Binghamton University was presented with a $400,000 grant from the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG) this past Thursday. The award — the third in the past four years from the corporation — brings NYSEG’s total contributions to the University to $1.2 million.
NYSEG’s award is part of a program that puts money into the Binghamton community’s effort for cleaner energy. The grant was presented by Carl Taylor, ‘98, president and CEO of NYSEG, at a news conference on Thursday in the Smart Energy Building at the Innovative Technologies Complex (ITC).
There, Taylor and BU President Harvey Stenger spoke about how the grant will help the Smart Energy Building and the University community. Awards like this one, according to Taylor, will help fund new research at the University, which will bring in new technology and businesses to campus and the local area.
“We hope these funds that assist in capital investments will attract new businesses to the area and to stay in New York state,” Taylor said.
BU also received two $400,000 grants from NYSEG in 2014. All of the grants will contribute to maintenance of the Smart Energy Building and improving the efficient energy technologies found in the complex. The Smart Energy Building is a relatively new addition to the ITC, opening in 2017 after five years of construction that cost around $70 million. The building houses facilities for research and education for physical sciences and engineering.
At the press conference, Stenger said the award would help the University grow.
“This most recent $400,000 allowed us to add equipment we probably could not have afforded without it,” Stenger said.
The University has also upgraded its energy efficiency outside the ITC, according to Sandy DeJohn, the utilities manager and sustainability coordinator for BU. Besides converting many lighting systems to LED, BU also converted from using coal to using wood chips to produce energy. System changes like these are an effort to reach energy efficiency goals.
“Binghamton University has committed to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 through sustainability efforts and renewable energy projects,” DeJohn wrote in an email.
The city of Binghamton is also attempting to provide cleaner energy alternatives. In August 2017, Binghamton was recognized by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority as a clean energy community, the first city to be recognized as such in the Southern Tier.
According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority website, in order to receive the award, local governments must complete at least four high-impact actions. Binghamton achieved this recognition by replacing all 6,700 street lamps, installing electric vehicle charging stations, streamlining the regulatory process for solar projects and retraining code officers on the best way to maintain an energy-efficient building.