Engineering launches 'Think Big, Live Green' campaign

Abbey Alexiades and Gail Bauman
Blaine Friedlander/Cornell Chronicle
Two of the College of Engineering’s Green Ambassadors, Abbey Alexiades, left, administrative assistant in the dean’s office, and Gail Bauman, associate director for corporate and foundation relations, discuss how they get to work. Alexiades rides a bike, while Bauman hops a bus.

Cut out, pay back, smack down, tune in and turn off: It’s time for “Think Big, Live Green,” a major energy and waste reduction campaign being launched today (Sept. 4) by the College of Engineering and the Energy and Sustainability department in Cornell’s Facilities Services.

Throughout the fall and spring semesters, students, faculty and staff will participate in the drive, striving to reduce the college’s environmental footprint. In subsequent years, the Think Big, Live Green campaign will be implemented in all Cornell colleges and units.

The College of Engineering uses significant campus energy resources, and its leadership supports the university’s movement toward climate neutrality. “The evidence for climate change is clear, and it is incumbent upon all of us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Lance Collins, the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering. “The college understands the importance of being a good steward of the environment and how prudent it is for everyone to really ‘Think Big, Live Green.’ We are committed to building a better world, and to do that, we want to make Earth a greener place.”

think big logo

For the 2014 fiscal year, the electricity budget for the college is $2.4 million, and two buildings – Rhodes Hall ($592,000) and Duffield Hall ($477,000) – account for 63 percent of the budget. Rhodes Hall is projected to use 9.8 million kilowatt hours in FY 2014, and Duffield Hall’s usage is projected to be 7.95 million kWh.

About 40 students, staff and faculty trained last spring and over the summer for the Green Ambassadors program, a leadership program that fosters peer-to-peer education, reinforces sustainable behavior and advises on good ecological practices.

To support Cornell’s campuswide Climate Action Plan goals and to increase awareness, Think Big, Live Green monthly themes in Engineering will highlight these initiatives:

  • September: The college will focus on cutting paper waste and promote sharing documents electronically with the Big Paper Cut.
  • October: The college community will shift its focus to energy conservation in labs and offices, and pinpoint individual energy saving opportunities in Green Your Workplace.
  • November: The college will tune in to the Energy Smackdown: Round 1, where each building will compete for the highest energy reduction. The Cornell Building Dashboard will be used – for transparency – to view how much energy the buildings use and reduce in real time.
  • December: During the holidays, faculty and staff will be encouraged to turn thermostats down in a program called “Setback = Payback.”

The Think Big Live Green campaign follows the footsteps of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ “CALS Green” program, a six-building energy conservation and sustainability initiative that saved more than 2 million pounds of carbon and $230,000 in energy costs from November 2010 to November 2011. Successful components of the CALS Green program included friendly competition, educational outreach, peer persuasion and applauding sustainable behavior patterns.

The organization team for this campaign includes: JoAnne Williams, associate dean for administration, Engineering; Dawn McWilliams, director of marketing and communications, Engineering; Erin Moore, energy outreach coordinator, Facilities Services; and Dan Roth, director, campus sustainability, Facilities Services.

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