2013 Sustainability Snapshot

Cornell's sustainability efforts show impressive results...


By Joseph Spivak '16, Sustainability Communications Intern

The Campus Sustainability Office has just released its 2013 Sustainability Snapshot. The results are extraordinary:
  • Carbon emissions have been reduced by a third since 2008
  • 1/4 of all dining hall meals are sourced locally and sustainably
  • The amount of waste sent to landfills each year has decreased by 700 tons since 2005
  • Annual water consumption has dropped by 15 million gallons since 2005
  • Although the Ithaca campus has grown by 20% since 2000, energy use has only increased 4% due to energy conservation efforts
  • Campus energy use has decreased 7% since 2011, a direct result of the recent Energy Conservation Initiative
  • 480 courses are sustainability-related, and 312 faculty members are involved in sustainability research
  • The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences launched a new sustainability major and campus-wide climate change minor

This real impact has led to national recognition, as Cornell is ranked the #5 "Coolest School" by the Sierra Club (up from #10 in 2012) and is ranked in the top 1% Greenest Schools by the Princeton Review 2013. Also, on September 23, 2013, Cornell was presented with the Global District Energy Climate Award in acknowledgment of our sustainability efforts.
However, our work is far from over - a 2 Megawatt solar farm is planned for Ithaca, and the first net-zero energy academic building is currently in final design for the Cornell NYC Tech campus.
While these endeavors are promising, it will take the efforts of the entire Cornell community to completely eliminate our net carbon emissions by 2050. This is what you can do to help:

  • Join one of the 29 sustainability-related student organizations on campus: from Greeks Go Green, to CU Compost Club, to Engineers for a Sustainable World, there really is something for everyone
  • Support Cornell's sustainability initiatives: make use of your free Take Back the Tap reusable water bottle, compost at all Cornell Dining locations, and unplug your devices/power strips when not in use
  • Take a sustainability-related class or get involved in sustainability research

Views expressed in News posts may not be those of Cornell University. No endorsement is implied.