Energetic Efforts

Cartoon by Stefanie Diers.

Throughout the 21st century, New Yorkers have placed a heightened emphasis on addressing issues of environmental sustainability to prolong human existence. Understanding the looming threats posed not only by global warming but smaller, micro-level determinants to our habitats, are crucial to ensuring safety for generations to come.

We at The New Paltz Oracle, while respecting Gov. Cuomo’s course of action on EO88, encourage him to take further action to promote environmental sustainability in New York. Considering the fact that EO88 does not include coverage requirements for private companies, this action will not have nearly as much of a positive impact on the environment as the administration leads us to believe.

Yes, it is a necessary step forward in the fight to make publicly-financed architecture more energy efficient, but it won’t solve the root of the problem which is inefficiency. Also, it doesn’t address the vast issues with private companies, whose facilities are not being properly incentivized to improve energy consumption. By offering adequate subsidies to private enterprises in order to promote sustainability, Cuomo could take a proactive statewide initiative toward energy reduction.

Here on campus, many sustainability initiatives have been taking place. New Paltz accomplished the requirement of submetering large buildings for electricity — this prior to the initiation of the order. One such attempt is the “SUNY New Paltz Unplugged” — a three-week energy conservation competition between residence halls.

Another part of the reduction strategy is focusing on creating more effective scheduling for classes in order to avoid having buildings in use at an earlier time. And though that idea appears to be beneficial on the surface, it is impractical considering how many students, faculty and staff use buildings for several hours a day on a regular basis.

With class schedules already being difficult enough to organize and implement, additional restrictions would make it that much more of a hassle for administrators and academic officials to plan their teaching schedules.

Other possibilities can include placing motion sensors in the buildings that are highly used on a daily basis. Installing these sensors would allow for lights to be turned off when there is nobody present in the room. Utilizing precise electricity measurements is crucial to promoting awareness of how much we actually leave things powered on unecessarily and what areas require improvements in efficiency.

New Paltz recently participated in an hour-long energy reduction plan on Wednesday, March 2, which included the use of generators, reduced lighting and exhaust systems being shut down. This plan did not impact any normal business activities in any academic department.

If there is a possibility where the campus can utilize this strategy more frequently, this will not only save more money from reduced energy use, but it can continue to fund more energy saving projects. EO88 provides more viability than other executive orders before it.

In the past, other executive orders did not seem to provide enough viability, unlike EO88. We hope to see the campus continue to strive for sustainability in all facets of life and expect the backing of our leaders in Albany. Cuomo is taking an appropriate step forward but could do so much more in his capacity as governor, which we as constituents expect out of our elected leaders.

Editorials represent the views of the majority of the editorial board. Columns, op-eds and letters, excluding editorials, are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The New Paltz Oracle, its staff members, the campus and university or the Town or Village of New Paltz.