Cornell Energy Corps Working to Promote Energy Efficiency on Campus

After one year, Energy Corps has made progress in tackling energy retrofit projects...


By Anjelika Romeo-Hall

Founded last spring, the Energy Corps at Cornell has taken significant action to promote and develop sustainable energy in Cornell University buildings. It is a fast growing student initiative with an executive board as well as a general body composed of students from all sectors of the campus. They have shown a cooperative and dedicated work ethic to tackle areas of campus where simple energy retrofits yield significant energy and dollars saved for Cornell utilities. Throughout the course of the past year they have developed projects such as an energy retrofit strategy in Mann library where the group was able to switch 100W incandescent light bulbs in 61 desk lamps with GE Reveal 15W compact fluorescent light bulbs. The project cost a total of $305 and will result in a minimum $88 in annual utility savings. As of now, the projects that the corps have proposed, have been funded by the Energy and Sustainability Office.

 Yet, there are opportunities to expand funding sources so the corps will be able to tackle more than the low-hanging fruit of energy upgrades in Cornell Buildings. Ultimatley, the goal would be to have Cornell sign on with a Green Revolving fund. This entails a part of the university’s endowment to be directed towards sustainability initiatives, such as the initiatives proposed by Cornell Energy Corps and other sustainability groups on campus. As an incentive for Cornell if they are to sign on board with the fund, the money saved by the groups who are utilizing this money for energy reduction, would be cycled back to the endowment fund.

 The Energy Corps has recently developed a website in which information can be found regarding which other sectors of campus they would like to retrofit. Buildings they have noted thus far and would like to propose for projects coming up this semester include the lightbulbs in Mann elevators, hallways in the ILR conference center, as well as lighting in Statler, and Willard Straight Hall (just to name a few). They have also identified the need for water conservation retrofitting in Plant Science by means of low-flow faucets and toilettes. With these projects there is the strong need for a larger funding source. One can see the need for the implementation of funding strategies such as the Green Revolving Fund.

 The Energy Corps is additionally working to promote sustainable energy and conservation through educational events such as “energy hunts”. Students are able to perform energy assessments with provided checklists and will circulate through buildings on campus seeking areas for potential energy retrofitting opportunities.

 With that, the Corps is hoping to extend their efforts into the community and collaborate with not only other sustainable student initiative groups on campus, but to reach out to members or energy efficient organizations in the community for support and to help guide them on their path to promote energy efficiency throughout the campus.

 More information on the Corps can be found on their website at

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