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Archive for the ‘Cornell’ Category

lightbulb.jpgCredit to Rebecca James in the Syracuse Post-Standard:

You can build a better light bulb – one that uses less electricity and saves money – but how do you get people to use it?

Environmentalists from Cornell University, Ithaca and the nearby town of Caroline are betting that if you deliver a free compact fluorescent bulb to each person’s door, tucked into a reusable fabric bag, people will see the light.

On April 19, a team of more than 100 volunteers on bikes, on foot and in cars plan to deliver the bulbs to all 1,400 households in the town of Caroline, a sprawling, rural community in Tompkins County.

<!– if (parseFloat(navigator.appVersion) == 0) { document.write(”); } –>”We’re trying to show how a small, rural town can take matters into our own hands and say: This is up to us. Our international leaders and national leaders are not moving fast enough to protect our future,” said Dominic Frongillo, a Caroline town board member.

A Cornell junior from Pompey, Shawn Lindabury, wrote a grant that helped fund the project, which is aimed at increasing awareness about how people can live greener lives.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of the benefits of these bulbs,” Lindabury said. “We’re saying, hey, you can save $55 over the course of the lifetime of the light bulb and help reduce energy use in Caroline.”

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Credit to Seth Shapiro in the Cornell Daily Sun:

“Cornell is very progressive in its commitment to sustainability,” said Whitney Larsen ’10, the outreach coordinator for the student-run Sustainability Hub.

While the Sustainability Hub and other student groups work to make the Cornell campus as sustainable as possible, the administration is trying to widen the scope on Cornell’s impact on sustainability.

With the creation of the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, the administration is trying to bring together Cornell professors and faculty to enact change far beyond the Cornell campus.

“[This is a great] opportunity for this University to be a model for others to follow,” said Dean of University Faculty Charles Walcott Ph.D ’59.

One way the CCSF and Cornell has shown their determination to the nationwide sustainability effort is by bringing in esteemed professors to teach at Cornell and to take on leadership roles in the CCSF.

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ceaaconf-2008_3.jpgCredit to Abubakar Jalloh in the Cornell Daily Sun:

“Green is becoming everyone’s favorite color … green power, green building, green chemistry …”

Such was the comment made by Dr. Jeff Tester ’66, professor of chemical engineering at MIT’s Laboratory for Energy and the Environment, at the 25th Annual College of Engineering Alumni Association Conference held at the Statler Hotel this weekend. 300 people participated in the event whose theme was “Sustainable Energy Systems: Investing in Our Future.”

The event constituted a series of talks given by prominent figures, who have dedicated their time offering working solutions that are economically viable and environmentally friendly.

According to Tim Dougherty ’88, assistant dean of alumni affairs and development for the College of Engineering, 40 percent of the 300 people who registered for the conference were students, another 40 percent were comprised of alumni and the rest included faculty and staff.

“This is by far the most interesting topic in 25 years,” said Dougherty, especially in that the conference is not one-sided; rather it aims at “working on a better mix of choices.”

Friday afternoon was marked with concurrent sessions at the Beck Center in the Statler Hall. Flexible as it was, some presentations that went on earlier in the morning were repeated in the afternoon for those who missed them. Among those repeated talks were Dr. Michael Graetzel’s presentation on “Power from the sun; molecular photovoltaic cells mimic photosynthesis.”

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pg-1-biofuels-by-aw_thumbnail.jpgCredit to Wendy Wang in the Cornell Daily Sun

As corn becomes an increasingly popular ethanol source, the spotlight falls on the biofuels field as its researchers study how to convert crops like switchgrass and woody plants into energy. This is evident at Riley-Robb Hall, where the east wing is being converted into a new biofuels research laboratory. Prof. Larry Walker, biological and environmental engineering, is spearheading the large-scale project, slated for completion next January.

Walker received a $10 million grant from Empire State Development Cor­poration, with $6 million going towards the east wing renovation and the other $4 million to equip the new laboratory with incubators, fermentors and other machinery necessary to allow Cornell to convert cellulosic material, like switchgrass and other perennial grasses, into ethanol,from start to finish.

“We can do what we call pretreatment of the materials to make this material more amenable to enzymatic biodegradation,” said Walker. “We have the capability of generating the enzymes needed to convert the biomass into fermentable sugars. We will then have the capability of taking the fermentable sugars to ethanol, butanol and other biofuels.”

Walker emphasized the importance of ethanol as one of the few renewable energy sources that can directly replace gasoline and the fact that by 2025, about 80 percent of ethanol production will come not from corn, but from cellulose materials, those primarily studied at the current biofuels lab on campus.

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Credit to Wendy Wang in the Cornell Daily Sun

McMansions may be eye-pleasing at first glance, but to an architect they can become design and sustainability eyesores. In an effort to steer green-conscious Ithaca citizens away from such quick-fix housing solutions for building comfortable homes, local architects Ernie Bayles and Megan Nedzinski gave a talk last night at the First Unitarian Church on architectural design with a focus on sustainability to an audience of about 30. This seminar was the fourth in the Green Building Seminar Series created by the Ithaca Green Building Alliance.

Bayles began the seminar with an overview of the idea of sustainability, admitting that “green” houses often fall under the stereotype of a grass and brick cottage that looks environmentally conscious but is hardly comfortable. Instead, he defined the actual concept of sustainable design as a “functional, durable, healthy for occupants, energy-efficient and designed to work with exterior environment and location to optimize comfort and utility.”

Most importantly, he emphasized the importance of remodeling current residential homes in carefully laid out plans.

“Building quality smaller spaces can enrich life more than larger ones. One of the most sustainable things we can do is to build less,” he said.

However, he did admit that “design takes a lot of work, which needs to be done by a team of people: the designer, owner and builder. Somebody has to come to the table with some ideas of sustainable goals.”

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Solar Oven Dinner

This Saturday 2/28 5pm
Try food cooked in ESW’s very own solar ovens!!!
Price: Sliding Scale $5-$10
Place: Thurston Winter Lab Classroom
INTERESTED??? Contact Carmen cni3@cornell.edu

Hope to see familiar and new faces there!!!

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sustain_logo.jpgCredit to Carlos Rymer and Mollie Futterman in the Cornell Daily Sun

It is now approximately one year since President Skorton signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, setting Cornell on the path towards climate neutrality. KyotoNOW!’s Beyond Kyoto Campaign showed that there exists widespread support for such a target on campus. Since then, the student group has been looked upon with admiration by the youth climate movement and many organizations on campus. But since then, an entire year has passed. So it is about time that we ask ourselves what we have done in the last year about this commitment and, more broadly, sustainability. Well, let’s think about it.

Shortly after the signing of the Presidents Climate Commitment, an Implementation Committee was formed to draft a comprehensive plan (due in exactly one year) to reach climate neutrality in the Ithaca, N.Y. campus. In addition, an ad-hoc faculty committee was formed voluntarily to begin looking for ideas on what to do to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Lots of ideas have been proposed, including a rapid transit system promoted by the local group Connect Ithaca, wind turbines on nearby hills (Enfield, Town of Caroline and Mt. Pleasant), increased energy efficiency, a big red bikes program, biodiesel production from dining locations,and methane biodigestors. We don’t know yet what the Implementation Committee is doing, but we’re set to find out soon when President Skorton addresses the campus today at 11:30 a.m. in the Duffield Atrium, where the first anniversary of the Presidents Climate Commitment will be celebrated.

In addition to all this administrative work, there has been a great buzz around campus about the Presidents Climate Commitment. In fact, every time a campus publication mentions sustainability, the commitment is brought up as the most aggressive move yet. It is now typical to confuse sustainability with climate neutrality, since global warming has become such a huge threat and people are getting that in their heads. Yet climate neutrality is something to be achieved over one or a few decades; it’s something that, right now, is all about words. In effect, this constant talking about Cornell’s commitment to climate neutrality has masked the obvious about sustainability.

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