Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.69
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date March 8, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Cornell University
OP-T2-1: Air Travel Emissions

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.25 Steve Beyers
Facilities Environmental & Energy Engineer
Facilities Engineering
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and/or programs in place to reduce emissions from air travel?:

A brief description of the policies and/or programs:

The 2009 Climate Action Plan endorsed by the Board of Trustees includes a section on emissions reductions from business travel. The section reads:
"This action promotes the use of less carbon-intensive travel modes for business trips. Education and awareness are central components. With a high reduction goal, this would also include a portal to assist in
finding/booking lower-carbon travel. A vital component would be increased use and availability of teleconferencing tools and facilities. The current fiscal environment creates an incentive to reduce costs through
substituting teleconferencing tools for travel where appropriate.

Reductions in business travel emissions are difficult. Business travel is not centrally controlled or regulated by the university—generally the main limitation being individual budgetary restrictions. Business travel also
complements Cornell's educational mission, whether by researchers attending conferences or by staff supporting the ongoing operations of the university.

The recommended approach to reducing this sector's carbon footprint is the development of a business travel model decision system. This program would assist travelers in understanding the impacts of their travel and seeking a less carbon-intensive alternative where feasible.
Education and awareness will be central to achieving reductions in business travel-related emissions. This will include raising awareness about not only the impacts of such travel, but also the array of less carbon-intensive options available (e.g., ground vs. air travel, direct vs.indirect flights).

Another key component of this plan would be increased investment in and reliance on teleconferencing. Travelers would be encouraged to consider teleconferencing in place of an actual trip. To this end, teleconferencing
capability standards will be established for individual computers as well as for centralized meeting facilities. Building and renovation standards should recommend the installation or upgrade of effective teleconferencing
facilities, as appropriate.

Two of our current travel-related emissions reduction programs are detailed below.
1) Campus to Campus Bus Service
2) Video Collaboration Services


Our Campus to Campus bus service,which provides an alternative to the University’s highest-frequency destination (New York City), has resulted in an expanded service that now operates 20 round-trip routes per week serving up to 32 passengers per trip. Expanded service to additional metropolitan regions in the northeast are also being evaluated. Some of these trips replace travel by private or fleet car while others replace airline trips.

Greenhouse gases from flying are even higher than driving; if four people carpool to a conference 250 miles away instead of flying, they’d save roughly 1.2 tons of CO2-e (and roughly $1,000). If their destination is NYC, the Campus-to-Campus bus reduces emissions even more!

More information is available at http://transportation.fs.cornell.edu/coach/


Video Collaboration Services provides complete AV support for campus. Services include:

Point-to-Point Videoconferencing: Share your classroom content or presentations, or talk face-to-face between two geographic locations.

Multipoint Videoconferencing: Share your classroom content and presentations, or talk face-to-face between three or more geographic locations.

Desktop Videoconferencing: Build relationships with remote colleagues, face-to-face from your desktop.

Webconferencing: Collaborate with teams and classes live over the web with a combination of chat, video chat, desktop sharing, and whiteboarding.

More information is available at http://www.it.cornell.edu/services/av/about.cfm

The website URL where information about the policies and/or programs is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.