Sustainability @ Paul Smith's College

Energy use at Paul Smith’s College

Solar array



energy banner


The solar array at Paul Smith’s College will promote solar energy development in the Adirondack Park, be an education tool for our community and serve as a symbol of our college communities’ commitment to renewable energy.

The college annually uses 4,000,000 Kwh, or electricity, the first fifth of the solar array that is currently installed will offset the college’s electricity consumption by .4% annually. The full solar array will supply the college with 1% of annual electricity use.

The array is located on the roof of the Joan Weill Adirondack Library.

Real time energy generation information will be displayed on the Paul Smith’s College website and on the flat panel in the Student Center.



Energy competition


John and meters



Three years ago energy meters will installed in every residence hall on campus as part of a Campus Sustainability Fund Competition.

Every spring semester, residence halls compete to see who can reduce their energy use the most.

There are weekly winners, so check your email to find out which dorm will get the weekly prize!

Check out a live monitor of residence halls’ energy use in the Joan Weill Student Center lobby.



LEED Certified Silver buildings on campus



LEED is a rating system for energy and environmental design based on a point system. All buildings that will be built on Paul Smith’s College in the future will have to be LEED certified Silver or better. A silver rating is 50 to 59 points. Paul Smiths College has two certified buildings. Both projects use geothermal heating and cooling systems with high efficiency heat pumps and high density spray foam insulation.

Overlook Residence hall is LEED Silver. Overlook houses 23 four bedroom apartments. The building features a permeable pavement, parking spaces for fuel efficient vehicles, a bike rack, locally sourced wood and passive solar.

The Paolozzi Center is LEED Silver. The Paolozzi Center is 5,800 square feet. It houses the Adirondack Watershed Institute and the Center for Adirondack Biodiversity. The building maximizes efficiency using geothermal heating and cooling and low wattage light bulbs.

PSC has the first district heating pellet boiler in Upstate NY!


Our pellet boiler system was manufactured in Troy, NY. The pellets come from Curran Renewable Energy in Massena and are sourced from local, sustainably harvested, FSC-Certified woodlots! In 2007, Paul Smith’s College was among the first to sign the Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Our current Climate Action Plan lists our carbon neutrality date as 2029. The installation of the pellet boiler is a significant step towards our goal of achieving carbon neutrality.

This new system will provide heat for our three academic buildings: Pickett, Cantwell, and Freer. It will contribute to PSC’s climate commitment goals by displacing 28,000 gallons of heating oil with renewable wood-pellet fuel each year.

This pellet boiler will be the first institutional mini-district heating grid connecting three buildings in New York State! The system will have paid for itself in 15 years and helps to support local forestry operations. The pellet boiler was provided at minimal cost to the college thanks to grant funding through NYSERDA.

For more information, contact Kate Glenn at

Renewable Energy Credits

Paul Smith’s College uses 4,000,000 kWh of electricity annually. In 2007 the college signed the Presidents Climate Commitment and decided to reach carbon neutrality by 2029. Electricity is a large part of that commitment and can be bought from sources that pollute the Earth but to offset doing that Paul Smith’s College purchases renewable energy credits from Renewable Choice since 2014. Renewable energy credits verify that for one megawatt of energy was generated another megawatt was created by a clean power facility and are then added to the grid. By adding more clean energy to the grid, domestic energy security is rising, the economy is growing and there is less pollution. Electrons are indistinguishable so they cannot be tracked once they enter the grid.

Joan Weill Adirondack Library

The Joan Weill Adirondack Library is home to the solar array, green roof and hydroelectric generator. The Adirondack Park was heavily populated with small scale hydroelectric facilities. The one that powered Paul Smith’s College out of the St. Regis River can be viewed on the second floor of the library.

The Library features a green roof. The green roof allows the facility to stay around 56 degrees. The layers of the roof include a concrete decking, four inches of ISO insulation set in type 3 hot asphalt, ¼ inch densdeck (thermal barrier), sopradrain and #2 round drainage stone.

How Much Electricity Did Our Library Solar Panel Generate this Month?

January 2016 Solar Electricity Generation


December 2015 Solar Electricity Generation





November 2015 Solar Electricity Generation


October 2015 Solar Electricity Generation


Check out this video on how solar panels are made!