Solar Panels Adorn New North Campus Residence Halls

With the winter solstice approaching, Cornell will make the most of the available sunlight as it energizes the solar panels atop North Campus’ three newest buildings: Barbara McClintock Hall, Hu Shih Hall, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall. These panels complete the 1.1 MW North Campus installation with partners GreenSpark Solar and SolarKal. Panels were completed in 2021 for Toni Morrison Hall and Ganędagǫ: Hall. The solar arrays on the complex are just part of the overall efforts to minimize the energy impacts from the new construction.

* Approximately 180,000 square feet of rooftop space on the North Campus Residential Expansion (NCRE) facilities holds efficient, state-of-the art solar panels – enough to gather solar energy to offset the buildings’ electricity use by about 35% by generating over one million kwh of electricity annually.
* Modeled energy use is ~30% better than the applicable State Energy Code standards. As a result of this exceptional energy performance, these buildings will only require the equivalent of about 1.4% of total campus district energy (in the form of chilled water, hot water, and electricity) despite representing over 4% of Cornell’s utility-connected campus in terms of net square feet of building space.
* With continued campus-wide energy conservation and good energy stewardship supported by full-time staff, Cornell continues its decades-long trend: an overall reduction in total campus energy use by the time this project was completed and operating.
* NCRE will connect to Cornell’s unique district energy systems (underground electric, chilled water, and steam/hot water piping systems) that serve most of the Ithaca campus. These systems are anchored by Lake Source Cooling and Cornell’s Combined Heat and Power Plant. Using Cornell’s district systems further reduces the impact on the environment.
* NCRE facilities are designed for low-temperature hydronic heat and tied into district heating and cooling systems. The facilities will be connected to current Cornell renewable energy systems (hydropower, Lake Source Cooling, and on-campus solar facilities) and can accommodate future renewable or low-carbon energy opportunities like Earth Source Heat, waste heat, biomass, solar thermal, renewable electric, or heat pump technologies. The low-temperature design and hot-water conversion at the district level are new campus standards and represent investments in a lower carbon future.

North Campus is home to first-year and sophomore residences that provide individual identities for each class year and promote interaction through new dining and recreation facilities as well as open space.