Skidmore’s Newest Sustainability Project
Did you know that 40 percent of Skidmore’s campus is currently being heated and cooled by geothermal energy? Did you know that 30 percent of Skidmore’s electricity is being produced by its solar array and small-hydro project?
“We want to increase our renewable energy sources even more through a new solar thermal project, and we need your help to do it,” reads the Skidmore DHall: Solar Thermal Project fundraising page.
Skidmore’s new solar thermal project, the sixth solar thermal project at Skidmore, will consist of 30 panels on the roof of the dining hall. This will provide about 800 gallons of hot water a day while also reducing Skidmore’s energy costs, and greenhouse gas emissions. While the fundraising period was set up to run for 14 days, the project goal was met within a week, and ultimately raised 145% of the project goal.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) incentives are covering most of the project costs, and the “The remaining cost is being supported by Skidmore’s general budget, the Sustainability Office, [and] previous donations to campus sustainability,” said Levi Rogers, Skidmore’s Campus Sustainability Coordinator.
The idea for this project was first proposed by Paul Lundberg, Assistant Director of Construction Services. “It was developed during a project brainstorming session between our sustainability team [a group that meets weekly to discuss ongoing and future sustainability projects and initiatives] and the Skidmore Fund, who coordinated the effort.” said Rogers.
“We are doing this for many reasons but it ultimately comes down to being the right thing to do. We need to implement creative renewable energy solutions on our campus to help Skidmore reduce its impact on the climate and demonstrate our commitment to sustainability, all of which align with the College’s goals and values,” said Rogers.
When asked what she thought of this project, Olivia Golden ‘18 said, “I am really excited that campus is continuing to transform into a place that works with the environment in a positive way, rather than a place that just takes from and disrupts the environment.”
Rogers discussed the fact that “Skidmore is becoming a real leader in sustainability.” He also said, “Students are big motivators in this work. Through courses, internships, student staff positions, and volunteer and club opportunities, they partner with faculty, staff, and administration to promote sustainability on and off campus.” Students are also helping to fund these sustainability efforts; 83% of the donations raised for the solar thermal project came from students and alumni. Jack Rosen ‘16, who donated to the project, said “I donated because I wanted to leave behind something that would continue to have an impact for years to come.”
The project is expected to be completed within about a year.