College News

Earning the gold

Pictured, from left: Dean Michael Kotlikoff, Matthew D. Kozlowski from Cornell's Facilities office, Dr. Bruce Akey, and Dr. Alfonso Torres

From its mission to the state-of-the-art structure that houses it, the Animal Health Diagnostic Center is committed to sustaining the health and well-being of animals, people, and the environment. This dedication was recently acknowledged with a “gold” certification of the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, as judged by the U.S. Green Building Council.

In a brief presentation ceremony at the Laboratory, Dr. Bruce Akey expressed his appreciation for the outstanding teamwork during the planning and construction phases of the 21st century-inspired building. “It’s nice to come to work knowing that we’re doing all we can to be good stewards of the environment,” said Akey, who is the Assistant Dean for Diagnostic Operations. “In addition to being able to work in an efficient, well-planned, and naturally lit environment, we have the pleasure of knowing that we’re being a good neighbor, contributing to the University’s overall commitment to reducing its environmental impact.”

The gold designation recognizes efforts to control erosion and sedimentation; provide access to alternative transportation, including storage and changing rooms for bicyclists; and offer preferred parking for those driving low emitting/fuel efficient vehicles. In addition, superior indoor environmental quality options were installed; a storm water management plan and Green Building educational program have been developed; special roofing material was used to reflect heat, making the building’s temperature easier to regulate; and automatic lighting controls have been installed to turn off non-essential interior lighting during non-business hours and exterior lighting conforms to efficiency standards. Credits were also earned for efforts that

  • used recycled and local materials for construction, as well as wood-based building materials that were harvested from Forestry Stewardship Council-certified forests
  • restored more than 50% of the site area (totaling 85,915 SF) with native or adaptive species
  • reduced potable water use by 41 percent
  • realized an energy cost savings of 18.3 percent thus far
  • diverted 2,419.81 tons of construction waste from landfills, which is more than 83 percent of on-site waste generated


Ground was broken in May 2008 for the $70 million, 125,000 square-foot, facility built with a $50 million State allocation through the Empire State Development Corporation, along with $20 million from Cornell and other sources. Now open for just over a year, the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, a partnership with the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, houses the Animal Health Diagnostic Center, the only full-service multidisciplinary animal disease diagnostic facility in the Northeast. Each year, the facility receives over 300,000 samples and conducts more than 1 million tests.