Industry Partners: Personal Climate Control

If you surveyed employees in any office environment on any given day, it’s likely that a significant percentage would report that the temperature made them feel uncomfortable. That’s because office heating and cooling systems typically use a single thermostat to control temperature in a zone that contains many people, and thermal comfort varies from person to person.

The possibility for allowing each employee to control the temperature in their own microenvironment is moving closer to reality, thanks to an ongoing project led by Syracuse University researchers, in collaboration with Air Innovations, United Technologies Research Center, Bush Technical LLC, and Cornell University.

In 2015, Syracuse University began a $3.2 million project to develop a microenvironmental control system, called μX, to provide localized thermal management for office workers, which would dramatically reduce building energy use. That project, led by H. Ezzat Khalifa, now professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering, produced several prototype units. Now, Air Innovations is working with SyracuseCoE to redesign the unit for cost-effective commercial manufacture.

“The real core technology that was developed is commercializable, but there are individual components that are not ready for manufacture, so we need to substitute with off-the-shelf technology,” says Michael Wetzel, president and CEO of Air Innovations in Syracuse.

Wetzel says it’s important to understand how the unit will be used in practice: Will employees run it all day long, or only for parts of the day when they want to adjust the temperature? Will people want it integrated into their desk or are they comfortable with it being an object sitting on the floor? “Right now we’re focusing on making sure that the product is acceptable to the market, in terms of the actual capacity for how it will be used and in terms of form and function,” he says.

The hope is to secure funding for a field trial to be conducted in real-world office environments. “We’d like to have about 50 units in place by June 2019 and collect data over six months,” says Wetzel. The data collected will inform capacity and aesthetic decisions about the product, which he hopes to see go commercial by mid-2020.

“What’s really going to drive this product to market is people’s interest in having absolute control over their environment and their productivity,” says Wetzel. “There is a huge opportunity to save money and energy so this product can pay for itself over time.”

Faculty Fellows: Developing a Sustainable Battery

A big concern with electric cars is the battery. You’re driving around with about a gallon of flammable liquid in there. If we can replace that with a nonflammable solid and we replace lithium with calcium, then we’re going to have a safer, better battery overall.Professor Ian Hosein

Ian Hosein

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

Developing a solid-state calcium-ion battery that is a cheaper, more powerful, and environmentally safer alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

SyracuseCoE Impact
A Faculty Fellows award from SyracuseCoE funded supplies and equipment to produce and test a prototype electrolyte and demonstrate that it is extremely conductive. “We have integrated the solid electrolyte into a prototype calcium-ion battery, demonstrated that it works, and are currently focusing on improving it,” Hosein says. “We never could have done this without the financial support from SyracuseCoE.”

Lithium-ion batteries are a popular energy technology due to lithium’s ability to store energy. Unfortunately, since lithium is mined in far-off places, it’s also expensive. And most lithium-ion batteries contain a liquid electrolyte that is flammable. “There’s a drive to find another ion that has the same energy density but is cheaper and more earth-abundant,” says Hosein.

Nuts and Bolts
Hosein has developed a battery using calcium—one of the most abundant elements in the world, which has double the charge of lithium—and replaced liquid electrolyte with a flame-resistant solid. “It’s essentially a plastic that contains the calcium ions and facilitates transport from one electrode to the other,” he explains. However, because every ion is unique, so is the solid electrolyte required to conduct energy. “It takes a lot of development to get the right combination of calcium source and the right plastic composition to actually get something that’s conductive,” says Hosein.

Practical Application
Having a safer and more powerful battery is important for industries ranging from personal devices to transportation. “Everyone’s heard about cell phone batteries that explode,” says Hosein. “A big concern with electric cars is the battery. You’re driving around with about a gallon of flammable liquid in there. If we can replace that with a nonflammable solid and we replace lithium with calcium, then we’re going to have a safer, better battery overall.” 

2019 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon: An Encore Winning Presentation

Mixed Use Multi-Family Housing Division First Place Winners

SUNY ESF and Syracuse University SEED – Syracuse Energy Efficient Design

See below for an encore presentation by the first place winning team in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2019 Solar Decathlon’s Mixed Use Multi-Family Housing Division. Students from SUNY ESF and Syracuse University collaborated this past year in the design of a Net Zero Energy Building, with guidance from several SyracuseCoE industry partners and community stakeholders.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. The winners of the competition are selected at a pitch event held at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, and reflect proposals that blend design architectural and engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart energy production.

Beyond designing an innovative net-zero energy building, the team also focused on addressing important social, economic, and environmental issues in the City of Syracuse. This presentation summarizes the challenges and follows the project from schematic design into design development and construction documents. Finally, students discussed opportunities for next steps in the project.


Michael Schmidt

Michael Schmidt ​is currently a junior studying Sustainable Construction Management with a minor in Management at SUNY-ESF. He transferred to ESF from Rockland Community College where he earned a degree in Green Buildings Maintenance & Management. Throughout his collegiate career, Mike has developed a strong passion for sustainability in the built environment. Beyond course work, he has worked for two years as a sustainability consultant on a variety of single-family and multifamily projects across the tri-state area.

Erika Gripp

Erika Gripp is one of three student leads on the DOE Solar Decathlon project and is a junior in the Construction Management program at SUNY-ESF. Originally from New Jersey and has been fascinated by the construction process since she was young. Her long term goal is to make a difference in the way buildings are created in relation to the environment.

Noah Townsend

Noah Townsend is a Syracuse native currently attending SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, pursuing his Bachelors in Sustainable Construction Management. He is one of three student leads in this years ESF/SU Solar Decathlon team. In addition, Noah has construction experience working for Consigli and Syracuse Custom Carpentry and Millwork.

Benjamin Schmidt

Benjamin Schmidt grew up in the rural community of Attica, NY just outside of Buffalo. He is currently a senior working towards a B.S. in Environmental Resources Engineering with a minor in Water Resources at SUNY-ESF. Ben leads the engineering team for the DOE Solar Decathlon project, managing the mechanical, electrical, and structural design components. His goal is to produce sustainable designs in buildings and environmental infrastructure.

Ryan Badke

Ryan Badke grew up in Syosset, NY on Long Island and is currently a junior in the Sustainable Constitution Management program at SUNY ESF. He has developed strong passion for sustainability and finding innovative ways to decrease waste products throughout the construction process. Ryan worked as a site superintendent at Park East Construction where he was responsible for all the day to day operations for the renovation of 5 schools throughout the Hicksville School District, while the schools were fully operational. He was also part of ESF’s DOE Solar Decathlon team and worked with the energy team to design renewable energy systems to ensure the design would be net-zero and have a small carbon footprint.



April R&T Forum – Up, Up, and Away: Using Drones for Earth Sciences and Geospatial Research and Teaching

What are the approaches, challenges, and successes to using UAVs in classes and for geospatial research?
Unoccupied aerial vehicles (UAVs), a.k.a. drones, are emerging technologies that are transforming numerous industries. In the environmental field, UAVs are changing the ways we monitor and collect data on land and over water, revolutionizing the quality and frequency of remote data collection that has previously been conducted via planes or satellites. 
In this Research and Technology Forum, we heard from two Syracuse University faculty members who are applying UAVs in their own research, and developing educational programs to share this new technology with undergraduate and graduate students. First, presenters introduced us to different types of UAV technologies, how these technologies are being used by earth and environmental scientists, and provided several local examples from thermal and multispectral monitoring around Syracuse that show how UAV data is improving our understanding at the intersection of hydrology and water quality. 
To round out the forum, we also discussed a new course, developed by Drs. Christa Kelleher and Jane Read, aimed at educating the next generation of environmental and earth scientists capable of using these tools when they leave Syracuse.


Photo of Christa KelleherProfessor Christa Kelleher

Assistant Professor, Earth Sciences and Civil Engineering, Syracuse University
Dr. Kelleher’s research interests are at the interfaces between climate, hydrology, humans, and ecology, particularly using observations and mathematical models to investigate the organization of hydrology and water quality across spatio-temporal scales. Currently, she’s pursuing projects to examine the hydrologic role of vacant lots in urban areas, exploring the hydrologic controls on contaminants of emerging concern across Central New York, and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to understand patterns of hydrology and water quality in Syracuse and beyond. Christa teaches courses in water science, hydrology, earth systems modeling, and applications of UAVs to environmental and earth sciences.

Photo of Professor Jane Read

Professor Jane Read

Associate Professor, Geography, Syracuse University
Dr. Read specializes in geographic information systems, remote sensing, land use and land cover, and human-environment interactions. Much of her research has focused in the neotropics, including Costa Rica, Brazil, and Guyana, although she has also studied historical land changes in the Adirondacks of New York State, USA and more recently working with colleagues on a digital atlas project – Onondaga Lake: Finding a Restorative Center in Digital Space. She was the Director of Undergraduate Studies for Geography from 2014-2018 and is interested in ways to incorporate active learning into the classroom. She teaches courses in global environmental change, tropical environments, spatial thinking and geospatial technologies (GIS, remote sensing, UAVs), and spatial storytelling.

