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This collection of resources provides information to help you achieve your clean energy goals. These resources include everything from understanding your campus’s current energy use to implementing clean energy projects, as well as additional challenge opportunities available to colleges and universities.

Where do I start? Understanding campus energy use

Before jumping into capital improvements, it’s important to understand how your energy is being used. Establishing an energy baseline will help you understand existing on-campus energy conditions, which can then be used to manage changing campus energy needs. . The tools below may help campuses to more easily realize and evaluate their energy usage before undergoing major changes.


  • ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a benchmarking tool used to measure and track the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of your entire portfolio of buildings and share results. Local Law 84 (LL 84) requires that owners of large buildings compare energy performance on an annual basis through benchmarking.

Carbon Neutrality


Training - Educate faculty and staff about clean energy practices

The following organizations and resources can help campuses further faculty and staff clean energy education.

Campus Engagement - Strategies to boost campus involvement

College and university administration, faculty, staff, and students alike can take part in these campus engagement strategies that operate nationally.

  • The Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN)Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. is the largest electricity and water reduction competition for colleges and universities in the world. This competition is jointly organized by the U.S. Green Building Council, Lucid, National Wildlife Federation, and Alliance to Save Energy. CCN motivates students across North America, all working together to reduce consumption and the impacts of climate change.
  • Generation E: Students Leading for a Sustainable, Clean Energy FutureLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. is a suitable source for students and faculty to see how other campuses across the country have brought awareness to sustainability and energy efficiency.
  • Campus Race to Zero Waste Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. is a competition for colleges and universities to motive students to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste.

Financial Assistance - Help financing your clean energy project

In addition to financial assistance options offered by NYSERDA and utilities, support may also be available through the following entities:

  • The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. It is a suitable source to search for programs that apply specifically to New York State.
  • Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) is a public benefit corporation certified to finance and build higher education, health care and other public purpose facilities across New York State. DASNY has resources available that are dedicated to resident hall construction projects.
  • Energize NY FinanceLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. is an innovative product to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades in commercial properties. Energize NY Finance leverages the Property Assessed Clean Energy, better known as PACE, structure to provide access to capital, extended loan terms, transferability and other benefits.
  • Energy Savings Performance Contracting is a budget-neutral method to implement building upgrades that reduce energy and water use and increase operational efficiency. For further information on the overall process, ICF International and the National Association of Energy Services Companies prepared an introductory guide energy performance contracting.
  • Green Revolving Funds: An Introductory Guide to Implementation and Management provides practical guidance for designing, implementing, and managing a green revolving fund at a college, university, or other institution.
  • New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC) is a non-profit specialty finance company that assists with financing solutions to support projects that save energy or reduce greenhouse gases. NYCEEC provides loans for buildings located within the five boroughs of New York City.
  • The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has funded energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for public universities throughout New York State. NYPA provides a variety of energy services and renewable energy programs which include lighting upgrades, installation of efficient chillers and boilers and energy management systems.
  • NY Green Bank is a state-sponsored, specialized financial entity working with the private sector to increase investments into New York’s clean energy markets, creating a more efficient, reliable and sustainable energy system.

Project Planning - How to get the job done

The following resources can help colleges and universities prepared to make clean energy changes on campus. These helpful links include plans for climate neutrality, effective updates for historical buildings, modifying energy use, and more.

  • The ACUPCC Implementation Guide provides participant institutions with guidance in navigating the implementation of the ACUPCC in order to submit reports, plan for climate neutrality, and create programs to advance sustainability on campus.
  • The Building Life Cycle Cost Programs were developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to provide computational support for the analysis of capital investments in buildings.
  • The Building Performance Toolkit is a free, online resource for property managers who want to improve energy efficiency and performance in their commercial properties. The guide details savings opportunities through modifications in energy use, water use, illumination, indoor air quality, and more.
  • The Business Incubator Association of New York State, Inc. provides a list of clean/renewable-energy incubators created as a result of contracts issued since 2009 NYSERDA.
  • Going Underground on Campus: Tapping the Earth for Clean, Efficient Heating and Cooling is a geothermal energy guide intended for higher education administrators, staff, faculty and students.
  • GRITS is a web-platform developed by the Sustainable Endowments Institute to help colleges and universities better track and share energy efficiency project data. GRITS already helps over 400 institutions more effectively manage project-level energy, financial, carbon and other resource data. Free basic access to GRITS is available to APPA members and Second Nature signatories, and plus funding for GRITS is available under the REV Campus Challenge Technical Assistance for Roadmaps program.
  • Improving Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings offers tips and practices for improving energy efficiency in historical buildings. Starting points include performing an energy audit to assess the current state of the building, and prioritizing updates that will provide the most payback. In terms of implementation, this guide offers suggestions for operational changes, equipment and appliances.

Additional Opportunities

Members of Clean Green Campuses may also be interested in participating in one of the following voluntary clean energy goal-setting and reporting platforms. These entities also offer additional resources regarding sustainability in relation to higher education.

  • The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is a non-profit membership organization that allows higher education faculty, administrators, staff and students work towards improving sustainability on campuses. AASHE manages the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.
  • The NYC Carbon Challenge is a plan to reduce New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability provides tools that apply specifically for universities.
  • Second Nature is the lead supporting organization for American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). In 2015, building on the history of the ACUPCC, Second Nature rebranded and expanded the ACUPCC and the Alliance for Resilient Campuses (ARC) by incorporating them as Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Commitments.