Cornell’s Climate-Conscious Urban Campus Arises

Jun 7, 2017 10:00 AM ET

Originally posted on

When Cornell University competed in 2011 to develop an applied science and engineering campus in New York City, part of its pitch was that it would construct an academic building that would at least approach making as much energy as it used in a year, a concept known as net zero. It won. Then came the hard work of making that vision happen at the campus, known as Cornell Tech.

The first step: Architects from Morphosis designed the building, on Roosevelt Island in the East River, to use as little energy as possible. The second was making enough electricity to cover that reduced load without natural gas, part of its effort to stem climate change.

So the four-story building, the Bloomberg Center, is squat, with a roof larger than the body, to maximize space for solar panels. When it is complete in September, 1,464 solar panels will span the roof.

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