SyracuseCoE Selects Five Companies from CenterState NY to Receive Funding to Advance Innovations

SyracuseCoE has selected five companies from CenterState New York to receive awards from the latest round of its Innovation Fund competition. Four the recipients are start-up firms that are members of the Clean Tech Center, an incubator operated by CenterState CEO at The Tech Garden. SyracuseCoE’s Innovation Fund is designed to help its Partner firms overcome barriers to the commercialization of potentially transformative innovations.

The five award-winning companies and their projects are:

  • cocoon construct, based at the CleanTech Center at The Tech Garden, is developing a prefabricated panelized system that seeks to unlock the market for whole-building deep energy retrofits in New York State and create jobs at multiple manufacturers throughout the product’s supply chain.
  • Ducted Turbines International, located in Potsdam and at the CleanTech Center, is commercializing a ducted turbine technology and needs to address key aspects of the system that are not readily available.
  • Edson Innovative Power, LLC, based at the CleanTech Center, will perform advanced thermal simulation and analysis on its product to drive design optimization and design verification prior to moving to production.
  • Farm to Flame Energy, a student-led venture from Syracuse University that is a member of the CleanTech Center, will construct a proof-of-concept prototype of a biomass-powered electricity generator that is capable of using any dry biomass feedstock.
  • LC Drives, located in Potsdam, is developing the next generation of electric motors that are smaller, lighter, and more efficient. This project will help scale the machine design and related manufacturing equipment.

“SyracuseCoE’s Innovation Fund awards highlight CenterState New York’s vibrant ecosystem for innovations and entrepreneurship in environmental and energy systems,” said Ed Bogucz, SyracuseCoE executive director, and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Syracuse University. “These awards are intended to help companies bridge the gap to commercialization of new products. We are especially pleased that four of the recipients also are receiving support from CenterState CEO’s CleanTech Center program at The Tech Garden.”

SyracuseCoE is New York State’s Center of Excellence for Environmental and Energy Systems. Funding for the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund is provided by industry members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program. The five awards in the current round total $47,146. To date, awards from the program have totaled $407,345 and supported 37 clean energy projects at 24 companies throughout New York State.

Eligibility for Innovation Fund awards is open to all current members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program. The next call for proposals is expected in August. Applicants submit a proposal and then pitch their project to a panel of reviewers from the region. To learn more about joining the SyracuseCoE Partner Program, contact Tammy Rosanio at

Faculty Fellows: The Impact of Green Infrastructure

Through SyracuseCoE, my students gain the ability to interact with others who are doing interdisciplinary water research at both the faculty and student level. Christa Kelleher

Photo of Christa KelleherChrista Kelleher

Assistant Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences; Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

Assessing the impact of passive green space on water infiltration, ground temperature, and air temperature.

Like many older cities, Syracuse has a combined sewer system that includes both sanitary waste and surface runoff. Rain and snowmelt can exceed the capacity of the system and cause combined sewer overflow (CSO), rising urban stream temperatures and harming aquatic ecosystems. Green infrastructure throughout the city attempts to improve water infiltration and reduce overflows. In addition to green infrastructure, the city’s many vacant lots can be considered a form of passive green infrastructure.

Nuts and Bolts
Kelleher and her students are assessing the performance of green infrastructure installations and vacant lots in Syracuse. They are monitoring soil temperature, air temperature, and water infiltration on five vacant lots slated to be repurposed with green infrastructure into urban rain gardens. “These conversions are designed to impact a single CSO outlet,” Kelleher explains. “The idea is that if they co-locate these sites, maybe it will impact the amount of storm water running off.” Baseline information gathered before installation will be used to evaluate the progress and effectiveness of the rain gardens. In addition, as a source of comparison, they are also collecting data from rural parks and from established green spaces within the Syracuse urban core.

And Another Thing
One of the sites being studied is SyracuseCoE headquarters. Graduate student Crystal Burgess installed sensors on the SyracuseCoE green roof, on a large planting bed adjacent to the parking lot, and in a mostly shaded area near the building entrance. “This allows us to gather a range of temperature profiles that we would see in an urban area and also to factor in how much factors such as buildings and vegetation play in decreasing soil temperature,” Burgess says. Summer intern Zoe Curewitz, a student at Nottingham High School in Syracuse, also contributed to the project by helping to install sensors across the Syracuse University campus.

SyracuseCoE Impact
Kelleher previously received a $10,000 competitive award from the Faculty Fellow Program to study longitudinal patterns of stream temperature and levels of storm flow along Onondaga Creek using unmanned aerial vehicles. “All of this work concerns the movement of heat in urban systems,” she says. In addition to funding, “SyracuseCoE has been instrumental in helping me connect with other folks at the University and beyond that to the broader community,” she says. “Through SyracuseCoE, my students gain the ability to interact with others who are doing interdisciplinary water research at both the faculty and student level.”

Faculty Fellows: Assessing Chemical Impact

If we’re interested in thinking about urban areas as landscapes, it’s nice to know what’s coming into the system and helpful to know how the landscape functions.Professor Charles Driscoll

Charles DriscollCharles Driscoll

University Professor of Environmental Systems and Distinguished Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

Professor Driscoll is measuring atmospheric deposition—the chemicals reaching the Earth through rain and air—in Central New York, comparing sites in urban Syracuse, including the SyracuseCoE green roof, with rural Skaneateles.

The Syracuse project is an offshoot of Driscoll’s long-standing research on the effects of acid and mercury deposition and climate change on forest, aquatic, and coastal ecosystems in the Northeast and elsewhere. Driscoll also recently began collaborating with researchers at Boston University who are taking similar measurements in Boston, to develop models to evaluate how urban landscapes are different from rural landscapes in responding to climate change and urban air pollution. He’s also sharing information with the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, which is increasing its research focus on urban areas.

Nuts and Bolts
Driscoll began measuring atmospheric deposition at the SyracuseCoE headquarters in 2011. Last year, he added additional sites in Syracuse to compare levels and patterns of contaminants over the course of the year. He’s also assessing the function of the SyracuseCoE green roof in terms of its ability to retain water, nutrients, and trace metals. “We measure many more chemicals than is routine,” Driscoll says. Because there have been few measurements taken in urban areas and some of these chemicals are not typically measured, Driscoll believes some of the patterns found in Syracuse have never before been reported. As an additional comparison, he established a testing station in Skaneateles identical to the one at SyracuseCoE.

What He’s Found
Not surprisingly, overall air pollution levels in Syracuse are higher than those in Skaneateles, significantly impacted by highway auto emissions, construction activities, and road salt. But there were chemicals with higher levels in the rural setting, including phosphorus. “There are harmful algal blooms in Skaneateles Lake that people think are driven by inputs of phosphorus. We think the phosphorus we’re measuring is going to be a large input to the lake,” he says. “We learn things from these measurements that stimulate interest in new areas that we didn’t really intend.”

SyracuseCoE Impact
Driscoll’s project has been funded over four rounds of the Faculty Fellows Program. In addition to research funding, the SyracuseCoE green roof provides a world-class research environment. “There’s a lot of interest in green infrastructure, and the SyracuseCoE green roof is a Cadillac roof,” he says. “I don’t think there’s a green roof in the world that outperforms it.”

Practical Application
Few studies have been done of atmospheric deposition in urban areas. “If we’re interested in thinking about urban areas as landscapes, it’s nice to know what’s coming into the system and helpful to know how the landscape functions,” he says.

March R&T Forum – Engineered by Corning, Designed by Syracuse Architecture: The Architectural Applications of Corning® Willow Glass®

Dr. Daekwon Park (Assistant Professor at Syracuse School of Architecture) and Dr. Sean Garner (Senior Research Associate at Corning Inc.) discuss the experimental collaboration process between designers at Syracuse School of Architecture and scientists at Corning Incorporated. The collaboration was conducted as a semester-long directed research studio course for the Master of Science students at Syracuse School of Architecture. Dr. Daekwon Park and his students focused on developing creative and innovative architectural application derived from the plethora of innovative glass and ceramic technologies at Corning including Willow Glass, Gorilla Glass, and Fiber Optic Lighting among others. Dr. Sean Garner coordinated and led the team of experts including scientists, engineers, and marketing experts at Corning to support and guide the research process.
The experimental collaboration process, which was both productive and informative for both entities, can serve as a good case study for other early-stage industry-academia collaboration endeavors.


