Junne Park, Photo Editor

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) — an organization that strives to decrease energy consumption throughout the state with financial incentives — has awarded Hutchison Hall’s chemistry labs with a  $36,615 rebate for installing environmentally efficient equipment.

Specifically, the labs were recognized for installing sustainable fume hoods and energy efficient lighting. Most fume hoods draw air from outside, filter it thoroughly before releasing it into the hood and then release it back outside of the room. The more energy efficient filtered fume hoods, however, draw the vast majority of air from inside the room and only require a minimal amount of air from the outside environment. The sustainable lighting scheme uses significantly less electricity.

The environmental impact of these two changes is striking.

“In terms of our Carbon footprint, that is 134,391 lbs (or 671.955 tons) that we are no longer releasing into the atmosphere, annually,” Program Manager for Facilities Condition Assessment Joe Viterna, the River Campus liaison to NYSERDA, said.

The benefits of the project go beyond the measurement of energy conservation though. According to the project report, “energy savings … will provide additional economic and societal benefits due to reduced emissions from electric power generating plants. These benefits include decreased incidents of respiratory ailments, asthma and allergies, as well as the reduction of negative impacts on property and the environment.”

The project also benefits UR financially. In addition to the $37,076 rebate, the efficient fume vents save $8,233 per year, while the lighting system conserves $5,236 per year, combining to save the school a total of $13,469 annually.

“[This equipment] saves on operating costs year after year, which saves the University money,” Viterna said. “That helps keep costs of the University down, which benefits the students too.”

The process to obtain the rebate incentive began with paying NYSERDA a continuous incremental cost, which funds equipment that is more energy efficient. It rewards institutions by providing them access to larger-scale NYSERDA grants.

Following this initial cost, the Department of Chemistry requested a new teaching lab and worked with Campus Planning, Design and Construction Management (CPDCM) to design the project, while also partnering with Vitera, who researched and applied for the rebate incentives.

NYSERDA carries out a scoping meeting to identify any energy efficient measures they can incorporate into the desired project.

Once the project is complete, NYSERDA takes a tour of the facility, examines the Environmental Conservation Measures (ECMs) and ultimately rewards an appropriate rebate.

NYSERDA has funded a number of past rebates for UR, including projects at the Eastman School of Music, including Kodak Hall, the Data Center and Saunders Clinical and Translational Science Building.

UR also currently has pending applications for rebate incentives for renovations to Raymond F. LeChase Hall, O’Brien Hall and Golisano Children’s Hospital.

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