Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.12
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

Cornell University
OP-2: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.15 / 8.00 Steve Beyers
Facilities Environmental & Energy Engineer
Facilities Engineering
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Gross Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions:
Performance year Baseline year
Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions from stationary combustion 130,833 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 160,014 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions from other sources 6,193 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 3,349 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions from imported electricity 3,855 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 87,339 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions from imported thermal energy 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Total 140,881 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 250,702 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Figures needed to determine net carbon sinks:
Performance year Baseline year
Third-party verified carbon offsets purchased 24,915 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Institution-catalyzed carbon offsets generated 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon storage from on-site composting 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon storage from non-additional sequestration 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent ---
Carbon sold or transferred 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Net carbon sinks 24,915 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

A brief description of the carbon sinks, including vendor, project source, verification program and contract timeframes (as applicable):

The Cornell Campus Sustainability Office provided advisory support in the development and piloting of an independent local carbon offset fund, the Finger Lakes Climate Fund. Several Cornell offices have voluntarily used the Finger Lakes Climate Fund to offset conferences and travel. Plans to expand the use of the program are under development.


Adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions:
Performance year Baseline year
Adjusted net GHG emissions 115,966 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 250,702 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Performance year Baseline year
Start date July 1, 2019 July 1, 2004
End date June 30, 2020 June 30, 2005

A brief description of when and why the GHG emissions baseline was adopted:

Cornell University is a reporting member of the Carbon Commitment with Second Nature, founding member of the original ACUPCC, and reports according to the protocols adopted for that system.


Figures needed to determine “Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance year Baseline year
Number of students resident on-site 6,954 6,662
Number of employees resident on-site 33 35
Number of other individuals resident on-site 481 459
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 23,503 19,053
Full-time equivalent of employees 11,364 12,113
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 745 0
Weighted Campus Users 27,819.25 25,507.75

Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user:
Performance year Baseline year
Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user 4.17 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 9.83 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Percentage reduction in adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user from baseline:
57.59

Gross floor area of building space, performance year:
15,834,777 Gross Square Feet

Floor area of energy intensive building space, performance year:
Floor area
Laboratory space 1,774,062 Square Feet
Healthcare space 156,336 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space 491,539 Square Feet

EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
20,187,112 Gross Square Feet

Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per unit of EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
0.01 MtCO2e / GSF

A brief description of the institution’s GHG emissions reduction initiatives:

Since Fall 2016, Cornell University has provided a new report to guide future decision making on campus neutrality and energy decisions. "Options for Achieving a Carbon Neutral Campus by 2035 - Analysis of Solutions" outlines potential pathways to meeting campus energy demands of 100% renewable energy and zero carbon footprint by 2035. The initiatives include (1) Building High-Performance Buildings, (2) Conserving Energy in Existing Buildings, (3) Increasing electric vehicle capacity, (4) Campus engagement, and (5) Campus Energy Supply.

Efforts over the last three years have focused on conserving energy in existing buildings and increasing the use of renewable energy. Cornell's Energy Conservation Initiative (ECI) was a $33 million dollar effort to reduce building energy consumption.

A campus-wide LED retrofit effort was performed to reduce electric consumption. In addition, a dedicated energy conservation controls team (ECCT) consists of a team of nine technicians and one general foreman that works to maintain optimal building performance.

Over 5MW of PV have been added over the last 3 years via PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) in which a 3rd party developer builds a PV array on Cornell land and Cornell enters into a long term agreement to purchase the electricity generated. In addition, Cornell has numerous on-campus engagement/awareness initiatives to promote behavior change in terms of our energy footprint. Examples include dorm challenges and winter break communication.

https://energyandsustainability.fs.cornell.edu/util/electricity/production/solarphotovoltaic/default.cfm


Website URL where information about the institution's GHG emissions is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

Estimated values are used for FY20 energy usage not part of the Cornell Central Energy Plant and will be revised upon finalization of FY20 values if they are determined to be material

For instances where FY 2005 (base year) usage is unavailable, we assumed usage is comparable to FY15 values (i.e., no emissions reductions assumed).

Scope 1 stationary combustion emissions includes a deduction associated with exported energy. Cornell's Combined Heat & Power facility will sometimes generate electricity that exceeds campus demand. This excess electric is exported to the grid. The deduction represents the emissions associated with this energy not used on campus. This value is approximately 28,048 metric tons. We would prefer reporting this value via Scope 3; however, the AASHE STARS input sheet cannot handle the input of negative values. Our SIMAP GHG reporting includes this adjustment in the "offset" field.

The reduction in Scope 2 from base year to performance year (purchased electricity emissions) is the result of the CCHPP (Cornell Combined Heat & Power project). Most of the campus’s electric usage is generated on site via combustion turbines and the waste heat is used to generate steam for campus heating. See link: https://energyandsustainability.fs.cornell.edu/util/heating/production/cep.cfm. In addition, the upstate NY grid mix emission factor is significantly lower compared with 2005.

Finally, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cornell went on "pause", students were sent home, the university transitioned to remote learning and staff worked remotely. Only "essential" staff were permitted on campus. These operational changes impacted energy usage, especially air travel and commuting.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.