Green Building Education Program

Sharing sustainable building practices with campus visitors...

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Human Ecology Building Exterior and Interior(Mark Vorreuter, University Photography )
Human Ecology Building Exterior and Interior(Mark Vorreuter, University Photography )

Green Building Education is an Innovation goal in the Cornell Climate Action Plan (CAP).

Launch a Green Building education program to enhance student and public understanding of sustainable building practices in Cornell’s built environment.

Goal: Provide outreach and education about Cornell’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings, focusing on each building’s: sustainable design features, aesthetics, functionality, history, and energy performance.

Since 2008 Cornell has required all new construction over $5M to obtain LEED Silver certification or higher. There are currently 8 Gold buildings and 1 Platinum building at Cornell, as well as two Commercial Interiors Gold certifications for building renovations. An additional 9 certifications are currently in process for the Ithaca Campus, and the NYC Tech building is also in process and is targeting LEED Platinum certification.

Cornell typically includes an educational program for each building in the LEED application. The Central Energy Plant, the Plantations Visitor Center, and the Human Ecology Building are actively conducting tours and outreach through their students, staff, and faculty. Tours and presentations on Cornell’s green buildings are currently offered by request.

The Green Buildings page on Cornell’s Sustainable Campus website lists all of the university’s LEED buildings and their points. Data on the performance of each building, as well as background on green design features and ultra-efficient building systems, could be used to supplement the information currently on the website and to create a downloadable application for mobile devices. As a visitor walks around campus, he/she could scan codes and download relevant green building information. The new downloadable app could provide a more broadly accessible focus for green building education and tours on campus, and promote greater understanding of sustainable building practices for both the internal and the broader community.

Next Steps

  • Develop enhanced outreach about Cornell’s LEED certified buildings, including supplements to the existing Green Buildings page, a downloadable application for mobile devices, signage, and pamphlets as appropriate.
  • Integrate green building data with the new Building Dashboard, to track building performance.


Identify student assets to develop a university wide Green Building education and interpretative program.