Apply for a Campus Energy Reduction Grant 

Campus Sustainability Office November 23, 2021
Plugging electronics into a smart power strip
By taking small actions like using a smart power strip that reduces phantom energy use, our small actions add up across campus. | Image: Getty Images

The Energy & Sustainability Department and Campus Sustainability Office at Cornell University has established a new grant program this year to support initiatives and campus upgrades that measurably reduce energy consumption on campus.

Building on several decades of successful implementation of large-scale energy saving measures on campus through the ongoing Energy Conservation Initiative, the new grant was launched as part of the 2021 Energy Smackdown competition. The new grant aims to empower the campus to identify and implement deeper energy savings projects where they live, work, and learn. 

Grants will provide up to $1000 per team for projects centered around campus energy conservation. Awards will be announced in early Spring 2022 and projects are expected to be completed by June 2022. 

  • Apply for a Campus Energy Reduction Grant

  • Application Deadline Extended:  February 18th, 2022
    Grants to be awarded early Spring 2022 and must be implemented by June 30th, 2022.
  • Grant Details

  • Proposals must outline a specific, measurable, and implementable project for a specific space on campus that will reduce energy use. For instance, a proposal might outline the need to purchase "Cozy Toes" personal warmers for all members of a specific department, or installing additional insulating window panes over old window seals in a specific classroom. See below for example projects. Proposals that encourage behavior change or community engagement are eligible but must make a case for demonstrating meaningful energy reduction.  

  • The proposal must be implementable within the fiscal year (no later than June 2022) and have a budget of no more than $1,000.
    Proposals are expected to generally be between $500 and $1,000. 

  • Eligibility

  • All members of the Cornell community are eligible to apply for funding. Proposals are welcome for all spaces – labs, offices, shops, and residential buildings. All projects must have the approval or sign-off of relevant space managers - for instance, Facilities Managers or Residential Hall Directors.  

  • Evaluation Criteria

  • Proposals will be evaluated based on their overall effectiveness in energy reduction, and:

    • Feasibility in scope and timeline

    • Ability to measure (or estimate) energy savings resulting from the project

    • Cost-effectiveness, such as kWh reduction per dollar spent

    • Energy reduction must take place on campus

    • Potential for education, engagement, creativity, and collaboration, by creating a culture of energy-saving and sustainability on campus

    • Approval and support from appropriate department leaders, team members, and Facilities Managers

  • How to Apply

  • For projects to be considered, the full application must be submitted via Qualtrics by February 18th, 2022.

  • This includes the following three items: 1) application form, 2) written project description, and 3) supporting documentation. You will need to provide the names of your Facilities Manager and department supervisor and attest that the project proposal has received their endorsement.

  • Application Form

  • Grant Awards

  • If a proposal is approved, the applicants will meet with members of the Energy & Sustainability Department to finalize implementation plans, such as making purchases or retiring equipment.  Proposals must be able to be enacted by June 30th, 2022, the end of the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

  • Questions and Support

  • For support on this project please contact the Campus Sustainability Office at

Example Projects

  • Upgrading old, energy-guzzling appliances with newer, more energy-efficient models.  For instance, many spaces could replace old refrigerators or freezers used for research, or, apply for the grant to help offset the costs for more energy-efficient appliances.

  • Lighting projects that switch out traditional incandescent or CFL bulbs for high-efficiency LED lighting

  • Upgrading lighting controls to include room occupancy senors, which reduces energy by turning off the lights when a space is not being used.

  • Efficiency swaps are a great energy saver.  Consider exchanging space heaters for cozy toes or in a laboratory space, swapping gas Bunsen burners for electric models that do not require fossil-fuel use.

  • Windows are another easy area for energy savings.  Apply to install shades or curtains to help with insulation, installing storm windows, weather-stripping, or window insultation kits.

  • Amplify energy savings by investing in new remote or flex-work tools.  Purchase items that enable teams to work from home effectively and efficiently, such as power strips or LED bulbs, or equipment that makes remote participation easier. (This proposal would need to demonstrate that funds are used to enable new changes in flex work capacity that reduces energy use on campus).

  • Other: Submit your own innovative ideas!