The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recognized the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with a High Performance Building Plaque for energy-saving investments that will reduce energy costs by a combined $49,558 annually.

In addition, RIT’s University Services Center became the first building in Monroe County to receive LEED Platinum certification and was the second facility among colleges or universities in New York to be credited with such an achievement, according to the college.

RIT’s University Services Center project was supported by $170,581 in NYSERDA incentives, which helped fund the implementation of energy efficiency improvements such as a high-efficiency HVAC system, high-efficiency lighting and premium-efficiency motors that meet NYSERDA requirements. The NYSERDA funding leveraged $225,853 in investment by RIT.

The building’s energy savings-more than 360,085 kilowatt hours annually-is equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed by approximately 50 single-family homes and will be realized by the institution every year for years to come.

“We commend Rochester Institute of Technology on raising the bar for sustainability leadership,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA.

“RIT has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to obtaining LEED Platinum certification by combining energy efficiency and renewable energy resources to make the building a model for energy savings while decreasing its use of fossil fuels.”

The University Services Center is a 54,000-square-foot, three-story office building to house student support and administrative services. The building includes a 10,000-square-foot, single-story “innovation center” with an open floor plan to display RIT innovation projects.

RIT’s initial goal was LEED Silver certification. However, it moved to LEED Gold through energy modeling made possible with participation in the NYSERDA New Construction Program and the desire to push the boundaries on energy conservation, the use of natural lighting to illuminate spaces and building material selections. RIT added the purchase of renewable energy certificates and the installation of a photovoltaic (PV) solar energy system to decrease the building’s carbon footprint. The PV system serves as a teaching tool and helped increase the Services Center’s LEED certification to the Platinum level.

“The latest LEED Platinum achievement is a new benchmark for our university with far-reaching impact on our future design, engineering and construction practices where superior performance, finalized with a successful project commissioning, becomes a new norm,” said RIT’s Sustainability Manager Witold Bujak. “This success sends a strong signal that RIT is on its way to becoming a sustainability leader.”

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System was designed by the U.S. Green Building Council to encourage and facilitate the development of more sustainable buildings.

NYSERDA High Performance Building Plaques are presented to hospitals, colleges and universities, schools, businesses and other organizations that have constructed or substantially renovated buildings to perform at least 30 percent above the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code. RIT’s University Services Center is expected to perform 50 percent more efficiently than a code-compliant building.
Since 2009, NYSERDA has provided more than $6.5 million to help reduce electricity consumption by approximately 22.8 million kilowatt hours in 119 new construction projects throughout Monroe County-the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of nearly 3,315 single-family homes.

NYSERDA’s New Construction Program provides assistance to incorporate energy efficiency measures and sustainable building practices into the design, construction and operation of new or substantially renovated buildings. Green building incentives also are available to customers pursuing LEED certification. These measures are designed to save energy through reduced electricity demand, and therefore reduce building operating costs.

For existing facilities, NYSERDA incentives can be used for lighting retrofits, upgrades to motors systems, energy management systems, heating and cooling systems and other operations. Assistance also is available for energy audits to help indentify cost-effective opportunities to increase energy efficiency, develop greenhouse gas emission inventories and more.

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The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.