Demand Management, Distributed Energy Resources, Energy Efficiency, Distributed Generation, Solar  -  September 28, 2017

Cutting edge energy efficiency, solar tech design on display at Cornell University's new NYC campus

Photo of Cornell Tech's newly opened  Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center in New York City provided by EnterSolar. 

On New York City's Roosevelt Island, Cornell University recently marked the opening of the first phase of its Cornell Tech campus, featuring what the university and city and state leaders say are some of the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings in the world. 

This first phase of the campus includes the Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center, an academic building aspiring to be among the largest net-zero energy buildings in the country, according to a news release from Cornell. All of the Bloomberg Center's power generated on campus through a variety of site-specific strategies to reduce energy demand and use renewable energy, including a major rooftop solar installation that extends to another campus building called The Bridge. 

The combined 850-kW solar system is largest solar PV installation in Manhattan and is expected to provide a significant portion of the energy required to power the Bloomberg Center, according to a news release from EnterSolar, the project's developer. The system comprises more than 2,200 individual solar modules and includes innovative solar racking, inverter and data monitoring technology.  In addition to providing clean renewable onsite energy, the array on the Bloomberg Center also provides shade for cooling purposes.

"We are entering a new era for tech in New York, and the Cornell Tech campus is at the heart of it," said Andrew Winters, Cornell Tech's director of capital projects. "The Bloomberg Center is our main academic hub on campus and, inspired by the Bloomberg model, we're reinforcing our commitment to innovation and sustainability by pushing the boundaries of current energy efficiency practices and setting a new standard for building in New York."

 The campus is also deploying cutting-edge energy efficiency technologies such as geothermal ground source heat pumps; an energy efficient façade balancing the ratio between transparency and opaqueness to maximize building insulation and decrease energy demand; and smart building features monitoring lighting and plug load use.

The Cornell Tech solar project was also supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority under the $1 billion NY-Sun initiative to advance the use of solar-generated electricity and move New York State closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry.

In 2011, Cornell Tech was named the winner of the Bloomberg administration's visionary Applied Sciences Competition, designed with the goal of diversifying the economy and creating a national hub for tech. The project, managed by the city's Economic Development Corporation, has been carried forward by the de Blasio administration, with the campus breaking ground in 2015. The city estimated in 2011 that the new campus would generate up to 8,000 permanent jobs, hundreds of spin-off companies and more than $23 billion in economic activity over a period of 35 years.

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