UB Named "Environmentalist of the Year" by State Affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation

Release Date: October 24, 2003 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Environmental Advocates, the New York State affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, has named the University at Buffalo its "Environmentalist of the Year" for initiating an effort to buy wind energy that has become so successful it has made the university the state's largest purchaser of wind power.

"The University at Buffalo has demonstrated two qualities shared by the individuals who have received this award -- outstanding leadership and the ability to have a significant positive impact," said Val Washington, executive director of Environmental Advocates. "Almost as soon as wind energy became available, the university became the largest purchaser in the state, a choice that means cleaner air for all New Yorkers. We are proud to name the University at Buffalo our 'Environmentalist of the Year.'"

UB, which has been applying the principles of energy conservation to campus operations since the late 1970s, has developed a nationally recognized energy program.

This year, UB has purchased 8 million kilowatt hours of wind energy from Community Energy, Inc. and will purchase 12 million kilowatt hours in 2004.

"The significant dollar savings achieved through UB's energy-conservation program have provided us with the opportunity to make a meaningful purchase of clean wind energy," said Michael Dupre, UB associate vice president for university facilities and a member of the UB Green energy team that made the purchase a reality.

The UB wind-energy purchase was facilitated greatly by Executive Order No. 111, which Gov. George Pataki issued in June 2001, directing state agencies, authorities, SUNY and other state entities to be more energy efficient and environmentally aware. The order mandates that 10 percent of the electricity consumed by state agencies be from "green" renewable sources by 2005, and 20 percent by 2010.

"UB's green-power purchase will provide significant environmental benefits by reducing pollutants associated with electricity generation," said John Russo, UB utilities manager.

It's estimated that in 2004, UB's wind-energy purchases will reduce carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 8 million, 92,000 and 36,000 pounds, respectively, contributing to reduced smog, acid rain and climate change.

"While the executive order did not formally require us to buy green power at this time, we felt that it was important for UB to step out, buy wind power now and help build the New York green-power market," said Walter Simpson, UB energy officer.

He noted that by helping establish this market in New York State, the university also is helping to ensure that there will be sufficient green-power capacity in the state when the executive order's requirements go into effect.

In addition to Dupre, Russo and Simpson, members of the UB Green energy team include Lonny Porter, assistant director for purchasing, and Avis Sinclair, calculations clerk.

Dupre said that by positioning itself as a leader in green power and in the other areas identified by the executive order -- energy efficiency in existing buildings, green building design for new buildings, the purchase of energy-efficient products and alternative-fueled vehicles -- the university has sought to demonstrate to the wider community how such efforts pay off, both environmentally and financially.

"We are enthusiastic about the executive order," said Dupre. "It has pushed us to explore and develop new opportunities for energy conservation and environmental excellence."

Some of UB's newest "green" initiatives include:

* Development of a large, comprehensive energy-retrofit project for the South (Main Street) Campus. A similar project on the North (Amherst) Campus in the 1990s resulted in approximately $3 million in energy savings for UB

* Construction of Western New York's first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified green building, as designated by the U.S. Green Building Council. The building is the community center at the Creekside Village student apartment complex on the North Campus.

* A collaborative effort with other state agencies to produce UB's High Performance Building Guidelines, which will direct green-building design for new construction at UB and are anticipated to have an impact statewide.

* Planning for a substantial solar-power project on the North Campus

The complete progress report on how UB is meeting and exceeding the requirements of Executive Order 111, entitled "In Pursuit of Energy Excellence" is available at


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