SPEAKER: This is the production of Cornell University.
DAVID J. SKORTON: Thanks everyone. How many here think that activity has really ramped up because of me? All right. That's good, a savvy crew. I like the honesty. How many think activity has ramped up because of you? Yeah. That's right. That's right.
How many have comments to make about the fact that I was driven over here one block from my office in one of these battery-powered vehicles? How many would like to hear about the relationship between that and sustainability? All right.
Yeah, I've taken quite a bit of heat from the photographers at both ends about the relationship between getting in a GEM vehicle and sustainability. And for those who have to hear me say this, I'll say that it's an example, a demonstration of the fact that you can get around campus on something that doesn't burn fossil fuels. But I'm going to walk back anyway.
A year ago on, February 23 of '07, we signed the president's climate commitment. I say we and not I because the idea of doing it came from the Kyoto Now! group, student group as well as faculty and staff who've been involved in the real day-to-day work of making the campus more sustainable and for putting us in a more obvious and robust leadership position in sustainability, here on campus, in the community in general, nationally, and internationally.
In signing the president's climate commitment, I was building on your earlier and ongoing efforts, not for days, or weeks, or months, but for years, to improve and increase the tight focus on education related to sustainability, on research related to sustainability, and on campus stewardship. Just to remind you of things that many of you know better than I, the Lake Source Cooling project so far saves about 25 million kilowatt hours per year. The Combined Heat and Power project will produce electricity and heat together using much, much less energy than producing them separately.
Adopting the Kyoto protocols, one of our very-- very tight areas of focus, we expect to exceed our target for reduced CO2 emissions by 2010. And the RideShare and OmniRide programs are oriented, of course, to increasing carpooling and reducing transit use, as are the GEM vehicles. The commitment to reduce energy consumption and improve sustainability of course has to extend to campus facilities.
The biggest challenge in signing the president's climate commitment is the realization that the campus is growing in size and in complexity at the same time that we want to reduce the carbon footprint and make the use of the campus more efficient. Alice Cook House, as you may know, is the first LEED certified residence hall in New York State. Weill Hall, the new name for the life sciences technology building, will be a green building. And we're going to try to go for gold in terms of the LEED certification process for a Weill Hall.
And in its January '08 meeting, the board of trustees just required that projects expending over $5 million need to meet at least LEED silver standards. The PCCIC, the President's Climate Commitment Implementation Committee, chaired by Tim Fahey and Kyu Whang, is charged with guiding the development and implementation of the climate neutrality efforts. And I hope all of us can thank them for their hard work in coordinating so many of our efforts.
One of the first things the group is doing is something that doesn't sound very dramatic or flashy, but it's critical. And that is in inventorying our emissions, electricity, heating, commuting, and air travel. And without a point of departure, without some data with which we can compare ourselves in the future, most of this is rhetoric. So this is very, very important, and I appreciate your thrust in that direction.
The faculty climate neutrality working group has organized classes to evaluate greenhouse gas reduction strategies. Eight classes in the fall, six and the current semester, engineering, biology, economics, communication, sociology, and grad student research projects as well.
The master plan for the Ithaca Campus, a physical master plan, includes an emphasis of course on sustainable development. And there are many, many efforts at the departmental level. One example is Paulette Clancy, chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering, requesting a proposed renovation plan to be redeveloped-- redeveloped to incorporate more energy-efficient lab and office space. And it's only that kind of stewardship that's going to make sure that we push ourselves, keep our own feet to the fire, to move more and more aggressively in the right direction.
The transportation impact mitigation study-- strategy, rather-- due for completion this summer will have a comprehensive plan for getting people and fewer cars to campus. This fall, we'll begin van pools, large car pools for people in outer areas commuting, and raising awareness of options, such as using satellite or home offices.
We recently brought to the other people across the campus, whose workday decisions can greatly affect sustainability, including members of the PCCIC, for a daylong retreat on the Advancing Sustainability Action Plans. The so-called ASAP goes far beyond climate neutrality to include all other aspects of sustainability, and covers not only energy use, but land use, waste pollution, food and water, and even possible ways to use the endowment investments to promote sustainability. The intent of the retreat was to build relationships among all of those involved or potentially involved in these issues.
On the one-year anniversary of the signing of the president's climate commitment, I remain convinced that Cornell not only can and will become a leader, but that we must become a leader, that the campus at large needs to scrutinize our actions and keep us honest to the climate commitment. We will work with that internal eye on us, with the external eye on us, and with a look in a mirror for each of us. Is each of us leading our lives in such a way as to make the goal come closer to fruition?
So thank you very much. Congratulations to those of you who are really doing the heavy lifting. And I think I'm supposed to introduce Kyu Whang, who's so much responsible for the stewardship issues. Kyu, thank you.
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Cornell University President David Skorton arrived at Duffield Hall Feb. 28 in a battery-operated Global Electric Motorcar -- a small red vehicle resembling an enclosed golf cart. His Earth-friendly mode of transportation fit perfectly with his mission: to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his pledge to reduce Cornell's energy footprint.
On Feb. 22, 2007, Skorton signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (PCC) following heavy lobbying by the student environmental group Kyoto Now!