Daekwon ParkDr. Daekwon Park

Assistant Professor, Syracuse University School of Architecture
Faculty Research Fellow, SyracuseCoE
Daekwon Park is a registered practicing architect and assistant professor at Syracuse University School of Architecture. He is a faculty research fellow and director of the Material Archi-Tectonic Research Lab (MATR LAB) at the Syracuse Center of Excellence. Park is also the founder of the multidisciplinary design practice MATR Studio based in Syracuse, NY. His research, practice, and pedagogy investigate the intersection between design, material technology, and environmental science with an emphasis on how it influences the way the built environment is designed, built, and occupied.

Dr. Sean Garner

Senior Research Associate, Corning Inc.
Sean M. Garner received a B.Eng. degree in Engineering Physics (Applied Laser and Optics) from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1993 and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (Electrophysics) from the University of Southern California in 1998. Sean joined Corning Incorporated in 1998 working in the area of materials processing and device prototyping, and today he continues this work at the company’s Science and Technology Center as a Senior Research Associate. For more information on Sean see this news article on Corning’s website.



Moderated By:

Gary GirzadasGary Girzadas

Executive Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Syracuse University
Gary Girzadas directs a team of dedicated professionals who champion innovative partnerships with industry and foundation organizations. He focuses on strategically aligning the mission of Syracuse University with partners in a range of technical, social science, and cutting edge policy areas and sectors.  With extensive higher education experience, Gary works to develop holistic university partnerships that energize signature areas of strength. Over his tenure in the field he has developed gifts, grants, sponsored research, corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs and philanthropic support for local, national, and global projects.

February R&T Forum – From the Front Lines: Deep Energy Retrofit Solutions

New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) has partnered with the Dutch initiative EnergieSprong to challenge market development of feasible deep energy retrofits. Beginning with six pilot projects focused on affordable multifamily housing, teams throughout the State search to flush out demand forecasts, industry investment, and regulatory constraints to drive market transforming solutions to net zero, or near net zero retrofits targeting the State’s existing building stock.

Where do the origins of this concept lie? This leads us on an adventure through the Netherlands, where market development has been in process for nearly ten years. A team of architects, engineers, financiers and owners took the opportunity to experience, first-hand, the advancements in technology and financing principles involved with developing market ready deep energy retrofits.

We bring this information back to North America for implementation, sharing details of cost compression including industrialization of architectural components, pre-fabricated mechanical systems, and finance models showing the ability for such retrofits to become viable in a market driven economy. Most importantly we make connections to New York State and North America, assessing compatibility and the opportunity to adapt and expand upon metrics seen for nearly a decade overseas.


Tom King

Designer King + King Architects
Tom is a Certified Passive House Designer and Tradesperson, trained in the construction, detailing and energy modeling of high-performance buildings. At King+King he lives in the details. Designing high performing envelope systems for all buildings, large and small. Whether it be Net Zero, Passive House, new construction or renovation, complying with limited budgets and Energy Codes, or striving toward the highest performance metrics; every building stands to benefit from air tight construction, continuous insulation and high quality detailing coupled with integrated mechanical system strategies. Tom pushes this boundary and challenges colleagues and consultants alike to think, design, and construct more holistically.

Tom is a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology, where he held a leading role in the research, design and construction of the SURE House’s resilient and sustainable components. The SURE House is a net zero energy prototype for resilient residential construction targeting coastal neighborhoods increasingly affected by a changing climate. The Stevens SURE House team, led by six graduate students including Tom, won an unprecedented seven of ten competitions at the 2015 US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition. Tom holds a Master’s in Engineering from Stevens and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Roger Williams University.

Sadie McKeown

Executive VP and COO
Community Preservation Corporation

McKeown oversees the company’s lending activities, business operations and investor relations, as well the operation of its regional field offices located throughout New York. McKeown is also responsible for spearheading the company’s innovative “underwriting efficiency” practice that incorporates energy and water efficiency features into the financing of first mortgages for multifamily building owners. CPC has used this new underwriting method to leverage nearly $6.4 million in additional mortgage financing to fund more than 3,600 units of energy-efficient multifamily housing across NYS.

After starting her career at CPC as a Mortgage Originator in 1992, McKeown later served as Senior VP and Director of Lending in CPC’s Hudson Valley Region, where she led the company’s Downtown Main Street initiatives. McKeown earned her Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Housing from Cornell University. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Fordham University.


Call for Proposals: Up to $10,000 available for SyracuseCoE Partners

2019 Innovation Fund Round 1 Call for Proposals Open to Partners

The deadline has passed.

The Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) invites proposals to the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund from current SyracuseCoE Partners for up to $10,000. The Innovation Fund is funded by SyracuseCoE Partner Program and is designed to support Partners’ efforts to overcome barriers to the commercialization of potentially transformative innovations. Projects must be aligned with commercialization of innovative products/technologies and focused on one or more of SyracuseCoE’s three core areas:

  • Indoor Environmental Quality and Building Energy Efficiency
  • Clean & Renewable Energy
  • Water Resources

To apply, you must submit the application and required documents by 5:00pm EST, Friday, March 8th, 2019.

January R&T Forum – Small Packaged Heat Pumps: Rethinking Everything

Heat pumps are a key strategy for eliminating fossil fuel use, being promoted by everyone from savvy HVAC contractors to national environmental groups to city and state agencies, but split system heat pumps are costly. Wouldn’t a small packaged solution be a hit in the market? Multifamily per-room heat loss is becoming so small, whether through deep energy retrofits or high-performance new construction, that a small packaged heat pump might really be JUST what’s needed for widespread adoption.

Imagine: no refrigerant piping, no refrigerant pipe insulation or chases, no licensed refrigeration tech, no outdoor pad, no outdoor electrical disconnect, not even an outdoor unit of any sort! How about costs in the $1000-2000 range instead of $5000-10,000 or more. Taitem’s recent study of existing and emerging technology reveals that we’re not quite there yet. 

Where are we? What’s out there? Do current packaged terminal heat pumps come close? And if not, could they with some design modifications? What else is available or being developed? Watch our January R&T below for a lively discussion of getting downright small with heat pumps.


Ian Shapiro, PE, LEED AP

Senior Engineer
Taitem Engineering

Ian founded Taitem in 1989. He is the co-author of the books Green Building Illustrated (2014) and Energy Audits and Improvements for Commercial Buildings (2016), both published by Wiley. He has been a visiting lecturer at Cornell University, Tompkins Cortland Community College, and Syracuse University. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University, and an M.S. from Columbia University, both in mechanical engineering. Ian is a licensed engineer in the states of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania. In his spare time, Ian enjoys to spend time with family and friends, write poetry, and play soccer and basketball.



Evan Hallas

Senior Energy Analyst
Taitem Engineering

With ten years of experience in building science and energy efficiency, Evan has a deep understanding of building systems, strong communication skills, and a commitment to quality. Evan recognizes the importance of getting the details right, and to support this, he splits his time between the office and being out in the field.



SyracuseCoE Has Student Internships Available!

Students play an integral role in the success of SyracuseCoE. As part of a student-focused research university we have the privilege to engage a diverse group of students in varying capacities throughout the year. Staff interns, members of the Summer Industry Collaboration Internship Program, and student researchers are just a few of the roles students have at SyracuseCoE to participate in experiential learning and real-world industry collaboration that addresses emerging opportunities and societal needs. Visit the links below for all the internship info!

What’s it like to work at SyracuseCoE as an Intern?

SyracuseCoE Building Systems Intern

SyracuseCoE seeks candidates to work as Intern, 10-40 hours a week, to assist Facilities Manager in providing support for HVAC, Mechanical, and Electrical building systems. This internship position is available immediately and has the potential to be extended throughout the remainder of 2019.

December R&T Forum – UTC Center for Intelligent Buildings: A Living Showcase of What’s Possible

The UTC Center for Intelligent Buildings is a first-of-its-kind technology, innovation and collaboration center showcasing United Technologies products and integrated systems.

Located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the center features solutions and interactive displays from UTC’s Comfort, Control and Security brands (CCS), creating a living showcase of what’s possible when technologies are implemented intelligently and integrated to increase efficiency, protect people and property, and enhance the occupant experience.

This presentation focuses  mainly on the building’s HVAC innovations, and, time-permitting, we will visit the building operations remotely, via its building automation system.


Bill ChadwickWilliam (Bill) Chadwick

Principal Systems Engineer
UTC Building Solutions Group, AdvanTEC
United Technologies Corporation

Bill is part of the global UTC Building Solutions Group, which serves as a central point of contact for key accounts and delivers highly engineered solutions to solve customer problems in various vertical markets. Bill Chadwick serves as principal systems engineer within the AdvanTEC technology & engineering group.

