Green Buildings

Cornell prides itself on ensuring that new building design and construction is approached with sustainability firmly in mind...

Cornell's Green Buildings

In 2008 Cornell's Trustees approved a policy that Ithaca Campus new construction projects over $5M total project cost must attain US Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at a minimum of Silver level, and that these projects must achieve a minimum 30% energy savings compared to the baseline established by  American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)90.1, the national standard for energy efficient buildings. Peruse Cornell's growing list of LEED certified Green Buildings below.

For this reason the University considers a number of factors as new building construction is planned and executed. Some of these factors include:

Site selection

A new building’s site, orientation and post-construction site use can have strong environmental implications. The University aims to site buildings in ways that bear in mind the community’s transportation needs, water runoff, water usage, utilities, natural lighting, and community character.


Because a building’s energy use is a critical part of its long-term environmental impact, heating and cooling design and equipment is an integral part of planning for new green buildings on the Cornell campus, and is seen as one of the main considerations in this process.


Cornell University aims to construct new buildings utilizing materials that maximize air quality and energy efficiency. In addition, other sustainable choices such as the usage of local materials are pursued whenever possible in the construction process to support local, regional economies and decrease the pollution and costs that result from excessive transportation of materials.

Construction Practices

Impacts such as water runoff, noise, dust, traffic, and personnel are considered carefully to reduce negative impacts during the building process on the Cornell campus.