clean energy educational initiative and a National Wildlife Foundation Certified Habitat in woods on campus.
RCC said it is in talks now with SUNY to fund part of the project. The rest will come from a tax-exempt municipal lease and incentives, including a $1.1 million incentive from Orange & Rockland Utilities Commercial and Industrial Program.
The school expects Ecosystem employees to start work on the project in January, Hussain said, with a total construction time of 18 months.