Bill has more than 45 years of building systems engineering experience. He has:

  • Expertise in HVAC systems analysis, design, and integration; indoor air quality design and remediation; and building systems control and integration.
  • Held positions within consulting engineering and architectural firms where he designed, engineered, and directed the design of HVAC, plumbing and fire protection systems for commercial, institutional and industrial buildings, new and remodeled.
  • Provided HVAC system design consultation for The New Falcon Stadium, Atlanta, GA, and the Residence Antilia, Mumbai, India
  • Developed various award-winning, custom solutions, including an innovative HVAC solution for the Sistine Chapel, which reduced energy use more than 30% while doubling the load.
  • Determined the MEP system selections and served as the design consultant for UTC’s new Center for Intelligent Buildings, designed to use 40% less energy despite increasing outdoor air ventilation by over 50% to improve IAQ and occupant productivity.

Bill has served on industry advisor boards for both the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, and the Center for High Performance Buildings at Purdue University. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, and a Certificate in Indoor Environmental Quality, Syracuse University. Bill is a Licensed Professional Engineer in MI, OH, NY and PA. He is a Certified Energy Manager from the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), and is a LEED® Accredited Professional BD+C from the U.S. Green Build Council (USGBC). He remains active in ASHRAE as a Life Member.

Inficon Facility Tour

As part of the TEC Innovates Program, monthly factory tours engage suppliers and regional business partners throughout the region, allowing cluster firms to network and learn more about new industry developments. In November, AM-TEC firms and partners toured Inficon expansion facility, in East Syracuse, NY. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Switzerland, INFICON is a leading provider of innovative instrumentation, critical sensor technologies, and advanced process control software that enhance productivity and quality in sophisticated industrial vacuum processes. These analysis, measurement and control products are essential for gas leak detection in air conditioning/refrigeration, and automotive manufacturing. They are vital to equipment manufacturers and end-users in the complex fabrication of semiconductors and thin film coatings for optics, flat panel displays, solar cells and industrial vacuum coating applications. Other users of vacuum based processes include the life sciences, research, aerospace, packaging, heat treatment, laser cutting and many other industrial processes. Inficon leverages expertise in vacuum technology to provide unique, toxic chemical analysis products for emergency response, security, and environmental monitoring.
Inficon welcomed the AM-TEC group with a tour of the facility, including its new 64,000 sq. ft expansion with 20,000 sq. ft certified clean room space. The highly efficient and flexible design included state-of-the-art technology with an online Building Management System, Ultraclean process gas distribution, and automated Vertical Lift Module storage system.
Learn more about SyracuseCoE TEC Innovates and Factory Tours. Learn more about Inficon.

CHAMPS and Annex68 Meet Again at SyracuseCoE

Syracuse, NY –Leading researchers from around the world convened again at the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy (SyracuseCoE) to take part in a workshop and meeting on advanced building systems. The events examined the major challenges facing the combined heat, air, moisture and pollutant simulations for the design and operation of sustainable buildings, featured the most recent progress, and discovered opportunities for further collaboration.

The 15th International Forum and Workshop on Combined Heat, Air, Moisture and Pollutant Simulations (CHAMPS) included presentations by the international visitors and Syracuse University faculty and students. The 6th Expert Meeting of IEA-EBC Annex 68 Indoor Air Quality Design and Control in Low Energy Residential Buildings was held on the same day at SyracuseCoE. The two events had a joint public meeting, with topics at the forum including indoor environment quality models, energy performance research, healthy and intelligent buildings strategies and site planning around the effects of climate change.

Both events highlighted the importance of creating high-performance buildings that improve human health and performance while remaining sustainable and reducing building energy use. Research has indicated that people spend up to 80% of their time in indoor environments and 40% of building energy consumption goes to normal operations of heating, cooling and lighting. Industrialization has made it more critical than ever to develop sustainable buildings that boost human quality of life while reducing energy consumption.

15th Annual International Forum and Workshop on CHAMPS Organizers
Danish Technical University, Denmark
Dresden University of Technology, Germany
Nanjing University, China
Syracuse University, U.S.A.
University College of London, U.K.
University de la Rochelle, France
University of Tokyo, Japan

Aims and Scope
CHAMPS 2018 and IEA-EBC Annex-68 will have a joint public meeting in the afternoon of September 30, 2018 to discuss the major challenges facing the combined heat, air, moisture and pollutant simulations for the design and operation of sustainable buildings, highlight the most recent progresses, and identify opportunities for further collaboration. Topics may include:

1. Whole building IEQ and energy performance: Modeling and simulation of combined heat, air, moisture, and pollutant transport processes in and around buildings, and how these processes impact IEQ and building energy efficiency;
2. Healthy and intelligent buildings: Interaction and interdependencies between IEQ and energy efficiency measures, effectiveness of source reduction, ventilation and air cleaning strategies; model-based predictive control, application of internet of things (IOTs) technology in distributed building environmental control;
3. Climate, community and site planning: Climate change effects on IEQ, urban and community planning, micro-urban climate and energy efficiency of building clusters;
4. Building envelope performance: hygrothermal performance of buildings in different climates, leakage and moisture control, envelope-integrated ventilation and energy storage systems, energy and durability;
5. Micro-environment around occupants: demand-based personal environmental control, occupant behavior and impacts on IEQ and energy efficiency;
6. Design studio: Methods and tools for coordinated and integrated urban and building systems design, building information modeling (BIM), CHAMPS simulation framework, software, and optimization techniques, common databases of materials, assemblies, building topologies, climates, and real-world versus design performances.
7. Case studies: Applications of CHAMPS for building systems design and model-based predictive controls.

SyracuseCoE previously hosted the 13th International Forum and Workshop on CHAMPS in 2016. The city of Syracuse is a leader in the international community of indoor air quality and sustainable building technology. Previous events such as the 2018 International Building Physics Conference and upcoming expos like the Emerging Technology Showcase draw global experts and researchers to Syracuse.

Eight Student Presentations on Research and Innovation Projects Win Awards at Annual SyracuseCoE Student Poster Competition

Eight Student Presentations on Research and Innovation Projects Win Awards at Annual SyracuseCoE Student Poster Competition

There were eight winners of the 2018 SyracuseCoE Student Poster Competition. Thirty-four student posters from six institutions were judged on September 24 during the International Building Physics Conference (IBPC2018) co-hosted by SyracuseCoE and Syracuse University. Judges engaged poster contestants and posters were judged on project layout and design of posters, as well as student’s knowledge and ability to explain posters and answer questions from judges.

“These competitions put student’s hard work in the spotlight and gives them a valuable opportunity to present their research with a broad group of people,” said Ed Bogucz, SyracuseCoE executive director and associate professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University. “We look forward to hosting the annual SyracuseCoE Student Poster Competition every year to applaud student’s success.”

Posters were judged in three categories: undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. winners:

Undergrad Winners:

1st Place: Andres Inga, SUNY Oswego, Physics, Characterization of Ferromagnetic and Ferroelectric Heterostructure; Faculty Advisor: Shireen Adenwalla

2nd Place: Jason Cho, Syracuse University, The Discovery of the Optimal Greenest Source of Urban Irrigation; Faculty Advisor: Charley Driscoll

3rd Place: Kyle Bautista, SUNY Oswego, Adolescent Education and Physics, Success in American Public Schools: Creative Building Strategies for Enhanced Education; Faculty Advisor: Carolina Ilie

Master’s Winners:

1st Place: Lucie Worthen, Syracuse University, Environmental Engineering, Validation of the PCSWMM LID Module for an Extensive Green Roof in Syracuse, NY; Faculty Advisor: Cliff Davidson

2nd Place: Stephanie Haller, Ehsan Sabaghian, and Rawad El Kontar, Syracuse University, Architecture, Community Energy: Technical and Social Challenges, and Integrative Solutions; Faculty Advisors: Jason Dedrick, Elizabeth Krietemeyer, Tarek Rakha

PhD Winners:

1st place: Shreyas Pathreeker, Syracuse University, Chemical Engineering, Using Visible Light to Develop Advanced Battery Electrodes; Faculty Advisor: Ian D. Hosein

2nd Place: Francielli Silva Genier, Syracuse University, Chemical Engineering, Solid Polymer Electrolyte Networks for Calcium Ion Conduction; Faculty Advisor: Ian D. Hosein

3rd Place: Leila Nikdel, Clarkson University, Environmental Science and Engineering, Comparison of Different Energy Savings Strategies in Residential Buildings; Faculty Advisor: Susan Powers

Poster judges included Daniel Betts, BeCool Inc; Bill Chadwick, United Technologies Corporation; Aimee Clinkhammer, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Bob DelZoppo, SRC Inc.; Michael Genovese, NYSERDA; Ben Larsen, King + King Architects; Chonghui Liu, CNY ASHRAE; Dave Martini, Air Innovations; Mary Reidy, National Grid; and Adam Walburger, CDH Energy.

