Cornell U. Creates Climate Action Plan

Biker on Cornell's Campus Photo

Image source: Cornell
Cornell University wants its students to all get zeros! Zeros in total emissions, that is. The university recently hired consultants to help develop a strategy to eliminate 320-kilo tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the university and get a perfect score in carbon neutrality. October 22, 2008 kicks off "Getting to Zero" Day on campus.The university has used hydropower since 1904 and in 2000 installed a lake-source cooling loop to use lake water temperatures to heat and cool the building. To get to zero, the campus will focus on on-campus activities like transportation, energy, green building, fossil fuel use and energy offsets.

Other adjustments already deployed by the University to meet its goals include a combined heat and power plant (set to go online in 2009) which will provide up to 80% of electricity needs on the main campus. In 2007, the campus won MTV's Break the Addiction Challenge for proving their campus has worked to educate students about reducing their carbon footprint. All new buildings over $5 million USD must meet LEED Silver standards, and the Alice H. Cook House residence hall, built in 2004 was the first LEED certified residence hall in New York. Since 1990, garbage has declined 40% through the increased use of composting and recycling on campus. Cornell U. expects to meet their emissions goal of 7% below 1990 levels by 2010, two years ahead of schedule.

Cornell University is home to over 20,000 students and roughly 14,000 faculty and staff. They have several campuses, but the main one is in Ithaca, New York. Cornell is a member and original signatory of the American College and University President's Climate Commitment.

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