February 28, 2002

Kyoto Now! Group Expands Its Goals

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Ten months after the Cornell administration agreed to make an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, student members of the Kyoto Now! campaign, faculty and staff continue to work to reach those goals.

Members of Kyoto Now! and the administration came to the agreement after a seven-day protest outside of Day Hall last April. The arrangement calls for a reduction of emissions by 2008 to a level seven percent below the 1990 level, or a significant effort toward this figure, in accordance with the international Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997.

One objective of the agreement was to form a project team comprising students, staff and faculty to assess campus energy use and make suggestions for reductions of it.

“[Members of the project team] meet with facilities and utilities managers biweekly to work on conservation efforts and formulate a plan for Cornell to meet protocol standards,” said Abigail Krich ’03, Kyoto Now! member.

A recent project implemented by the team has been an “energy-systems tuning and optimization,” which has involved an energy assessment of every building, according to Lanny Joyce, manager of engineering, planning, and energy management for the department of utilities and energy management.

This and other projects, including a campaign encouraging winter break energy conservation, have “resulted in at least a 10 percent reduction in energy use and in some cases up to a 20 percent reduction,” Joyce said.

Another effort to reduce emissions, in an independent study, “a group of engineers [are] designing and proposing a solar electricity array for the new West campus buildings,” according to Krich.

Two other courses have stemmed from the campaign.

“One is a natural resources class studying the feasibility of converting our co-generation plant’s fuel from coal to biomass,” Krich said.

The other is an independent study by one student who wants “to get computer labs to use the energy saver mode,” Krich said.

In addition to efforts at Cornell, Kyoto Now! members have recently attended environmental conferences in New York City, Michigan, Oregon and New Hampshire.

“The purpose of attending these conferences,” said Noah Pollock ’03, Kyoto Now! member, “was to share our experiences working to address climate change at Cornell and to create a network of colleges and universities who are trying to see the same things happen at their schools.”

Students at the conferences gave presentations and workshops discussing “strategies for addressing climate change at the university level,” according to Pollock.

Meantime, both Kyoto Now! and the University recognize that much work remains.

“Many projects and lots of work [are] ahead as we work to improve the current campus buildings. … We need the full cooperation and involvement of the campus community,” Joyce said.

“I think the Cornell community is up for the challenge today, as they have been in previous times when energy was front and center and in the public consciousness,” he added.

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