Campus Sustainability News

News on campus sustainability initiatives, emerging programs, rankings, awards, student initiatives, green teams, and more from across the Cornell University campus.

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At a virtual community forum Jan. 19, a Cornell faculty and staff panel outlined the next steps for testing Earth Source Heat (ESH), the process by which water would be extracted from the Earth’s crust, its heat transferred to a separate supply of water flowing within Cornell’s heating distribution pipeline to heat most of the Ithaca campus buildings, and the original geothermal water returned to the subsurface

Earth Source Heat Graphic

If Cornell can demonstrate it's feasibility and really make some headway with this enhanced geothermal system, it could be put into use in many parts of the Appalachians, and potentially in similar locales around the world.

Energy Navigator graphic (compass)

Volunteer as an Energy Navigator! Accepting applications for the 2021 cohort. Application deadline: March 19th, 2021 .

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Cornell University will host a virtual community forum on Tuesday, January 19 from 6 to 7 p.m. to provide an update on the enhanced geothermal heating project which is central to the Climate Action Plan.

Two adults and one child's socked feet in front of a fire

Concerned about high energy bills, drafty rooms, or your carbon footprint? Interested in renewable energy sources? Join energy educators from Cornell Cooperative Extension and HeatSmart Tompkins in this three-part home energy resource series. Learn about steps you can take to save money and reduce household greenhouse gas emissions.
 

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What was the impact on campus energy use from reduced on-campus student presence and workforce, and changed operations, during the 2020 COVID pandemic?  Diving into data from the campus energy dashboard, a decline in energy consumption was offset by increased air handled and ventilation in campus buildings. 

Arctic ice in Greenland, shown above, is severely affected by climate change. Cornell Climate Engineering will model the effects of introducing aerosols into the stratosphere for reducing climate change impact.

Global warming reduction may someday get a cool new tool: climate engineering. The SilverLining Safe Climate Research Initiative has awarded a $500,000 grant to a Cornell engineering researcher, who will model the effects of introducing reflective aerosols into the stratosphere, which could deflect enough sunbeams to reduce Earth’s temperature and limit climate change impact.

Student pulling the plug

Before you leave campus for a much-deserved winter break, please join your colleagues in “powering down” your offices, labs, and common areas –your hard-working electronics need a vacation too!

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Each year, millions of disposable paper and styrofoam containers end up in landfills after just one use. As part of Cornell Dining's Sustainability Action Plan, we're taking steps to reduce the use of single-use disposable containers, especially as takeout meals have become a vital part of staying safe this year.

Dr. Ayana Johnson on a zoom lecture

The conference featured three days of problem-solving workshops, such as finding ways to engage students with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.