Dec. 22, 2008

Help conserve energy during winter break

During last year's winter break, more than $100,000 in energy costs was saved as Cornellians across campus made extra efforts to shut down equipment, turn down the heat and unplug appliances.

"Saving energy over the holidays has a greater urgency this year due to the financial challenges facing the university," said Stephen Golding, executive vice president for finance and administration, in an e-mail to the campus community Dec. 18. "This year's break is slightly longer, and, with renewed commitment, I know we can increase the savings even more."

Facilities staff members have been working with units to reduce scheduled operation of building energy systems.

"Our efforts are even more critical this year with the formal transition from striving toward a Kyoto Treaty compliance goal, adopted in 2001, to moving toward a climate neutral future where Cornell's net global warming-gas emissions from campus energy use, commuting energy use and university sponsored air travel approach zero," said Lanny Joyce, manager of engineering, planning and energy management.

"Cornell's long-standing commitment to energy conservation has resulted in nearly flat energy use from 1990 to 2008, a period of significant growth and new space addition," Golding said. "Our Energy Conservation Initiative includes conservation-focused maintenance, energy studies and projects, and outreach. Savings in 2009 are expected to exceed $6 million annually. This is an exceptional accomplishment for which we can all be very proud."

Some recommended steps to conserve campus energy during the break are:

Golding also suggested requesting Energy Star or the highest efficiency available when purchasing office or laboratory equipment to reduce life-cycle costs and energy use.