2018 Innovation Showcase

We celebrated the many activities and accomplishments of student-supported projects at the 2018 SyracuseCoE Innovation Showcase and Summer BBQ! Exhibits and posters were displayed featuring innovative projects, ideas and research, including:

  • Student summer internship projects
  • Student researchers working with SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows
  • Analysis & Design Center projects
  • Signature research projects led by faculty

Included in the projects was a special presentation from a group of high school seniors. The students described and demonstrated “Carl”, a robotic coyote they designed and built as a project in the ITC Innovation club. The project was done for Sunoco Ethanol to help safely keep geese from their property.

Up to $10,000 available for SyracuseCoE Partner firms’ commercialization activities!

2018 Innovation Fund Call for Proposals Now Open to Partner Firms!

The Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) invites proposals to the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund from current SyracuseCoE Partner companies for up to $10,000. The Innovation Fund is funded by SyracuseCoE Partner Program and is designed to support Partner firms’ efforts to overcome barriers to the commercialization of potentially transformative innovations. Projects must be aligned with commercialization of innovative products/technologies and focused on one or more of SyracuseCoE’s three core areas:

  • Indoor Environmental Quality and Building Energy Efficiency
  • Clean & Renewable Energy
  • Water Resources

It is anticipated that there will be six awards.

To apply, you must submit the application below and complete and return the following documents by 5:00pm EST, Friday, August 30, 2018.

Learn more

SyracuseCoE Hiring Communications Interns For Summer & Fall 2018

SyracuseCoE is hiring hardworking and creative students for a communications internship. Students will work on real-world projects, interesting events, international conferences, and gain valuable experience working on a multi-disciplinary communications team. Interns will develop professional skills through carrying out various tasks:

   • Maintaining website graphics and copy

   • Supporting print and web-based design to include such items as: writing copy for news and outreach, designing flyers and posters, exhibits, handbooks and           other publications

   • Coordinating and executing social media and emarketing campaigns in accordance with monthly communications goals

   • Writing and distributing press releases and other external communications

   • Contributing to the execution of SyracuseCoE and other events

   • Assisting in other departmental projects as needed

Student must have a good understanding and demonstrated experience with written communications, graphic design and typography, Adobe Creative Suite, MS Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

View the Summer & Fall 2018 Internship application.

Check out our Students Page to learn more about the experience you can have at SyracuseCoE!

2018 Faculty Fellows Program Request for Proposals

Deadline has passed


SyracuseCoE, a unit of the Syracuse University Office of Research, invites applications for Seed Funding through its Faculty Fellows Program. The SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program seeks to strengthen faculty scholarship in SyracuseCoE’s targeted research areas, support engagements with SyracuseCoE’s Industry Partners, and provide leadership that advances research collaborations among SyracuseCoE’s Academic Partner institutions. Individuals who hold faculty appointments at Syracuse University, and SyracuseCoE Partner institutions SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), SUNY Oswego, and SUNY Upstate Medical University are eligible to apply.

This Request for Proposals (RFP) will support seed funding for research in our core technical areas:

  • Clean and renewable energy
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Water resources

Proposals are intended to support development of new research efforts and directions that will advance SyracuseCoE’s research areas, rather than incremental steps forward on existing research programs. All proposals must address how the use of the Faculty Fellow seed funding will lead to a significant “next step” in the research, lead to or leverage follow-on funding opportunities, and contribute to establishing SyracuseCoE and its Partner institutions as thought leaders in the targeted area. In addition, projects are encouraged to strategically target research topics that hold promise for contributing to economic development of local entities and New York State businesses.


The 2018-2019 Faculty Fellows Program RFP is open to faculty members who hold full-time appointments at SyracuseCoE Academic Partner institutions: Syracuse University, SUNY-ESF, SUNY Oswego and SUNY Upstate Medical University. Individuals who hold appointments as tenured, tenuretrack, and non-tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply. SyracuseCoE strongly encourages proposals to include the participation of multiple faculty members, including teams from multiple departments, colleges, and/or institutions. Teams are encouraged, but not required, to include non-university participants, especially collaborators from SyracuseCoE Partner companies. However, funds may be disbursed only to academic institutions. An individual faculty member may serve as the primary PI for only one proposal; however, any individual may serve as a Co-Investigator on multiple proposals. Multiinvestigator teams are considered to be those with more than one eligible faculty member. Multiinvestigator projects should clearly explain the role of each team member and the value to a team approach for the proposed project.


Up to $10,000 for a single investigator; up to $20,000 for a multi-investigator, multidisciplinary team. SyracuseCoE intends to award up to $75,000 in this round. Funding will be available starting mid-August 2018. All funds must be expended by June 30, 2019.


Applications are no longer being accepted.

View all the information about the 2018 Faculty Fellows RFP including the proposal format and project narrative.

May R&T Forum: Creating Resilient Heating Systems for Extreme Weather Events

Extreme weather events including hurricanes, snow storms and ice storms are a growing challenge as one of the many effects of global climate change. Combating this obstacle through resilient technology is one of the engineering challenges of the 21st Century.
Ryan’s research has investigated innovative ways of combining conventional combustion systems with solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The burners act as a hydrocarbon reformer while generating thermal energy for SOFC operation. This presentations examines fundamentals of SOFCs and fuel-rich combustion and extends the preliminary results to bench-scale systems. Applications of this technology include furnaces, hot water heaters and boilers, among others.


Ryan Milcarek

NSF GRFP Graduate Fellow JSPS International Research Fellow
Ph.D. Candidate Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department Combustion and Energy Research (COMER) Laboratory
Ryan Milcarek obtained his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department at Syracuse University. He also obtained a M.S. in Energy Systems Engineering, Certificate of Advanced Study in Sustainable Enterprise and Certificate in University Teaching during his graduate studies. After graduation, Ryan will begin a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at Arizona State University in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering: School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy. His current research is focused on micro-tubular Flame-assisted Fuel Cells (FFCs), system level hybrid combustion/FFC applications including micro cogeneration and two-stage combustors, microcombustion, manufacturing of ceramic materials for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), and energy modeling. He also conducts research in engineering education in areas of sustainability, resilience and fuel cell education. Ryan gained his passion for energy research during his undergraduate studies while conducting energy assessments of industrial facilities as part of the Industrial Assessment Center program which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Ryan is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, JSPS International Research Fellow, ASHRAE Graduate Grant-in-Aid recipient, a recipient of the ASME International Gas Turbine Institute student scholarship, an Astronaut Scholar, and a former Syracuse University Graduate Fellow.

April R&T Forum: Personalized Environmental Control Systems

In 2015, a team of researchers and engineers led by Prof. H. Ezzat Khalifa at Syracuse University was one of 11 teams selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (USDoE) to develop technologies that regulate the thermal environment around building occupants, rather than the entire building. The DoE has determined that doing so would save the US approximately 15% of the large amount of energy used for building HVAC. Prof. Khalifa and his team have developed an advanced micro-environmental control system, named μX, that is compact, efficient, quiet, and ergonomic. Developed as part of the DoE’s ARPA-E program, μX can enable local climate control to keep a desk occupant comfortable and facilitate expansion of thermostat setpoints, significantly reducing energy consumption for building HVAC.

This R&T Forum featured presentations on multiple aspects of this innovative micro-environmental control system, as well as a discussion of the history and opportunity offered by personal environmental control systems.


Dr. H. Ezzat Khalifa

Dr. H. Ezzat Khalifa

Dr. H. Ezzat Khalifa is NYSTAR Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University, where he conducts research on distributed environmental control, and high-efficiency power and cooling systems for data centers. He is the originator and PI of the micro environmental control system (μX) concept. He has over 50 years of R&D experience in energy conversion and environmental control systems. Before joining SU, he served as the Director of the Carrier R&D Program at United Technologies Research Center, where he was responsible for planning and executing a diversified portfolio of R&D in innovative environmental control and energy conversion technologies. Prior to this, Dr. Khalifa was the Director of Engineering for the Carrier Carlyle Compressor Division, where he oversaw all aspects of the development and reliability of vapor compressors for air-conditioning and refrigeration. Dr. Khalifa holds a Ph.D. in Thermodynamics & Fluid Dynamics from Brown University. He is Fellow of ASME and ASHRAE.


Michael Wetzel

Michael Wetzel

Michael Wetzel, P.E., is President and CEO of Air Innovations, which designs and manufactures specialty HVAC systems for a broad range of applications, from military to wine cellars to high tech. Since joining the company as president and CEO in 1996, Wetzel has grown Air Innovations from a company focused solely on floral coolers to one that addresses wide variety of refrigeration, air conditioning and filtration needs. Prior to Air Innovations, Wetzel was based in France and worked four years for a multinational company building cleanrooms in Europe and the Middle East. Stateside before that, he was employed in the HVAC construction industry. Wetzel received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University and is the holder of seven U.S. patents. Wetzel, who speaks fluent English and French, is a licensed Professional Engineer.


