Sustainable Development, Energy, and Environment

Refurbished Warren Hall certified LEED Platinum

Steeped in economic and social science history, Cornell’s Warren Hall – refurbished, renovated and reinvigorated for teaching and research long into the new century – has added a sustainable trophy to its storied resume: LEED Platinum certification.

Featuring salvaged stone flooring, energy efficiency, corridors of daylight, natural ventilation and even gardens in the sky, the updated Warren Hall brings a modern sense to granite walls. On the Cornell campus, two new buildings have achieved platinum status, but this is the first campus renovation to reach the Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) level, the highest certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“The project team goal from the start was to deliver a modern building with a zero increase in the energy use. They accomplished this task by making some brave decisions,” said Matt Kozlowski, associate manager of Cornell’s Green Building Program. “To make a meaningful impact on energy use as a whole, we need to tackle the renovation and renewal of our existing building stock,” he said.

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Message from the Atkinson Center Director

At Cornell, sustainability is not just something we talk about, it is what we do. Today, we are actively addressing the serious challenges that face our world and threaten the ability of future generations to prosper. Among universities, Cornell has an extraordinary breadth and depth of talent to produce solutions and to prepare the next generation to make significant contributions.

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Our Vision and Plans

We are primed to make transformative contributions because we understand the urgency to advance a sustainable future. We are on our way to becoming a world leader in sustainability education, research, and practice. Leading up to 2015, we will:

  • Collaborate across colleges, schools, and units, drawing upon the university’s breadth and depth to uncover and explore solutions to more of the world’s fundamental issues
  • Address the energy and economic development needs of developing countries as well as our own
  • Generate solution-solving partnerships with other leading organizations, nationally and globally
  • Build an even more sustainable campuses, from water and energy conservation to LEED-certified building projects
  • Celebrate and safeguard the environment, advancing solutions that protect resources for future generations

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Our Strengths

Cornell’s faculty and students view the world’s major issues as their own personal challenges. Through academic and service programs, they drive change by developing new approaches and technologies. Their work improves the lives of people in New York and across the planet. From developing systems that support the growth of local food markets, to sustainable farming techniques that improve profits for poor farmers in Africa, our multifaceted approach enables the university to make a difference in the world, starting on the Ithaca campus:

  • An $80 million endowment from David ’60 and Pat Atkinson gives Cornell’s sustainability research programs and initiatives lasting support. The David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF) advances multidisciplinary research and cultivates innovative collaborations within and beyond Cornell. ACSF’s permanent status gives confidence to potential external partners: our sustainability program is itself sustainable. There are 280 Atkinson Center research faculty fellows from 65 departments who are working to solve sustainability problems—and this number grows every year. These collaborative efforts create a cooperative faculty culture and graduate field system that support Cornell’s thought leaders. Many of the existing research teams found one another at an Atkinson Center Topical Lunch, a reoccurring event that brings together faculty from across departments, breaking down traditional academic silos and uniting people with shared concerns. Some of these teams go on to innovate new projects with real-world applications in sustainability research, such as local food transport chains, new renewable energies, and phage therapies in clinical trials in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

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Our Priority Areas

The university, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, and the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future seek to raise $40 million by 2015 for faculty renewal and recruitment, graduate fellowships, and current programs.


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Lauren Chambliss
Director of Communications
David R. Atkinson Center for
a Sustainable Future

Cornell University
216 Rice Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853


Frank DiSalvo
David R. Atkinson Center for a
Sustainable Future

Cornell University
102 Baker Laboratory
Ithaca, NY 14853