Building Energy Standards Policy

Achieving a goal of 50% lower energy use...

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A Building Energy Standards Policy is a Leadership goal in the Cornell Climate Action Plan (CAP).



Adopt a university-wide policy that all new construction projects and renovations valued over 5M should achieve a minimum 50% energy savings compared to the baseline established by ASHRAE 90.1.

Goal: The 2009 Climate Action Plan (CAP) prescribed Energy Use Intensity (EUI) standards by building type to ensure that future construction on campus would be optimized to limit energy consumption. Cornell’s current EUI standards reduce laboratory and office energy use by 30% over the energy-code-compliant baseline (ASHRAE 90.1). The 2009 CAP recommended that, in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the university should ultimately require new buildings on campus to limit energy usage to 50% of the industry standard baseline. Achieving a goal of 50% lower energy use effectively reduces the rate of growth in GHG emissions by half.

Energy use intensity (EUI) is calculated by dividing the total energy consumed by a building in one year (measured in kBTU) by the gross floor area of that building (measured in square feet). As of 2008, Cornell's policy is for all major new and renovated
Energy use intensity (EUI) is calculated by dividing the total energy consumed by a building in one year (measured in kBTU) by the gross floor area of that building (measured in square feet). As of 2008, Cornell's policy is for all major new and renovated

In 2008 Cornell’s Trustees approved a policy that Ithaca Campus new construction projects over $5M total project cost must attain US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at a minimum of Silver level, and that these projects must achieve a minimum 30% energy savings compared to the baseline established by American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1, the national standard for energy efficient buildings. Current performance for buildings constructed since 2008 is averaging 35-40% below the ASHRAE standard. It is important to note that the ASHRAE standard becomes more stringent as it is updated, effectively raising the bar on building energy performance over time. Cornell’s Facilities Engineering Department will continue to review the university’s EUI standards to assure that our goals are both ambitious and achievable. To make ongoing reductions, we need to evaluate the type of project being proposed and work with our engineers to set realistic goals for that type of project.

Next Steps

  • Continue the development of a policy for smaller renovation projects regarding the improvement of building envelope performance.
  • Adopt realistic interim goals and reinforce that these are minimum standards.
  • Encourage project teams to continually improve performance by making building envelopes tighter and building systems more sophisticated.

Resources

Achieving the long-term goal will require innovation and discipline, as well as steady enforcement of interim EUI goals.