James W. Bush

James W. Bush

James W. Bush has been working in the field of electromechanical machine design and manufacturing for 40 years with a focus on compression machinery for air, natural gas, and refrigerants. He is presently the Principal of Bush Technical, LLC providing technical services in a number of fields including the development of a miniature scroll compressor used in the successful micro-environmental control system project. Mr. Bush has led or participated in the launch of 11 different products to market and recently played a lead role in the clean-paper, ground-up design, development, and production launch of a line of scroll compressors for the commercial air conditioning and heat pump industry. He is the named inventor or co-inventor on 117 U.S. patents in this field and is author or co-author of 16 technical publications. He received his Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in 1982 with an emphasis on Engineering Acoustics and Machine Design. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department where he assists in teaching the MEE 471/472 Senior Design Project sequence.



Dr. H. Ezzat Khalifa, NYSTAR Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Syracuse University College of Engineering & Computer Science

Michael Wetzel, P.E., President and CEO, Air Innovations

James W. Bush, Principal, Bush Technical, LLC

January Research and Technology Forum: The Business of Good Social Entrepreneurship, B Corporations and the New Bottom Line

Certified B Corporations are for-profit companies certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet a rigorous set of standards related to social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today, according to B Lab, there is a growing community of more than 2,100 Certified B Corps from 50 countries and over 130 industries working together toward a single unifying goal: to redefine success in business. The forum featured Central New York entrepreneurs Kevin Stack, Josh Stack, and Kennedy Alexis Patlan, who have traveled the challenging path to Certified B Corporation status, leveraging the power of business and the markets for social and environmental good.  The forum was moderated by Linda Dickerson Hartsock, Executive Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University.


Kevin Stack, Northeast Green Building Consulting, LLC, Northeast Natural Homes, Inc.

Josh Stack, Stack, Law, PLLC, Biomimicry Northern Forest

Kennedy Alexis Patlan, Social Entrepreneurship Engagement Scholar, Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad

Climate Reality + Emerging Technologies = Drivers for Building Science Research

The December Research and Technology Forum focused on the future of energy efficiency and the changing needs for research in building science. This R&T forum featured Taitem Engineering Chairman Ian Shapiro, who has lead several applied energy conservation research projects and delivered workshops in the areas of energy and ventilation. Shapiro has been trained twice by Al Gore through the Climate Reality Project and has been a guest lecturer at Cornell University, Tompkins Cortland Community College and Syracuse University.




Researchers and Faculty Fellows Use Virtual Reality to Explore Fluid Dynamics

Assistant Professor Melissa Green’s Flow Visualization Lab in the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences is studying the movement of fish using virtual reality to understand how to optimize the propulsion of nautical vehicles. Virtual reality allows the user to move within a 3D flow field to view the model from the inside for improved understating of the 3D model. The project was funded by a grant from Syracuse Center of Excellence and was a collaborative effort with Green and two Faculty Fellows, Assistant Professors Amber Bartosh and Bess Krietemeyer of the School of Architecture and Interactive Visualization and Design Lab, a Syracuse alum and current students. Bartosh and Krietemeyer use virtual reality to design energy data visualizations for architectural design and provided guidance on usage of virtual reality. Read the full story here.

Syracuse University Researchers Awarded $1.2M from U.S. Department of Energy

Syracuse University Researchers from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and School of Architecture have been awarded $1.2 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a low-cost, high-accuracy sensor platform that accurately detects human presence inside residential buildings and adjusts temperature settings to reduce energy use. SyracuseCoE played a large role in securing the funds from DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) and will partner with SRI International, a nonprofit research center, to achieve the project’s main goal of developing technology that will not only save energy but money as well.  Read the full story here. 

Industry Partners: NuClimate

Cool Savings For High-Rise Hotels

In the early 2000s, NuClimate Air Quality Systems worked with SyracuseCoE to develop an innovative chilled-beam technology for providing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for commercial buildings such as schools and hospitals. A $50,000 award from SyracuseCoE’s Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP) enabled the company to achieve its first sales in 2005. Subsequently, NuClimate signed an exclusive deal with Carrier to sell its chilled beam worldwide with the Carrier name on it. Now the company has developed a new vertical stack fan coil unit that reduces energy consumption for air circulation to less than 20 watts, substantially lower than anything currently available on the market.

Two years ago, NuClimate was approached by an international hotel chain looking to reduce energy costs by replacing aging HVAC units in each high-rise hotel room. The old units consumed 300 to 350 watts to operate the fan. While current equipment on the market uses an average of 80 to 85 watts to operate the fan, the chain wanted NuClimate to improve that by 20 percent or more. NuClimate focused on the specific need and challenge of providing comfortable climate in individual high-rise hotel rooms, developing an oversized coil and employing a fan not used in fancoil systems today. The result: a unit that consumes an average of 16.6 watts to heat or cool the room that it’s in, performance that was verified by UL testing conducted with funding from a competitive award from SyracuseCoE’s Innovation Fund.

“We customized it specifically for the hotel marketplace and for the desire to save energy,” says John DiMillo, vice president of NuClimate. “The drawback is that the per-unit cost is higher, but the return on investment in energy savings is very desirable.” The system is particularly attractive for use in cities with high per-kilowatt energy costs, such as New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. A prototype of the new system was installed in one of the hotel chain’s premier New York City locations, where it has been running for the past year. NuClimate plans to sell the product across the entire hotel marketplace.

“We think this is a revolutionary new product,” says DiMillo, who anticipates the company could be building 50,000 to 60,000 units once the product launches. He says SyracuseCoE shares a big part of that success story. “Whether it’s funding, or engineering assistance, or networking, they continue to be an unbelievable asset,” DiMillo says. “Any time we call, they come through for us.”

November Research and Technology Forum: Powered By Women: Clean Energy Entrepreneurship

SyracuseCoE celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week with an R&T Forum that highlighted women entrepreneurs. Amy CasperKaren Livingston, and Amanda Chou, three female entrepreneurs, offered personal insights of opportunities, experiences and challenges along their unique paths of entrepreneurship and innovations. The forum was moderated by Cindy Oehmigen, Director of Energy and Corporate Services at the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY).


Industry Partners: SBB Inc.

Partnering for Research and Design

When SBB Inc. was looking to convert a sterilization chamber door from stainless steel to glass, the company turned to the SyracuseCoE Analysis and Design Center. The center is a NYSERDA-funded resource created to help companies in Central New York’s thermal and environmental control cluster with product design challenges. For small firms like SBB, it’s an invaluable tool.

“Research is very expensive. We don’t work on simple things,” says SBB chief engineer and co-founder Vince Bongio. “The Analysis and Design Center supplies engineering and research talent that I couldn’t otherwise access cost-effectively.”

The center, located at SyracuseCoE headquarters, provides companies working in advanced manufacturing in thermal and environmental controls (AM-TEC) with assistance on design problems from graduate students and faculty from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. SBB has used the Analysis and Design Center on a range of projects, from analyzing fluid dynamics in a small sterilization chamber system, to adapting the same technology on a room system, to analyzing a structural walking tile used in its clean-room ceiling grid system.

“Students get to do some real-life application work on difficult problems that ties to their education and has tangible outcomes,” says Bongio.
SBB, in East Syracuse, was founded by Bongio and two partners in 2000 and soon partnered with the SyracuseCoE. An AM-TEC Research and Development Award from the SyracuseCoE funded development of high-technology environmental control systems that reduced energy in refrigeration systems.

Through SyracuseCoE, SBB has also participated with SU’s Mechanical Engineering Capstone Project, resulting in the development of a latent phase change heat recovery heat exchanger. In addition to the hands-on research and design assistance, Bongio says networking opportunities through the SyracuseCoE have been extremely beneficial, particularly the annual SyracuseCoE Symposium. “I always learn about new technology I otherwise would be unaware of,” he says.

“Information is power, and the proper use of information is where the real power is,” says Bongio. “You just can’t discover these things without being active with forward-thinking entities like the SyracuseCoE.”

Nine Student Presentations on Research and Innovation Projects Win Awards at 17th Annual SyracuseCoE Symposium

There were nine winners of the 2017 SyracuseCoE Symposium Student Poster Competition. Twenty-eight students from five institutions were judged last Wednesday night after the 17th Annual SyracuseCoE Symposium. Judges engaged poster contestants and posters were judged on project layout and design of posters, as well as student’s knowledge and ability to explain posters and answer questions from judges.

“Students did a fantastic job skillfully detailing their research”, said Ed Bogucz, SyracuseCoE executive director and associate professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University. “Hosting these student innovators each year is an absolute highlight for us at this event and we are proud to do so. We applaud their accomplishments and look forward to their future successes.”

