Weill Cornell Medicine was founded in 1898 and is among the top-ranked educational, clinical and medical research centers in the country. Totaling more than 2 million square feet, Weill Cornell’s main campus is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and includes a diverse mix of laboratory, classroom, administrative, residential and clinical spaces. In 2016, Weill Cornell achieved the original 30% emissions reduction target and has now committed to a 40% reduction by 2030.
To meet its 30% goal, Weill Cornell Medicine undertook the following actions:
- Implemented energy-efficient LED upgrades, saving over 500,000 kWh per year.
- Organized a four-day Green Professional (GPRO) training through Urban Green Council to promote energy and sustainability best practices to physical plant and maintenance operations staff.
- Upgraded liquid-ring compressors that provide compressed air to laboratories, to compressors utilizing energy-efficient scroll pumps, resulting in both water and electric energy savings.
- Converted constant air volume spaces to variable air volume, and upgraded controls from pneumatic to digital.
- Engaged greater Weill Cornell community in sustainability initiatives like Unpower Hour, which encourages staff and students to conserve energy during a designated date and time.
Total Savings: At least $1 million per year
Highlight: Weill Cornell Medicine undergoes campus-wide retro-commissioning
In 2008, Weill Cornell undertook a campus-wide retro-commissioning effort. It began by re-examining existing spaces that had been constructed or modified over the years to deliver excessive air change rates, which resulted in significant energy waste. After receiving input from Environmental Health & Safety and other departments, Weill Cornell standardized air change rates for various spaces and was able to reduce air change rates and energy usage in multiple buildings. This was made easier by the move to variable air volume systems in many locations, which resulted in greater comfort, control, and energy efficiency than the previous constant air volume systems. In addition, under NYC Local Law 87, starting in 2010, buildings on the main campus each went through a retro-commissioning process to identify and implement operational and maintenance improvements that resulted in utility savings. Improvements have included activities such as replacement or recalibrating of critical sensors, replacement of control valves, and tightening of fan drive belts. To date, Weill Cornell has identified over $100,000 in annual energy savings from operations and maintenance activities alone, and additional retro-commissioning studies are ongoing.
Learn more about Weill Cornell Medicine’s sustainability initiatives through its Sustainability Leadership Council.