" "Sustainability Fast Facts

Looking for a quick run-down on some of Cornell's sustainability facts and highlights? The Sustainability Fast Facts provide an overview of our University's achievements and key commitments.

Do you have a fact you would like included in the Fast Facts? Send us an email.

This information is updated bi-annually.  For more comprehensive facts and figures, browse this website or contact our team.


Snapshot Facts

Last Updated June 2021


Public Engagement

 Campus Engagement

  • Residential composting launched in all campus housing in ’18-19, diverting 39 gallons of food waste per week 

  • Planning for a campus-wide strategic sustainability plan aligned with UN Sustainable Development goals is underway

  • 75 Green Offices and 15 Green Labs have been certified across campus

  • Winter Energy Setback avoids an average of ~$100,000 in electricity costs each year  

  • The Campus Sustainability Maps feature 300+ points of interest including the 21 green buildings, bike parking, composting locations & gender neutral bathrooms.

  • New student orientation events include sustainability and climate literacy

  • Entry & exit student survey measures sustainability literacy and engagement; 85% of student believe climate change is pressing issue, 70% stated they value attending a University with sustainability as core value

 Campus Operations

  • 0% growth in energy use since 2000

  • Over a third of the way to carbon neutrality with emissions down 36% since 2008.

  • 40,000+ solar panels power the campus providing 10% of campus electricity.

  • Renewable energy offsets 20% of campus electricity

  • 35% of the food budget goes to local or sustainable food

  • Total campus waste is down 1/3 in the last five years; reuse & reclamation doubled in the last year 

  • Water use has dropped 25% since 2005, with 116.5 million gallons conserved in the last year alone

  • Discounts for using your own mug at all dining locations

  • Composting is now available in every residential community on campus

  • Free bus pass for every new student at Cornell

  • 40+ student sustainability organizations

  • Peterson Parking Lot redesigned in 2018 filters stormwater pollutants and features native plantings 

  • A comprehensive LED lighting upgrade completed in 2019 will save the campus $5.6 million in the next 5 years 

  • Cornell Dining saved over 700lbs of plastic in food-plastic reduction pilot this year focused on grab-and-go food

  • Grounds Department worked with students to design and build a solar truck to power a fleet of battery-operated equipment with renewable energy 

  • Facilities & Campus Services has designed a mobile clean water station for use at Slope Day and other major campus events to help reach a goal of eliminating bottled water 

  • Composting rates have doubled in the last two years.

  • Water use has dropped 25% since 2005, with 116.5 million gallons conserved in the last year alone

  • Sustainable Landscape Trail launched in 2018 featuring focal points of research and practice on campus.

Academic Leadership

  • 33% of all faculty are involved in sustainability research, a 3% increase in the last two years

  • 18% of all courses include sustainability topics, up 8% in the last two years, spread across 79 departments

  • 544 faculty fellows are involved with sustainability research initiatives through the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability

  • Sustainability governance groups & Cornell Assemblies have all endorsed climate literacy goals for students & staff

  • 1500+ students have taken Leadership for Sustainability and Green Revolving Fund sustainability courses focused on peer education and campus operations