College Recognized for its Sustainability Programming; Commitment to Green Building; Academic Leadership

PHOTO: Rain Garden in MiddletownMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – During the past four years, SUNY Orange has undertaken significant measures to reduce its environmental impact and the College will be recognized for its efforts when it receives the Orange County Chamber of Commerce’s “Green Business of the Year” award during the Chamber’s annual meeting and awards presentation Oct. 26 at the Fallkirk Estate and Country Club in Central Valley.

That evening, SUNY Orange will be among 11 honorees accepting the Chamber’s most prestigious awards. Additional winners will include Orange County Trust Company (Large Business of the Year), Focus Media, Inc. (Medium Business of the Year), Holbert’s Catering/The BackYard Bistro (Small Business of the Year), Innate Chiropractic (Start-Up Business of the Year), Independent Living, Inc. (Not-for-Profit Enterprise of the Year), Orange Regional Medical Center (President’s Award), Bill Sivillo of Captain’s Club Cruises & Tours (General Membership Volunteer of the Year), Josh Sommers of Focus Media (Board of Directors Volunteer of the Year), Hearthstone Construction Company (Commitment to Community), and the late David Cocks (Legacy Award, to be presented posthumously).

Earlier this year, SUNY Orange earned a “bronze” rating after completing a yearlong self-study as part of the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The College, a charter member of the STARS program and an early signee of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, continues to strengthen its sustainability resume through such projects as constructing sustainable buildings, reducing its environmental footprint, and injecting green technologies and topics into its curriculum.

PHOTO: Kaplan Hall exteriorIn 2008, the SUNY Orange Board of Trustees made sustainability one of five strategic priorities in the College’s Strategic Plan 2009-2014. Additionally, the College has formulated a Sustainability Master Plan to guide its efforts, named a part-time sustainability coordinator to oversee plans and projects, and established a standing Sustainability Committee with representatives from all corners of the College.

During the past three summers, the College has operated on a four-day work week, reducing its energy usage. It has greatly expanded its recycling and e-waste programs. Boiler temperatures are lowered on weekends and during vacations, new lighting fixtures and compact florescent bulbs have been installed in many buildings, and several green infrastructure projects--campus rain garden and riparian stream buffer restoration along Wawayanda Avenue--have been completed.

The College’s Board of Trustees approved a policy requiring the College to construct all new buildings of 20,000 square feet or larger to LEED Silver specifications. SUNY Orange will soon be completing a Climate Action Plan and has received an Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant from Orange County, awarded through the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Resource and Recover Act, to perform an energy audit on its Middletown campus.

In addition, the Newburgh campus--which was not included in the College’s initial STARS submission but will be part of the next report--will be a bellwether for sustainability.

Kaplan Hall is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council for LEED Certification and includes many environmentally friendly features both internally and externally. A rooftop array of photovoltaic panels is expected to generate 2.5 percent of the building’s annual electric power needs. High-performance windows and sunshades will help moderate the building’s internal temperature. Energy efficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems will provide a high level of comfort and a healthy indoor environment.

The campus plaza serves as a green roof for the underground parking garage. Rainwater is collected from the roof of Kaplan Hall in underground cisterns for irrigation of the plaza greenery. Water efficient landscaping and native plants adorn the plaza. Upcoming renovations to the soon-to-be-reopened Tower Building will mirror some of the environmentally friendly features incorporated into Kaplan Hall.

Through all of its sustainability efforts, the College hopes to infuse systemic changes campus-wide that will create more efficient and environmentally friendly campuses in Middletown and Newburgh; create a College-wide “culture” of environmental stewardship via programming that stresses outreach, education and awareness; and raise the “Sustainability IQ” of students, faculty and staff through ongoing programs that promote current trends, the College’s “green” procedures and ways that the College community can become involved.

For more information on the College’s sustainability progress, visit or contact Kirsten Gabrielsen, sustainability coordinator, at (845) 341-4118.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940