Reflections On Cornell's Progress In Sustainable Energy and Conservation

Cornell central campus utility emissions are 57% below our 1990 emissions...


By Anjelika Romeo-Hall

Over the course of the past year, sustainability initiatives at Cornell have made a significant reduction in energy use and carbon emissions, making 2012 a year of great importance exemplifying the success that Cornell has been working on for the past decade. The efforts around campus have exceeded the expectations of Cornell's Kyoto compliance goal that was set in 2001 of 9% below the 1990 emissions level. In fact, since 1990, the campus emission tally has decreased by 57%! Two decades ago central campus emissions were at 333k tons versus the tally that was most recently recorded this year with a value of 141k tons. Furthermore, the 2012 fiscal year carbon footprint for the campus has demonstrated a 32% reduction in Carbon Dioxide emissions since 2008. These reductions can be attributed to Cornell's new combined heat and power plant, the Beyond Coal initiative, building energy conservation, and improved electric grid emission factors.

There has been other exciting news circulating across campus, specifically regarding the work with Cornell's Hydroelectric Plant. With a controls upgrade and the efforts made by the Utilities Department to improve output operations and maintenance, the plant has increased production by 100% when compared with the 2008 GHG report. 

It is exciting to see that the numbers are showing significant results indicating that Cornell is striving in a direction of becoming a leader  in sustainability by utilizing clean energy and focusing on carbon reduction thereby making Cornell a more carbon neutral University.

As a signatory of the Carbon Commitment,Cornell submits greenhouse gas (GHG) reports every year. GHG reports for Cornell University (and all other signatory colleges and university) can be viewed on the Second Nature Reporting System.

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