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State Dormitory Authority issues $121M in green bonds to help finance construction of new Cornell residence halls

By Eric Reinhardt


ITHACA, N.Y. — The state has announced more than $121 million in green bonds that Cornell University will use to finance the construction of new residence halls on the school’s north campus.

The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) issued the bonds, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release.

Green bonds provide investors with the opportunity to directly support projects identified as environmentally sustainable. The bonds were rated AA by Standard and Poor’s and Aa1 by Moody’s.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $300 million, Cuomo’s office said. Cornell will fund the remaining project costs through a combination of taxable bond proceeds and University funds, the office added.

“DASNY is pleased to support its higher-education partners through the issuance of green bonds,” Portia Lee, managing director of public finance and portfolio monitoring at DASNY, said in the release. “Using low-cost, tax exempt bonds, offers Cornell University a cost effective way to create greener and more resilient living and learning environments for its students.”

New residence halls

Cornell will use the bond proceeds to finance construction of new residence halls on the university’s North Campus.

The residence halls will add up to 2,000 student beds, dining and recreational facilities, and programming spaces. The project is following guidelines laid out by Cornell’s climate action plan, requiring no new gas infrastructure for building heat, hot water, power or cooling.

The overall goal of the climate action plan is to reach carbon neutrality on campus by 2035, per the release.

The university is also expected to pursue LEED certification for the project under the sustainability and energy efficiency guidelines of the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED is short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

About 180,000 square feet of rooftop space on the North Campus facilities is available to hold solar panels, and the facilities are designed to accommodate future renewable or low-carbon energy heating and electric opportunities.

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