Site Tour NYAE & NYECC Visit Roosevelt Island's New Sustainable Campuses

-Tanner Kenney, Fellow

On June 29th, 2017, Advanced Energy Group Fellow Tanner Kenney joined the New York Energy Consumers Council for a tour of the nearly-completed Cornell Tech campus at The Bloomberg Center on Roosevelt Island slated to open in August of 2017. New York Advanced Energy is a proud member of the NYECC.


On May 30th, 2017, the university announced its goal to achieve both net-zero and LEED Platinum statuses on the campus. The architects, construction firms, designers, engineers, and facilities operators rely on myriad technologies to achieve these goals, including smart building controls, geothermal heat pumps, rooftop solar photovoltaic panels, advanced façade design and materials, and LED lighting throughout. NYECC members, including Taconic Investment Partners and Vornado Realty Trust, were led through the sprawling campus’ grounds and facilities and shown the various ways in which smart building controls such as keycard-activated wall outlets and timed sun-shading can allow for both reductions in energy consumption as well as improvement of tenant morale.

Cornell Tech will have some of the most environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient buildings in the world[.]” – Dan Huttenlocher – Dean, Cornell Tech

Underneath these lawns, the developers dug eighty 400’ wells that will provide geothermal energy and heat for the campus in addition to a 40,000 gallon rainwater storage tank that will provide the building with a renewable source of fresh water to-be treated onsite. The green spaces above provide stunning views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and are even more striking in contrast with the façade of the Cornell Tech building. The structure features a rainscreen that is covered with a hole-punched (machine-randomized), aluminum façade that both lets in ample light and protects against excessive heat from the sun.


Cornell Tech’s roof will soon be covered in solar PV panels, as will be the majority of the Bloomberg Campus, in addition to green spaces to provide additional cooling to the campus’ white roofing. And, although not included on the tour, the Bloomberg Center also boasts the first Passive House high-rise residential building in the world. The entirety of the campus, slated to open this fall, will be fossil fuel-free, including the kitchen in a commissary that will be open to the public.

The campus will be home to several large, public green spaces, as well, and with an academic space of 160,000 sq. ft., the Cornell Campus will provide students, faculty, employees, and visitors with exceptional quarters and unparalleled views of Manhattan. Lastly, the Bloomberg Center’s resiliency plans address not only energy concerns, but those of flooding and rising seas, as well. The campus’ foundations have been raised above traditional guidelines with additional hardening methods used onsite, including garage-fencing and the rooftop installation of important mechanical equipment.

*Photos courtesy of Tanner Kenney, Fellow, & the NYECC

*Photos courtesy of Tanner Kenney, Fellow, & the NYECC