Joe Robach Cuts Ribbon at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Sustainability Institute Hall

New York State Senator Joe Robach was on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus last Friday for a ribbon cutting at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability. The $38-million facility will be powered by fuel cell technology, and will be the home for RIT’s programs that focus on “green” technology.

The Institute’s main purpose is to work with industry experts and specialists to find ways for technology to work more efficiently, and require fewer resources. The Institute will feature programs for school-age children and will serve as a community resource. Joe Robach worked with his colleagues in the Senate and Assembly, as well as the Governor’s office to ensure that RIT received $5-million in state funding to develop the project. The 84,000-square-foot “living lab” represents RIT’s commitment to the environment through research and academic programs. GIS plans to host an open house for the RIT community later this spring. The building will also be showcased during Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on Saturday, May 4.

The 84,000-square-foot facility is a state-of-the-art laboratory for scientific discovery and experiential learning. The building will be home to GIS’ master’s degree and Ph.D. programs in sustainability and architecture. Research labs, student work areas, classrooms and conference rooms, a 65-seat auditorium and office suites all open onto a light-filled, four-story galleria space. The facility was designed and constructed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. RIT has one other LEED Platinum (University Services Center) and one LEED Gold (Engineering Technology Hall) facility, but the GIS building is the largest and most advanced project to date. Among Sustainability Hall’s outstanding features are:

-7 systems integration test beds.
-8 sustainability technology support laboratories.
-Computing and collaborative spaces to support research.
-Extensive glazing reduces the amount of artificial light required inside the structure. A sunshade system of stationary louvers on the south side of the building reduces heat buildup from direct sun exposure during summer months.
-UTC Model 400 Purecell System is the primary energy source for the building. This unit produces 400 kilowatts of continuous electric power; heat generated as a by-product of electrical generation helps heat this and other buildings on campus.
-Microgrid system that takes variable power inputs from all sources (including windmills and solar panels) and stores energy in a battery bank to provide 50 kilowatt-hours of power. This will power some of the building’s lights and electrical outlets as well as charging stations for electric vehicles.
-Geothermal system using liquid that circulates from eight 150-foot deep wells through pipes in the galleria floor, helping to keep the building warm in winter and cool in summer.