The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) received the first annual Cornell Partners in Sustainability Award April 21 for its leadership and financial support of innovative and forward-thinking projects, from campus construction to research and extension.
The ceremony in the Weill Hall atrium included NYSERDA officials, Cornell administration, faculty and operations staff, a diverse audience that was a testament to NYSERDA's important role in Cornell sustainability efforts -- as both a partner in the development of campus infrastructure and as a supporter of research and extension work.
During the ceremony, Thomas Lynch, NYSERDA's director of external affairs, presented Cornell with a "High-Performance Building" plaque in recognition of Weill Hall's energy-saving technology. The new life sciences building features state-of-the-art systems that reduce energy use 30 percent and save $124,000 per year, the equivalent of 135 single-family homes. NYSERDA contributed $70,000 toward the building's energy initiatives and eventual LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
Kyu-Jung Whang, vice president for facilities services, who presented the award to NYSERDA, noted that Weill Hall is just one example of the partnership that has advanced sustainability throughout New York state. Since 2001, NYSERDA has supported more than 25 Cornell research projects, as well as energy-saving homeowner programs through Cornell Cooperative Extension.
"Through this inaugural award Cornell seeks to acknowledge that the science and engineering needed to develop green solutions cannot be separated from the ecological study of Earth's integrated human and natural systems or from the social and ethical dimensions of human behavior and well-being," said Frank DiSalvo, director of the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, who opened the ceremony.
The annual Cornell Partners in Sustainability Award will be given to one or more recipients who have made significant contributions to sustainable development in New York through collaboration with Cornell. The award will be given in April, as part of campuswide Sustainability Month activities.
Lauren Chambliss is a communications specialist with the Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station in Ithaca.