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Niagara University adding solar panels to roof of Dwyer Ice Arena

by jmaloni
Wed, May 18th 2011 01:30 pm

Niagara University is taking its sustainability efforts to the rooftops - but it's not to exult about again being named to the Princeton Review's register of the country's most environmentally responsible colleges.

Instead, NU began making its push to be included on that prestigious list for a third consecutive year by installing 45-kilowatt solar panels on the roof of Dwyer Ice Arena. It is the latest in the university's continuing efforts to develop a more sustainable campus, which have included eco-friendly renovations of DePaul Hall classrooms, LEED-certified construction of new buildings as part of its ongoing capital campaign, the installation of campus-wide recycling bins, and the planting of more than 75 trees throughout campus.

The solar panels are being installed on top of Dwyer Ice Arena to mitigate the facility's high electric usage, especially during the summer months when more energy is needed to cool the ice hockey rink. (Fittingly, summer also happens to be the season with the most sunshine.)

Installation of the panels, which will be completed later this week, is being handled by Solar Liberty, a Buffalo-based company that deals with outfitting homes and businesses with photovoltaic solar electric systems. The project is being undertaken at no cost to the university thanks to a grant from PowerPay! New York, a program that provides incentives for businesses to conserve electricity.

Guaranteed for 50 years, the solar panels are estimated to save Niagara approximately $8,000 each year while also decreasing the university's carbon footprint.

Niagara University was notified on April 26 that it will be profiled in "The Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition," marking its second straight year on the list of institutions recognized for demonstrating notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

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