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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Offshore wind farms

A new research project – led by Rebecca J. Barthelmie, professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Sara C. Pryor, professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – is designed to unlock the power of wind energy by optimizing the spacing between wind turbines and wind turbine arrays to maximize power production.
 

Two students in a lab

If the cloth face covering can achieve levels of the FDA-approved face mask, the reusable cloth masks can replace the demand for disposable medical face masks for nonhealthcare professionals and provide accessible, affordable options to the public.

Solar panels

Cornell completed its 12th year of pursuing carbon neutrality and has published a greenhouse gas inventory showing carbon emissions have dropped by 36% from the 2008 baseline set as part of Cornell’s participation in the Second Nature Carbon Commitment. As detailed in the full greenhouse gas inventory, the Ithaca campus released 203,001 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) in 2019, compared to 318,624 MTCO2e 12 years prior. 

Annual sustainability report sections in circles

On Monday, September 21, the Campus Sustainability Office released its first-ever interactive annual sustainability report.
The annual report design process began with an intention to capture STARS Plantinum and make the 1,000s of metric points available in the full STARS report more accessible to the campus community and public by creating an engaging, interactive, data-driven online report. Here is a list of takeaways from the creation of the report, as compiled by the Sustainability Office's summer fellow.

Cornell campus

Four Cornellians have been appointed to three climate advisory panels that will inform the New York State Climate Action Council – a task force established by Gov. Andrew Cuomo – to guide the state and draft a plan toward a zero-carbon economy by the middle of this century.

The bright green algal blooms are prominent along the shore of Lake Victoria’s Kisumu Bay in Keny

The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year, $1.5 million grant for Cornell researchers to study the health dangers, changes in the lake food web, and socioeconomic challenges that arise when algal blooms produce toxins.

Doctoral candidate Alfredo Rodriguez, and Qingxuan Sun, a visiting Ph.D., install an Internet of Things-based outdoor air quality monitor

The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.5 million to Cornell engineers and researchers to help them bridge New York’s digital divide by designing the nation’s first statewide Internet of Things public infrastructure.

The solar power-generating trailer, developed by the Cornell University Sustainability Design group, shown here on the Arts Quad.

Designed and created by CUSD’s Solarize team, the solar power-generating trailer will help Cornell reduce carbon emissions while raising awareness of Cornell’s environmental initiatives, aimed at helping the campus achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.  

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Greek Life, already, is unsustainable environmentally. Overuse of plastics and metal cans combined with poor recycling practices is disastrous for sustainability. And COVID-19 isn’t making these problems any easier to solve.

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After identifying student climate literacy as a key metric to advance in it's first year, the Sustainable Cornell Council’s Education & Engagement Committee wrote, developed, and implemented Cornell’s first climate literacy module for incoming students this Fall.