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Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council and Nyserda Announce Energy Efficiency Projects at Cornell University

(February 14, 2013)

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council and Nyserda Announce Energy Efficiency Projects at Cornell University

The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (STREDC) today announced that Cornell University in Ithaca will advance energy efficiency projects and studies on the strength of $616,000 in awards from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative. The energy efficiency projects and studies will help the university continue to move toward its goals to cost effectively reduce energy usage and become a climate neutral campus.

“Cornell University is a national leader among academic institutions whose commitment to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship is a model example for other universities and colleges,” said Tom Tranter, President and CEO of Corning Enterprises and Regional Council Co-chair. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the Regional Council has supported green initiatives across the Southern Tier and these latest investments by the university will provide it with the means by which to reduce energy usage and costs and incorporate the savings back into its bottom line, helping both the environment and its students.”

“The investments announced today highlight the innovative action Cornell is taking to reduce its energy use and costs over the long-term,” said Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University and Regional Council Co-chair. “I applaud Cornell in its demonstration to other academic institutions that energy efficiency can and should be incorporated at every level throughout a campus setting.”

The awards include $476,000 for energy efficiency improvement projects and $140,000 for energy efficiency studies – both awards are being funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The $476,000 for projects leverages a $2.5 million investment by Cornell for projects expected to reduce electricity costs by $512,000 annually. The $140,000 for studies provides objective, customized information to help Cornell make informed energy decisions at 19 buildings. This work is part of Cornell’s overall Energy Conservation Initiative, a five-year program of up to $46 million across the entire Ithaca and Geneva campuses.

NYSERDA has worked closely with Cornell on dozens of projects over the past 10 years in a partnership that has included home energy efficiency education for residents, applied energy research and innovative improvements to Cornell’s operations.

“NYSERDA’s support of these projects continues our long-standing working relationship with the University and its enterprising energy efficiency program,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “Governor Cuomo has called for a reduction in energy consumption across New York State and these projects underscore the State’s commitment to helping reduce energy costs and emissions through energy efficiency projects. I commend the university’s leaders who understand the value of energy efficiency to the bottom line and to the environment, and their campus-wide approach is the most effective way to realize optimal results.”

“The Energy Conservation Initiative across our campus facilities is cost effectively reducing energy usage as a leading element in our sustainability plan. NYSERDA is a critical partner in all we do,” said KyuJung Whang, Vice President, Cornell University Facilities Services.

The energy efficiency improvement projects announced today are located at the Guterman Bioclimatic Laboratory and Greenhouse Complex, Kroch Library and agricultural growth chambers in 13 buildings. These projects are estimated to save 3.9 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, about 2 percent of the campus energy usage and the equivalent of enough electricity to power 566 average-sized homes for a year. The energy efficiency studies are expected to recommend additional energy savings opportunities in the areas of lighting, controls and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).

The project at the Guterman Climatic Laboratory and Greenhouse Complex is the largest of the recently funded projects at existing Cornell facilities, receiving $285,600 in NYSERDA incentives. It is projected to save $396,000 annually in energy costs.

The Guterman Complex, located on Tower Road in Ithaca, is a group of glass and plastic greenhouses used by the fruit and vegetable science, plant breeding, genetics, development and physiology of soil, and crop and atmospheric sciences programs for projects such as plant breeding research to develop disease- and pest-resistant crops. The lighting and controls upgrade includes a greenhouse-specific networked environmental control system for each of 47 greenhouse chambers, replacement and relocation of existing 1000-watt horticulture fixtures with 400-and 600-watt, dimmable high pressure sodium and metal halide fixtures that provide only the light spectrum and quantity needed by the plants, and implementation of a lighting management system to make the light more uniform and to take advantage of natural light rather than day-time electric lighting when possible.

The Kroch Library project includes energy efficient upgrades to the HVAC and lighting systems including replacing chiller-based dehumidification with heat-regenerated desiccant technology. The projects at the agricultural growth chambers in 13 buildings on the Cornell campus are for lighting fixture upgrades, and follow on previous projects that dramatically reduced both refrigeration and lighting energy usage also in partnership with NYSERDA.

“We’re grateful to the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council and NYSERDA for this meaningful investment in yet another set of exciting and groundbreaking initiatives at Cornell University,” said Senator Thomas F. O’Mara. “Our region continues to be proud that Cornell University stands at the cutting edge of technology, the forefront of innovation and research, and, through these efforts, remains a leader in forward-looking advances in energy efficiency and productivity.”

“I welcome Cornell University's example for the community, state and nation in its goal to become carbon neutral by 2050. We need to take steps now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, at the risk of increased climate instability, and I am pleased that the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council recognizes this urgency in providing funding for Cornell's energy efficiency projects," said Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton.

Funding for these energy efficiency projects at Cornell is from NYSERDA’s Existing Facilities Program (EFP), which helps nonresidential customers reduce their energy consumption, improve productivity, save money and make informed energy-related decisions in existing buildings. It offers a comprehensive strategy to realize energy savings by implementing cost-effective energy efficiency measures through an integrated approach.

Funding for the energy efficiency studies of the campus buildings is through NYSERDA’s FlexTech program, which provides objective and customized information to help customers make informed energy decisions. Program participants receive cost-shared analysis targeting their particular energy and business needs.

To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit For information on how the New New York is working for business, please visit