This was quite the week for Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD)! As I’ve talked about before, CUSD is a student-led design-build team working to redefine the way we think about sustainability. In the past, we’ve built schoolhouses and solar powered-homes. We’re currently working on an on-campus research facility (the SRF) and a sustainable community in Nicaragua. This week, SRF was awarded both a $1000 grant from the Cornell Alumni Association, and a $10,000 grant to perform geothermal heating/cooling research. Props to the many excellent CUSD team members who helped to prepare these grant proposals!
Perhaps the most exciting experience of the week was getting the opportunity to meet with Rick Fedrizzi, President and CEO of the US Green Building Council (USGBC). You might not be familiar with the USGBC, but you’ve probably heard of LEED certification, the rating system developed by USGBC for evaluating the sustainability of new and existing construction. LEED is a global standard against which design, construction, and operation of green buildings can be compared. Fedrizzi was visiting campus to give a talk about the USGBC, and CUSD was the only student group to meet with him during his whirlwind tour of the campus (especially Cornell’s LEED-certified Human Ecology Building). The meeting was a great success, and I look forward to the ways in which CUSD will be able to coordinate with the USGBC in the future, especially as we continue design of our on-campus research facility. As our meeting was wrapping up, Rick said to us: “You’re group is not normal. Students interested in sustainability don’t do this – they don’t actually act on it. But you are, and that’s absolutely amazing.” [Rough quote from memory]. Needless to say, that made my week!