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SyracuseCoE employees take road trip to Phoenix, Ariz., to reduce carbon footprint

November 05, 2009

Carissa Matthews
(315) 443-3507

While most people will be sleeping at 3 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, three employees of the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems—two ’09 Syracuse University grads and one ’09 St. Lawrence University grad—will head out on a road trip to Phoenix, Ariz.

What’s in Phoenix? The group— Kelly Anderson, Aimee Clinkhammer, and Carissa Matthews—are traveling to attend the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (, the largest annual green building conference in the world, and exhibit on behalf of SyracuseCoE as well as New York’s Creative Core ( The round-trip journey will go from Syracuse, to Phoenix by the shortest route possible, driving through St. Louis, Tulsa, Okla. and Albuquerque, N.M.

Exhibiting at a conference is typically a very unsustainable process. Most organizations ship a large, heavy exhibit; exhibitors travel by plane, many times with multiple layovers; and most exhibits are made from unsustainable materials, such as vinyl and plexiglass. To lessen SyracuseCoE’s carbon footprint, the design team collaborated with the exhibitors and sponsors to create a booth entirely out of repurposed and/or sustainable materials, making it easy to pack into a car and send three employees to Phoenix in one vehicle. By forgoing shipping for the exhibit and air transportation for just these three employees, SyracuseCoE will cut 1 ton of carbon, the equivalent of taking 58 cars off the road for one day.

In addition to creating a sustainable exhibit, SyracuseCoE’s environmental impact will be reduced by driving instead of flying three employees and the entire exhibit; by camping during the road trip to lessen use of electricity in hotels; by eating locally and packing up food from the Syracuse Co-op; and by minimizing the number of paper materials to be given away at Greenbuild.

The trip is made possible by a sponsorship from C&S Companies. SyracuseCoE’s presence at Greenbuild is also supported by National Grid and the Metropolitan Development Association.

The trip will be chronicled at, which will feature details about how SyracuseCoE is cutting its Greenbuild carbon footprint, road trip photos, a blog about the “green” trip to Phoenix and tweets about current locations, bios on the road-trippers and advice for how they can make the experience even more sustainable.

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