Office of Energy & Sustainability

Green Leaders and Green Teams

Departments are changing how they work to reduce energy and waste.


A group of Weill Cornell Medicine employees.











Employees throughout the campus, our Green Leaders, are creating Green Teams that promote new practices, reduce waste, and lower energy use.  Several departments share their experiences as they change the way we do business. If you have a green initiative, please share your story with us!



Department of Anesthesiology

The Department of Anesthesiology installed new multifunction Xerox machines, which allow for “toner saver” printing, which makes lighter copies using less toner.  These machines also act as printers and users can send high volume, multi-page documents directly to the copier for double sided printing.  The machines also provide scanning and emailing features which reduces paper use.  The machines are set for sleep mode to save energy when not in use.  The department replaced several fax machines as a result of the upgrade, using the new copiers for network faxing.  This not only saves energy by having less equipment, the department realizes additional savings with lower monthly phone charges for the reduced number of analog phone lines.

Department of Psychiatry

The administrative staff members within the Department of Psychiatry have been developing green practices for their offices since January 2008.  They have reduced paper usage, started recycling, and have monthly meetings to continue to make changes in office operations.  They have posted instructions for double sided copying directly above copy machines to encourage using less paper.  “Currently many staff members take home bottles and cans used during the day, so that they can be recycled,” she added. 

Office of External Affairs

The Office of External Affairs has upheld a long-term commitment to fostering sustainability initiatives.  We have harnessed the Earth Day Motto of “Think Globally, Act Locally” by focusing on the reduction of Styrofoam and paper cup use in our office.  Each new employee receives their own Weill Cornell Medicine branded coffee mug, which reduces the amount of trash that goes into the landfill while cutting costs in the long term. When the City of New York implemented the commercial building recycling laws, our department was proactive in creating a comprehensive recycling program. External Affairs has increased awareness for the need of thoughtfulness in energy use as an active participant in the annual Weill Cornell Medicine Un-power Hour and raffle. Tom Nichols and Clare Casey are the “Green Leaders” for External Affairs. 



Housekeeping and Custodial Services

The director of Housekeeping inspecting new products

The Director of Housekeeping and Custodial Services inspecting the new cleaning products.

When Weill Cornell Medicine assumed responsibility for housekeeping services in the Weill Greenberg Center and the research buildings in 2008, Housekeeping and Custodial Services took that opportunity to transition to green cleaning processes throughout the campus.  All of the routine cleaning products used since on campus are approved by Green Seal, which is an independent, nonprofit organization that sets environmental standards and awards a Green Seal of Approval to products that are friendlier to the environment.   The impact of converting is enormous considering the quantities of cleaning products used annually.  Flore Berger, Director of Housekeeping and Custodial Services, has led the initiative to greener cleaning not only for the planet, but also for a better working environment for employees and staff. Ms. Berger noted that “The Green Seal cleaning products give off fewer fumes and our vacuum cleaners use HEPA filters to reduce dust.” Moreover, Housekeeping has installed special dispensing stations for cleaning products to dispense the correct concentration of cleaning solution and so avoiding waste.  The special flat mops used by the housekeeprs hold cleaning solution within the handle for direct application, so that compared to traditional mops, 80% less chemical waste is generated.  The green cleaning approach has been expanded in July 2009 to the rest of the campus.



Brad Jones Lab


Members of the Jones Lab in their tissue culture room.

The Brad Jones Lab, in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, is the first lab on campus to participate in the My Green Lab Certificate program. After filling out a lab survey, they received a tailored feedback report. They then decided on the key areas they wanted to focus on to make their practices more environmentally friendly. Their strategy involved appointing “Green Lab experts” for each of the key areas, who then lead to a month-long challenge to improve these practices (e.g. “freezer challenge” or “plug load challenge”). “This way, we’ve had a lot of fun and we already significantly cut down on plastic waste, improved recycling, eliminated confusion about waste and turning off/leaving on equipment, and meanwhile cleaned and reorganized our freezer space.” Said Noemi Linden, a PhD student in the group who’s coordinating the green certification efforts. In the beginnning of 2024, the lab took the the second My Green Lab assessment, after addressing the comments received on the first assesment, and obtained Gold Level Certification status. Congratulations to our first My Green Lab certified lab!

Escape the Lab Game

In November 2023, the Green Lab Initiative of the WCM Postdoctoral Association, RockEDU Lab and the Sustainability Committee of Rockefeller University, and the Climate Action Committee from MSKCC Postdoctoral Association joined forces to organize a Tri-Institutional (Tri-I) sustainability-themed Escape the Lab game.

Spearheaded by Weill Cornell Medicine’s Juan Rodríguez-Alcázar, Postdoctoral Associate in Pediatrics, and Fernanda Teixeira Subtil, Postdoctoral Associate in Medicine, the event took place at the RockEDU Lab - Rockefeller University, after many months of preparation. The goal was to increase researchers' awareness of the environmental footprint of labs and incentivize them to adopt more sustainable research practices.

Lab Escape Organizers

The two leaders of the initiative, Juan and Fernanda.

The game consisted of six challenges that each team had to solve within 45 minutes to escape the lab. Each team had to make connections between clues and puzzle pieces to find solutions that led them to the next challenge and eventually escape the lab. The tasks demanded some wit, effective teamwork, eco-knowledge, and an open mind to rethink how we perceive the world of science.

Escape the lab participants Lab escape participants 2 Lab escape participants 3


Seven teams of 3-4 members representing the Tri-I community competed to be the fastest to escape the lab and win eco-friendly gifts. Congratulations to the winners: The Vandy Crew, the Liu Lab, and the Simonites! Big shout out to the rest of the teams: the Adiposcientists, the Prisoners of the Lab, the KRG Ladies, and the Lee Team, who also brought home some sustainable treats. The gifts were proudly sponsored by the WCM Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Rockefeller University Sustainability Committee, and MSKCC Postdoctoral Association.

Lab escape winner 2 Lab Escaep winner 1 Lab Escape winner 3






Escape the Lab was not only a fun occasion to bond with fellow Tri-I colleagues but also a way to learn and adopt daily gestures that make us more sustainable at work! The event showcased that when science is coupled with teamwork and sustainability, it can break barriers to define a healthier and more equitable future for us all. 

We look forward to the next edition!

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Contact us if you want to become a Green Leader or create a Green Team and help us make Weill Cornell Medicine more sustainable.

Did you know

We use 80,000,000,000 aluminum soda cans a year.

Office of Energy & Sustainability 1300 York Avenue, LC006, Box 14, New York, NY 10065