A collaboration of unions, climate advocates, building industry representatives and environmental groups is calling for New York to decarbonize state-owned college campuses as part of the state budget.

Known as UpgradeNY, the group wants union-led funding to build thermal energy networks at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Purchase to decarbonize heating and cooling on their campuses, the group said Thursday morning.

Thermal energy networks is a method of connecting geothermal energy to multiple large buildings at once using an underground network of liquid-filled pipes. It can exchange heat with a number of energy sources, including shallow geothermal boreholes, lakes and rivers, ice rinks, or wastewater systems.

According to UpgradeNY, a thermal energy network at the University at Buffalo’s South Campus would provide a 30% reduction in energy usage while providing heating within the existing electrical capacity. One at Purchase College would reduce over 65% of its greenhouse gas emissions.

"By decarbonizing these state facilities, New York can lead by example and encourage other facilities and municipalities to follow suit," the group said in a release.

UpgradeNY is asking the state Senate and Assembly for $90 million to fund these projects in their one-house budgets, which are expected to be released in the next week.

The state budget is due April 1.


Facebook Twitter