Sustainable Tompkins honors three Cornell projects

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Cornell's efforts in renewable bio-energy, green building and sustainable living were honored at this year's Sustainable Tompkins' Annual Holiday Party Dec. 7 at the First Presbyterian Church of Ithaca.

Sustainable Tompkins is a coalition of local citizens, organizations and professionals working to promote a more sustainable community.

The group recognized 80 organizations with "Signs of Sustainability" awards at the party.

Michael Hoffmann, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, accepted an award on behalf of the Cornell University Renewable Biofuels Initiative (CURBI). The initiative seeks to use on-hand resources from farms, forests and other operations in and around Ithaca to generate energy that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. CURBI would consolidate an array of technologies together in a single facility to harvest energy from materials ranging from hazelnut shells and switchgrass to leftover vegetable oil from campus dining facilities.

Sustainable Tompkins also recognized Cornell for its new green building policy that requires all new buildings and renovations over $5 million (nearly all building projects) to achieve a LEED Silver rating (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System) and to be at least 30 percent more energy efficient than national energy codes. Steve Beyers, services team leader at Cornell's environmental compliance and sustainability department, accepted the award for Cornell.

Finally, Cornell Lab of Ornithology postdoctoral associate Elise Ferree accepted the award for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Group for Sustainability, which works toward reducing the ecological footprint of the lab through van pooling, bike to work days, recycling, composting and other energy-saving efforts.

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Krishna Ramanujan