Posters were judged in three categories: undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. winners:

Undergrad Winners:

1st Place: Thomas Welles, Syracuse University, Aerospace Engineering major, Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Replacement of Catalytic Converter in Automotive Exhaust; Faculty Advisor: Jeongmin Ahn

2nd Place: Alice Gorodetsky, Amanda Liberty, Burak Kakillioglu, Syracuse University, Architecture major, Heat Mapping Drones; Faculty Advisors: Tarek Rakha, Senem Velipasalar

3rd Place: Joshua Willson, SUNY Oswego, Electrical and Computer Engineering major, High Capacity Lithium-Ion Batteries Composed of Cobalt Oxide Nanoparticle Anodes and Raman Spectroscopic Analysis of Nanoparticle Strain Dynamics in Batteries; Faculty Advisor: Mohammad A. Islam,

Master’s Winners:

1st Place: Jenny Frank, Tim Volk, Justin Heavey, SUNY ESF, Sustainable Energy/M.S., A Stochastic Techno-Economic Analysis of Shrub Willow Production Using EcoWillow 2.0; Faculty Advisors: Tristan Brown and Bob Malmsheimer

2nd Place: Timur Sabitov, SUNY ESF, Environmental Resource Engineering – Geospatial Engineering, Overview of the Upper Watershed Conditions in the Aral Sea Basin for the Last Half of Century; Faculty Advisor: Neil Murphy

3rd Place: Samuel Caldwell, Syracuse University, Earth Science, Point Source Heat Pollution: A Study of the Effects of Artificially Channelized Inputs on Urban Stream Temperature; Faculty Advisor: Christa Kelleher

PhD Winners

1st place: Ryan Falkenstein-Smith, Syracuse University, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Ph.D. Candidate, Oxygen Transport Membranes for Oxy-fuel Combustion; Faculty Advisor: Jeongmin Ahn

2nd Place: Saeid Biria, Syracuse University, Chemical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate, Polymer Encapsulants Incorporating Light-Guiding Architectures to Increase Optical Energy Conversion In Solar Cells; Faculty Advisor: Ian D. Hosein

3rd Place: Shreyas Pathreeker, Syracuse University, Chemical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate, A Novel, Light-induced Photo-polymerization Based Approach Towards Developing Enhanced Battery Anodes; Faculty Advisor: Ian D. Hosein

Poster judges included Vince Bongio, SBB, Inc; Bill Chadwick, United Technologies Corp; Aimee Clinkhammer, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Lee Davis, Eaton’s Ephesus Sports Lighting; John Dougherty, SRC, Inc; Mike Frisina, Ashley McGraw Architects; Tom King, King + King Architects; Mary Reidy, National Grid; Adam Walburger, CDH Energy; and Larry Wetzel, Air Innovations.

Click here to view a pdf of abstracts for the 2017 SyracuseCoE Symposium Student Poster Competition.

Innovation Orange Interviews Faculty Fellow Elizabeth Krietemeyer

Assistant Professor of Architecture and Faculty Fellow Elizabeth Krietemeyer uses interactive reality simulations and virtual reality devices to visualize solar energy availability in the city of Syracuse, New York. Professor Krietemeyer is featured on Innovation Orange to give more insight into her research. Elizabeth Krietemyer has been a Faculty Fellow since 2015 and focuses her research on urban energy visualization and design decision-making tools; building envelope technologies and simulations for human interaction and design; and virtual and augmented reality energy simulations.

Faculty Research on Water, Energy, and Design to be Featured at 17th Annual SyracuseCoE Symposium

The 17th annual Symposium organized by the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) will feature presentations by SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows and collaborating researchers that target innovations in water, energy and design for healthy, vibrant communities.  The event, which will be held Oct. 4 at the Crowne Plaza Syracuse and SyracuseCoE’s headquarters, also will include presentations by three keynote speakers and a student poster competition.

Keynote speakers for this year’s Symposium are:

  • Brewster McCracken, President and CEO of Pecan Street Institute, who will present “Bring on the data: How you can use data to solve cities’ greatest resource and environmental challenges;
  • John Fernandez, Professor and Director of the Building Technology Program and the Urban Metabolism Group at MIT, who will present “The future of cities and the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative”; and
  • Jeff Peterson, Senior Advisor for Entrepreneurship at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, who will present “Clean energy innovation and research partnerships for a sustainable future.”

“SyracuseCoE is proud to offer our 17th annual Symposium, featuring work being done by our Faculty Fellows, their students and collaborators from around the country,”” said Edward Bogucz, executive director of SyracuseCoE and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Syracuse University. “We look forward to attracting a diverse community of students, faculty members, and practitioners to attend, and to fostering ‘intellectual collisions’ that lead to new collaborations.”

SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows developed the programs for nine separate Symposium sessions, which are organized in three parallel tracks: Water in Urban Environments, Energy Resources, and Design in Urban Environments. Individual sessions include:

  • “Climate change and urban systems,” chaired by Charles Driscoll, University Professor of Environmental Systems Engineering, Syracuse University;
  • “Urban water and infrastructure,” chaired by Christa Kelleher, assistant professor of earth sciences and civil and environmental engineering, Syracuse University;
  • “Hydrologic behavior in urban environments,” chaired by Laura Lautz, Jessie Page Heroy Professor and Chair, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University;
  • “Improving combustion engines through reliable ignition prediction and control,” chaired by Ben Akih-Kumgeh, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Syracuse University;
  • “Advanced energy conversion and storage technologies,” chaired by Jeongmin Ahn, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Syracuse University;
  • “Biorefineries, biofuels, and bioproducts,” chaired by Biljana Bujanovic, associate professor of paper and bioprocess engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry;
  • “Designed material systems,” chaired by Daekwon Park, assistant professor of architecture, Syracuse University.
  • “Big data, urban energy modeling, and visualization for community engagement” (2 sessions), chaired by Bess Krietemeyer, assistant professor of architecture, Syracuse University, and Tarek Rakha, assistant professor of architecture, Syracuse University.

For more information, please visit the symposium main page.

SyracuseCoE Awards Funding for Eight Research and Innovation Projects led by Faculty Fellows

Projects engage 17 faculty members at Syracuse University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and SUNY Upstate Medical University

SyracuseCoE announced today that eight research and innovations projects led by its Faculty Fellows were competitively selected to receive awards totaling $112,750. The projects engage a total of 17 faculty members from Syracuse University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), and SUNY Upstate Medical University (UMU).

“The SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program bolsters discovery and innovation, strengthening Syracuse University’s growing research portfolio,” said John Liu, Vice President for Research at Syracuse University. “These awards provide early-stage funding to support both individual faculty research and collaborative, cross-disciplinary projects that leverage our strengths in multiple fields.”

Projects were selected based on responses to a request for proposals issued by SyracuseCoE earlier this year. SyracuseCoE is New York State’s Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, which is led by Syracuse University in collaboration with SUNY ESF, SUNY UMU, SUNY Oswego, CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity and dozens of industry partners.

Each faculty member who is involved in a project is appointed as a SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow for a three-year term. Eleven faculty members are newly appointed, increasing to 38 the number of current SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows.

“We are thrilled that the SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows program has attracted a diverse community of faculty members from seven schools and colleges at Syracuse University, SUNY ESF, and SUNY UMU,” said Edward Bogucz, SyracuseCoE executive director and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Syracuse University. “We look forward to supporting the success of the new round of Faculty Fellow projects, which are targeted to create innovations in environmental and energy systems.”

The projects, principal investigators (listed first), and their collaborators are:

Atmospheric Deposition and Trace Gas Exchange, and the Function of a Green Roof on the Syracuse Urban Landscape
Charles T. Driscoll, University Professor of Environmental Systems and Distinguished Professor, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University

Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms: An Overlooked Source of Carcinogenic Disinfection Byproducts
Teng Zeng, Assistant Professor, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University

Evaluating the Ability of Land to Replicate Indian Point’s Electricity Supply Profile
Tristan Brown, Assistant Professor, Forest and Natural Resource Management, SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry
Marie-Odile Fortier, Assistant Professor, Forest and Natural Resource Management, SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry
Mike Kelleher, Senior Research Associate, Forest and Natural Resource Management, SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry
Robert Malmsheimer, Professor, Forest and Natural Resource Management, SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry
Tim Volk, Senior Research Associate, Forest and Natural Resource Management, SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry

Enabling Advanced Compression Ignition Engines Through Modeling of Biodiesel-gasoline Combustion Chemistry
Ben Akih-Kumgeh, Assistant Professor, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University
Theodore S. Dibble, Professor and Associate Chair of Chemistry, Chemistry, SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry

Impact Of Relative Humidity On Human Performance In Cold Climate Office Buildings – A Pilot Study
Usha Satish, Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, UMU
Suresh Santanam, Associate Professor, Director of Industrial Assessment Center, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University

Community Energy Dashboard: A Tool for a Community Energy Approach
Bess Krietemeyer, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University
Tarek Rakha, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University
Jason Dedrick, Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University

Development of Novel Quartz Crystal Microbalance Sensors for Environmental Signature Detection
James T. Spencer, Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Syracuse University
Fred Schlereth, Associate Research Professor, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University

Towards an All Solid-State Calcium Ion Battery
Ian Hosein, Assistant Professor, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University

More information on these projects may be found on SyracuseCoE’s web site.

