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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Cornell rankings

The University swept top spots in national sustainability rankings for the 2020 year after being recognized as one of the most sustainable higher education institutions by the Sierra Club, Princeton Review, AASHE's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, and the Carbon Commitment run by Second Nature.

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. 

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.

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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.  

Solar panels on roof

Cornell is part of the New York Higher Education Large Scale Renewable Energy consortium that is seeking to purchase electricity from large-scale renewable energy project.  The consortium released a Request for Proposals (RFP) this summer to begin soliciting projects in the United States.

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Cornell has secured a U.S. Department of Energy grant of $7.2 million to fund the next stage of Earth Source Heat development.  Earth Source Heat is Cornell’s version of an enhanced geothermal system that would use Earth’s internal heat to warm our campus, helping reach carbon neutrality by 2035.

Downtown crystal city, virgina

 A team of Cornell students found an artful way to snare the sun’s energy, store it and then optimize it for the built environment as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s inaugural Solar District Cup collegiate design competition.

Cornell campus as seen from drone

Effective immediately, the moratorium applies to new private equity and bond vehicles focused on fossil fuels, a category that makes up about 4.2% of Cornell’s long-term investments. That percentage is expected to dwindle to zero over time as existing investments mature and assets are redeployed to other areas, including renewables.

Cascadilla Solar Farm

The Cornell Daily Sun is the Cornell University student newspaper.  This story covers recent updates to Cornell's renewable energy profile.

Cascadilla Community Solar Farm, as seen from a drone in summer

Cornell reached a symbolic milestone in its journey to carbon neutrality when the campus power use was completely met by renewable energy last month.