“There aren’t that many ozone monitors to be able to distinguish one area from the next within the county,” she said. “Because we are to the west of [Albany and Troy], we are upwind and therefore those substances and chemical get pushed down towards Albany and Troy.”
Werner did credit the County Legislature with taking an active role in pursuing energy initiatives, such as the 2009 signing on to the Climate Smart Community pledge. Any village, town or county can join the commitment, which includes pledging to combat climate change by becoming a climate smart community; set goals, inventory emissions and move to action; decrease energy demand for local government operations; encourage renewable energy for local government operations; realize benefits of recycling and other climate smart solid waste management practices.
Besides government focusing on sustainable energy in the county, the SCEAC report focuses on Union College’s commitment to green initiatives.
Union College leading green practices
Going back to the early 1990s, Union College was a test site for the EPA’s “Green Lights” program, which was a national campaign to replace wasteful lighting sources with more efficient ones. Stepping forward to this year, Union completed construction of a new 35,000-square-foot building, The Peter Irving Wold Center, designed to achieve LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“[Union College is] really setting a good example for reducing their energy usage and renewable energy,” said Werner. “The energy conservation program has been successful.”
Assistant Director of Utilities Management at Union Frederick F. Puliafico said the college has taken steps over time to be greener, and it isn’t a new effort.
“It is not something that just happened overnight. We have been doing this for a long time,” said Puliafico. “When we decided to build the new building, we decided it was going to be as sustainable as it could.”