Green Then, Green Now
Whether it's our research focus on solar energy, experiments with hydrogen fuel cell technology, or our campus fleet of battery-powered automobiles, we're no strangers to the idea of protecting the environment. In fact, we've been doing it since our creation as an agricultural college. Now, as a leading technology college, we're changing the ways to think about renewable energy.
At Farmingdale State College, we don't have to "Go Green." We've been doing it for 100 years.
For instance, the Solar Energy Center is the site of the first utility scale photovoltaic demonstration project in the northeast U.S., and the College plans to a build an alternative fuel area on campus. We also will expand our solar panel array, which reduces the campus power consumption, saving on energy and energy costs, and the Institute for Research and Technology Transfer (IRTT) is continuing to build a small-scale hydrogen-solar powered model home.
The model—300 times smaller than the average U.S. home—is fitted with two 17 x 17-inch solar panels that produce a maximum combined power of 50 watts. This solar energy is utilized to power a number of small electric motors that symbolize household appliances such as a washer, dryer, refrigerator, and microwave. The extra solar energy from the panels is used to generate hydrogen, which is stored and used to provide power after sundown.
The IRTT also tests and evaluates various grades of bio-fuels used for powering small and large vehicles. The efforts by Farmingdale, in collaboration with Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory, may someday lead to renewable, energy-efficient fuels that will reduce the nation's dependency on foreign oil.
Farmingdale also is a partner in the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at Stony Brook, which develops alternative and renewable sources of energy, in addition to many other Green Energy initiatives. Farmingdale and Stony Brook are partners in efforts to develop renewable and portable energy sources which have applications in disaster sites and military environments.
Last year, the College purchased six all-electric vehicles for campus use, and the majority of the institution's fleet of nearly 50 cars is now flex-fuel designed or electric. The four-passenger, silver-painted vehicles are powered by batteries that can go about 60 miles before needing a charge and require minimal maintenance. Used primarily by the staff members of the heating plant, mail room, plumbing department, and custodial services, the cars are reliable and easy to operate.
In 2015, the campus Smart Energy House was unveiled. A 2,000 square-foot, single family, three-bedroom residence, the house is the first one of its kind on any of the 64 State University of New York (SUNY) campuses. It’s “Smart” because it’s equipped with a smart meter, which will control all of the appliances in the house, even from remote locations. The “Energy” part refers to the way the house is powered: solar energy, solar thermal for hot water, and a hydrogen fuel cell, to power the house on cloudy days and at night.