Cornell University's Advancing Sustainability Action Plan
by David Cutter, ASLA

A university’s operations must support the core missions of education, research and outreach while promoting a sustainable economy, society, and environment. The past and present presidents of Cornell University have all stressed the importance of sustainability and the urgency for change. Hence, the “ASAP” (Advanced Sustainability Action Plan) sets sustainability goals for ten operational initiatives and short-term strategies that could be accomplished by June 2009. The operational initiatives focus on land use, climate commitment and energy, built environment, materials, transportation, waste and pollution, food and water, learning laboratory and model campus, economic development, and endowment investments.

Initiatives include a mandate:
(1) for every major new building to achieve LEED Silver certification;
(2) to reduce energy so buildings use at least 30% less energy than defined by ASHRAE 90 (standards developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers regarding minimum requirements for the energy-efficient design of buildings other than low-rise residential buildings); and
(3) to contract with the student organic farm to supply fresh produce to campus dining facilities.

David Cutter, ASLA , is the Landscape Architect of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and can be reached at:

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