Monday, December 19, 2011

Cornell Wins Contest for City Tech Campus

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Cornell University won the high-profile competition to build a new applied-science campus in New York City. The $2.5 billion, 2.2-million-square foot tech campus will be built on Roosevelt Island on land provided by the city, and $100 million from the city for infrastructure improvements.

In a huge sign of support, Cornell said it had received a $350 million donation from Atlantic Philanthropies toward building the campus, the largest gift in the university's history.

The 10-acre campus, built in conjunction with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, will qualify for platinum level LEED certification, provide housing for 280 faculty and 2,500 students, and feature 500,000 square feet of natural green space for plant nurseries and rain gardens that will be open to the public. 

The campus will generate renewable energy through a four-acre solar panel array installed on the buildings’ rooftops - which will ultimately generate up to 1.8 megawatts of power, and an extensive deep-earth, geothermal well field comprised of 400 wells, as part of a heat pump system that will heat and cool the buildings. In addition, all campus buildings will be oriented to true south to maximize the amount of solar energy captured.

Plans include a 150,000-square-foot “net-zero” building — a building that generates as much energy as it uses - the largest such facility in the United States. Overall, the campus will require only a quarter of the electricity from the grid, emit half of the greenhouse gas, and require less than half the fossil fuel to power, heat and cool than a comparable new, conventional campus.

Officials are considering an artificial marsh that would filter and recycle water from storm runoff, sinks and possibly toilets.

The University has selected the architecture and engineering firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, which previously worked on projects including the Freedom Tower, to design the project.

Phase One of construction, slated for completion in 2016, is expected to create more than 20,000 construction jobs.