Statler renovations to save $3.1 million, reduce greenhouse gas footprint

Campus Sustainability Office September 21, 2022
Students sitting in Statler Hall reading by a window
Students work in Statler Hall on the first day of in-person classes, Spring 2022 semester. Photo Credit: Jason Koski (UREL)

Renovations to Statler Hall and Hotel as part of the Energy Conservation Initiative have yielded energy and carbon savings on campus this year.

Energy conservation is the first line of action in Cornell's Climate Action Plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035.  Projects such as the Statler upgrades target important changes to the way buildings heat, cool, and manage schedules for energy use which are often invisible to building users.

The Energy Conservation Initiative (ECI) is a Cornell department with Facilities that studies and identifies high-impact energy-saving projects across the Ithaca campus, as well as in off-campus contract colleges and real estate holdings for the University.   ECI is managed by a dedicated team in the Energy Management Department who identify and implement three types of upgrades: building automation & controls, heat recovery, and lighting systems. 

This year, Statler received a series of energy upgrades through the program, including upgrades to 17 building air handling units, installing new instrumentation to allow for more detailed heating and cooling programming, and updating electronic equipment controls. 

While most of the project's upgrades are invisible to building occupants, the upgrades will ensure long-term energy efficiency and carbon-savings. 

The cost of the upgrades was over $1 million, with a cost reduction provided by a NYSERDA Carbon Challenge Grant and a signifigant $600,000 commitment from Statler.

Even with this significant up-front cost, due to energy savings, the project will pay itself back in under 5 years with a net financial benefit to the University of over $3.1 million dollars. 

"...the [Statler Upgrades] project will pay itself back in under 5 years with a net financial benefit to the University of over $3.1 million dollars." 

The buildings will now have energy use reduced by a median average 10,179 MMBtus per year, or over 152,690 MMBtus over the life of the project.

Energy savings translate into greenhouse gas emissions savings.  The upgrades will also reduce 12,709 MTCO2e over the lifetime of the project. 

To learn more about the cumulative impacts of the ECI program, visit the Energy Conservation Initiative dashboard.