January 2019 not only marked the start of the new year, but also the beginning of an impactful partnership between Urban Green Council and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in Syracuse. With funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Urban Green’s GPRO at Work™ will help SUNY ESF pursue and achieve the highest standards in green building, energy efficiency, and operations and maintenance.
SUNY ESF is the second organization to commit to GPRO at Work, with Weill Cornell Medicine in Manhattan being the first. The goals of both institutions are similar despite their differences—one an urban hospital, and the other a rural university. With a versatile approach, GPRO at Work aims to bring both closer to a shared vision of immersive staff development and training that results in measurable energy savings.
A REV Campus Challenge leader and home to one of the most impressive LEED-certified university buildings, SUNY ESF has always been at the cutting-edge of green practices. Sustainability Coordinator Alexandre Poisson confirms that GPRO at Work fits with SUNY ESF’s sustainability-focused mission. According to Poisson, “It’s very important for us to have training for our staff and best practices in operations and maintenance which can integrate into curriculum for students—the alignment is very clear.”
Joshua Arnold, the Director of Energy Management and Utilities, sees GPRO at Work as a return on investment and an opportunity to tackle campus energy systems outside of capital projects. “We know that operations and maintenance saves a phenomenal amount of energy if done correctly, and this program allows us to implement best practices to that end,” Arnold said.
Arnold expects that GPRO will help shift campus culture by bringing sustainability and operations and maintenance into the forefront. For example, integrating GPRO training into workforce development can attract talented, sustainability-minded individuals to their newly-greened department. The goal is for these staff to become well-versed in high-performance practices and create a more well-rounded workforce.
SUNY students are also eager to be involved—a few already took GPRO O&M training, and they’re launching an awareness campaign for Earth Week. As students represent the majority of building occupants, having them engaged in this process will be imperative to instituting behavioral change and energy conservation.
With the GPRO at Work program taking off at SUNY ESF and other participating institutions, the GPRO team will continue sharing out exciting updates as they come!