GUEST ROOM | Bringing Cornell Together To Make Progress Toward Carbon Neutrality

In recent months, many campus conversations have focused on Cornell’s commitment to adopt 2035 as the end date for achieving carbon neutrality on the Ithaca campus. The degree of interest in our progress, spurred by strong direction from Cornell’s shared governance groups, shows that fostering sustainability remains a powerful realization of our core value to develop and disseminate knowledge that helps solve the world’s most complex problems.
Cornell is dedicated to leading in the research and educational efforts to combat climate change, and our campus serves as a living laboratory to create, test and demonstrate solutions to the global crisis. Cornell has a superb history in making bold investments in sustainability, most notably our lake source cooling system, which operates with a fraction of the electricity use and environmental impact of traditional systems, and our recent commitment to renewable energy via geothermal heat and solar panels on Roosevelt Island. Because of creative, collaborative approaches to energy generation and conservation, our Ithaca campus has seen a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions since 2008, and no increase in building energy usage since 2000, despite a 20 percent growth in square footage. We added solar panels to the rooftops of two campus buildings over the last three months, and we have shaped fresh approaches to harnessing solar energy through our two new solar farms. We also continue to pursue hydropower, wind and other renewable energy sources to meet our campus electricity needs.