The New School is becoming a more sustainable institution through several energy efficiency initiatives on campus. Behind these programs are public commitments driving short- and long-term strategies.
Developed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as part of PlaNYC, the University Challenge encourages local universities to reduce their carbon emissions 30 percent by 2017. One of the first institutions to sign up for the challenge in 2007, The New School had the lowest level of carbon emissions per square foot of existing buildings of any of the participating institutions at the start of the initiative.
In 2008, former New School president Bob Kerrey signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)—an agreement to develop a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible and implement sustainable practices into educational programs and facilities.
The first public commitment by leaders in higher education to become more sustainable, The New School signed the international Talloires Declaration in 2009. This agreement incorporates sustainability and eco-literacy into teaching, research, operations, and communications on campus.
A majority of The New School's carbon dioxide emissions come from buildings. Heating, cooling, illuminating university spaces, and operating essential needs such as computer labs, data servers, design shop power tools, and audiovisual equipment require an enormous amount of energy throughout the year.
Transportation to and from campus, though a small portion of the university's carbon emissions, also contributes to the campus carbon footprint. See the alternative transportation page for more information on campus initiatives in this area.
Read The New School's Climate Action Plan (PDF). This document summarizes the efforts to reduce the university's greenhouse gas emissions and determine a course of action for becoming a more sustainable university.
The new University Center, currently under construction, is projected to receive a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold rating, in part due to the design of its energy systems. Construction is expected to be completed in Fall 2013.
The building will feature super-efficiency LED lights and, where possible, daylight harvesting to utilize sunlight indoors over artificial light. Vacancy sensors will automatically turn off lighting in unoccupied rooms.
A 265-kilowatt cogeneration units will generate electricity with natural gas and recover thermal energy for heating domestic hot water on-site. As much as 40 percent of the building's electrical load will be generated on- site, easing the stress on the electrical grid and also providing a reliable source of generation for critical systems in case of a brownout.
The facility will include an ice-storage system that will be used to lower the chiller's peak cooling requirement during summer days, when demand on the grid is greatest. Ice is made in 14 tanks during the night, when the electricity demand cost is cheaper, and distributes the cold air off the melting ice throughout the building during the day, reducing peak usage by 30%.
Please visit the University Center page for more information about the sustainability features.
To reduce energy use in buildings and improve public transportation options, the university:
The university will: