Energy Conservation Initiative

Reducing energy use and maintenance issues, while improving the comfort and safety of campus buildings...


Energy Conservation is a Neutrality goal in the Cornell Climate Action Plan (CAP).



Complete Phase 1 of the Energy Conservation Initiative (ECI) and initiate Phase 2 to conserve energy in campus buildings.

Goal: Cornell’s Energy Conservation Initiative includes retrofits, replacements, and weatherization projects in buildings across campus. ECI projects are designed to optimize the energy efficiency of building automation and control systems, heat recovery systems, and lighting systems. Additional goals include increased occupant comfort and reduced maintenance expenses. ECI Phase 1 projects are expected to reduce Ithaca Campus utility costs by over $3 million per year by 2016. The completion of Phase 1 and full implementation of Phase 2 of the Energy Conservation Initiative would reduce university emissions by about 11,800 metric tons (CO2 equivalent) annually – roughly 5% of the current carbon footprint.

Building automation systems are microprocessor-based computers that monitor and control a range of building functions, including heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, refrigeration, lighting, fire and smoke alarms, utilities, elevators, access control, and intrusion detection. These systems are used in virtually every building on the Cornell campus. Dramatic and lasting conservation results can be achieved by optimizing Cornell’s building automation and control systems, heat recovery systems, and lighting systems. Conservation focused preventive maintenance on these systems reduces usage and maintains performance. Wherever feasible, the latest features are cost effectively retrofitted into existing systems.

Phase 1 of the university’s Energy Conservation Initiative from 2010 through 2015 allocated roughly $33M toward projects which met the criteria for either a 7-year billed or 10-year marginal payback. Marginal cost is the commodity only cost; while billed cost is the “all in” cost of supplying the utility to the end user, including Central Energy Plant personnel, debt servicing, maintenance, and so forth.

To date, Phase 1 ECI projects have saved over one million dollars in energy use and enabled the university to maintain a flat energy use profile, while increasing the Ithaca campus footprint by over one million square feet of new construction.
To date, Phase 1 ECI projects have saved over one million dollars in energy use and enabled the university to maintain a flat energy use profile, while increasing the Ithaca campus footprint by over one million square feet of new construction.




A full-time staff of two Certified Energy Managers and a Senior Engineer/ Director of Energy Management oversee the university energy management program for the central plant (supply side) and campus buildings (demand side). Completion of Phase 1 ECI projects is expected in 2015. Review completed ECI Project Summaries at http://energyandsustainability.fs.cornell.edu/em/projsum/default.cfm.

The second phase of the program would stretch the payback criteria to 20 years marginal or 15 years billed – to enable further energy reductions throughout campus facilities. The Phase 2 Energy Conservation Initiative aims to reduce Cornell’s marginal utility costs by $1.5 million per year. Cornell is presently tracking seven applications submitted to the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) New Construction Program to extend the ECI program and help fund the $12M cost of Phase 2 projects.

Next Steps

  • Complete Phase 1 ECI projects, including weather corrected regression analysis of energy savings from all projects by FY16.
  • Develop a timeline for conducting building energy studies to guide Phase 2 energy conservation projects.
  • Initiate and complete energy studies on approximately 10% of campus buildings each year.
  • Based on the results of the studies, develop a list of program priorities.

Resources

Meet with colleges and units to develop funding plans and continue to seek external funding, including NYSERDA rebates, for Phase 2 ECI projects.

Other Initiatives related to Energy Conservation include: