SUNY Potsdam Marks Opening of $8M Combined Heat & Power Plant


SUNY Potsdam celebrated a green ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of its $8 million Combined Heat and Power Plant on April 21. For a full caption, please see the release.

SUNY Potsdam marked the opening of the College's $8 million Combined Heat and Power Plant in a ceremony held on April 21, in a fitting lead-up to Earth Day.

The cogeneration facility can generate electricity and produce steam from waste heat, increasing the College's efficiency from 45 to 75 percent for its heating and power plants. The Combined Heat and Power Plant is the largest campus-owned and campus-run facility of its kind in the SUNY system.

The landmark project will reduce SUNY Potsdam's energy use and shrink its carbon footprint, with the capability of providing between 70 and 100 percent of the College's electrical power requirements.

"Thank you for joining us to celebrate another milestone in Potsdam's 198-year history. This cogeneration facility both reduces the College's energy use and shrinks our carbon footprint by nearly one third," Interim President Dr. Dennis L. Hefner said at the ceremony. "This new facility places SUNY Potsdam among the nation's top colleges and universities in terms of significantly reducing our carbon footprint. It also provides us with the opportunity to lead by example, showing students how making investments in smarter infrastructure can both help the environment and reduce bottom line costs."

SUNY Potsdam has been studying the construction of a cogeneration facility since 1995, and finally obtained funding for the project in 2005, when it was sponsored by then-state Assemblymember Darrel Aubertine, who also spoke at the ceremony.

"I am so pleased to be here with you to see this state-of-the-art Combined Heat and Power Plant. I believe this is something that other campuses will be looking at as a model in the future," said Aubertine, who is now the special assistant for external affairs for the New York State Comptroller.

The $8 million initiative was included in the Capital Plan through the SUNY Construction Fund, and was a campus-led project. Construction was completed in March 2014, and the plant is now on line, following the completion of an extensive interconnect study and agreement with National Grid.

Assistant Vice President for Facilities Tony Ditullio and Energy Manager Thomas Smith led tours of the plant, and answered questions about cogeneration technology. In keeping with the sustainable theme of the event, campus officials then gathered to cut a green recycled ribbon to officially celebrate the opening of the Combined Heat and Power Plant.

Pictured are, from left: Interim President Dennis Hefner, SUNY Construction Fund Capital Program Assistant Director Scott Lewis, NYS Comptroller's Special Assistant for External Affairs Darrel Aubertine, Assistant Vice President for Facilities Tony Ditullio, Sustainability Coordinator Kelly Carter and Energy Manager Thomas Smith.

The Combined Heat and Power Plant will significantly advance the College's commitment to reduce its impact on the environment and on climate change. Governor Andrew Cuomo has called on state agencies to reduce electricity use by 20 percent by the year 2020, and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher has also called on campuses to cut energy consumption in "The Power of SUNY" strategic plan.

SUNY Potsdam is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. For more information about sustainability at SUNY Potsdam, visit


Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,300 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts. Empowered by a culture of creativity, the campus community recently launched Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, which aims to raise $27 million by the College's bicentennial in 2016.