The projects were made possible by funding to support SyracuseCoE activities awarded by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR). The next request for proposals for the SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program is planned for in spring 2018 for projects beginning in summer 2018.

Faculty Fellows: Simulating Building Energy Use

Bess Krietemeyer (principal investigator), assistant professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University

Tarek Rakha, assistant professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University

Jason Dedrick, professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University

Project: Developing an urban energy model to simulate, test, and visualize energy usage and future scenarios and strategies. “Imagine that you have a neighborhood and are able to visualize existing energy measurements. And then, let’s simulate putting advanced technologies in all of those buildings and see the impact,” says Rakha.

Nuts and Bolts: Working with the Pecan Street Institute, an energy research organization, the team is using data on household energy use from a neighborhood in Austin, Texas, to develop a visual simulation of energy use, as well as how those energy flows might differ, using different building materials or building technologies.

Intellectual Collision: Krietemeyer and Rakha are colleagues in the School of Architecture, where Krietemeyer focuses on visualization of energy use at the urban scale and Rakha on building energy models. After hearing Krietemeyer present her work at the annual SyracuseCoE Symposium in 2016, Dedrick, who has conducted research on smart grid technologies, approached her to collaborate, using large data sets he had available on energy use in Austin.

Practical Application: The data is not particularly meaningful in its existing state in Excel spreadsheets. “We’re creating a tool that visually illustrates energy use that can be used by a variety of stakeholders,” says Krietemeyer. “Maps will show how the community uses energy but also how a single household uses energy over the course of a day, a month, or a year.”

And Another Thing: The tool, which they call VIS-SIM, can also demonstrate “what if” scenarios important for designers and architects. How will energy be saved if we change the color of the roof or change the type of glass in the windows? What if we change the orientation of the building?

SyracuseCoE Impact: A $25,000 competitive award in 2016–17 funded the improvement of an existing building energy model, making it more precise and calibrating it to actual energy use data. A second award of $15,000 in 2017–18 is funding creation of a dashboard, a functioning online visual platform where multiple stakeholders can use the data and provide feedback. Both Krietemeyer and Rakha have labs in the SyracuseCoE headquarters, where much of their individual work on the project occurs.

Expert Opinion: Ultimately, the tool could be used in other geographic areas and climates to make smarter decisions about energy use or building for energy efficiency. “Austin was our initial testbed because the data was available,” says Krietemeyer, “but we hope to test this in multiple regions and multiple climate types.”

Industry Partners: SBB Inc.

Partnering for Research and Design

When SBB Inc. was looking to convert a sterilization chamber door from stainless steel to glass, the company turned to the SyracuseCoE Analysis and Design Center. The center is a NYSERDA-funded resource created to help companies in Central New York’s thermal and environmental control cluster with product design challenges. For small firms like SBB, it’s an invaluable tool.

“Research is very expensive. We don’t work on simple things,” says SBB chief engineer and co-founder Vince Bongio. “The Analysis and Design Center supplies engineering and research talent that I couldn’t otherwise access cost-effectively.”

The center, located at SyracuseCoE headquarters, provides companies working in advanced manufacturing in thermal and environmental controls (AM-TEC) with assistance on design problems from graduate students and faculty from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. SBB has used the Analysis and Design Center on a range of projects, from analyzing fluid dynamics in a small sterilization chamber system, to adapting the same technology on a room system, to analyzing a structural walking tile used in its clean-room ceiling grid system.

“Students get to do some real-life application work on difficult problems that ties to their education and has tangible outcomes,” says Bongio.
SBB, in East Syracuse, was founded by Bongio and two partners in 2000 and soon partnered with the SyracuseCoE. An AM-TEC Research and Development Award from the SyracuseCoE funded development of high-technology environmental control systems that reduced energy in refrigeration systems.

Through SyracuseCoE, SBB has also participated with SU’s Mechanical Engineering Capstone Project, resulting in the development of a latent phase change heat recovery heat exchanger. In addition to the hands-on research and design assistance, Bongio says networking opportunities through the SyracuseCoE have been extremely beneficial, particularly the annual SyracuseCoE Symposium. “I always learn about new technology I otherwise would be unaware of,” he says.

“Information is power, and the proper use of information is where the real power is,” says Bongio. “You just can’t discover these things without being active with forward-thinking entities like the SyracuseCoE.”

Syracuse University Wins $500,000 Grant to Support Entrepreneurship in Energy Innovations

Syracuse University has received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to spur regional entrepreneurial activity relating to innovations in energy and environmental systems. The grant proposal was one of 42 selected nationwide to receive funding under the federal Economic Development Administration’s 2017 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.

The award will support a three-year project led by the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) in partnership with CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity. The project will help start-up ventures and established companies develop innovations that monitor and control energy and environmental quality in built environments—homes, schools, offices, factories, and neighborhoods—and in related applications, such as food production, transport and preservation.

“Syracuse University is fortunate to have outstanding faculty, staff and facilities to support research and entrepreneurship in energy and environmental systems,” says Syracuse University Vice President for Research John Liu. “This award is a great opportunity for us to put the highest levels of scholarship to work on an issue of vital significance to our communities and world—and help position Central New York as a leader in energy entrepreneurship.”

The award builds on successes of a four-year initiative to catalyze the rebirth of a Central New York industry cluster in “Advanced Manufacturing in Thermal and Environmental Controls (AM-TEC).” The AM-TEC initiative, which was led by SyracuseCoE in partnership with six other organizations and institutions, engaged 66 regional manufacturers, created or retained 98 jobs and resulted in more than $4 million in increased sales.

“The new project will ensure the long-term vitality of the fledgling AM-TEC cluster by connecting innovators to customers in major markets, and developing and testing proofs-of-concept of envisioned innovations,” says Ed Bogucz, executive director of SyracuseCoE and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Syracuse University. Syracuse Center of Excellence, which will administer the grant in partnership with the CCEO. “We want to continue to build on our region’s historic strengths in thermal and environmental control-related manufacturing—and to encourage development of innovations promote healthier indoor environments.”

The project includes activities that are designed to support the development of 10 new ventures and 15 new products commercialized by existing companies. The project team envisions that successful results will include 50 jobs created within two years after the conclusion of the project and 200 jobs created within five years after its conclusion.

“CenterState CEO looks forward to working with SyracuseCoE on this important new initiative, which strategically targets opportunities to develop innovations in precision sensing technologies and data analytics,” says Robert Simpson, CenterState CEO’s president and CEO. “The project promises to create new linkages between multiple industry sectors in Central New York, generating new ideas and new ventures.”

The RIS program, led by the Department of Commerce’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, seeks to build innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the country. This is the fourth cohort of RIS awardees under the program.

Disrupting Climate Disruption – September Research & Technology Forum

At the September Research and Technology Forum two SyracuseCoE researchers presented technological and economic approaches to the issue of climate disruption. The presenters offered strategies on reducing carbon emissions at the center’s Research and Technology Forum.

Prof. Peter Wilcoxen, a SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow, presented the idea of a tax reform package that would include a small carbon tax, which could to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions by a considerable amount (or considerably). The tax would not only reduce carbon emissions, but also reduce the tax on income, which lead to heightened investment and GDP.

Ryan Falkenstein-Smith, a graduate student researcher from the COMER Lab at SyracuseCoE, detailed his research on the development of oxygen transport membranes (OTMs) and their role in the process of carbon capture. The development of OTMs can revolutionize carbon capture, reducing energy and financial costs.


Ryan Falkenstein-Smith, PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University

Peter Wilcoxen, Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, and a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Policy Research.


Neil Webb, Director of Business Development at OBG.

Faculty Fellows: Protecting New York’s Groundwater

Laura Lautz (principal investigator), Jessie Page Heroy Professor and chair, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University

Greg Hoke, associate professor and associate chair, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University

Zunli Lu, associate professor and director of graduate studies, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University

Project: The team sampled well water in five counties in New York’s Southern Tier to compare water methane levels against those in Pennsylvania, where there is hydrofracking of the Marcellus Shale, in an attempt to gauge the environmental impact of hydrofracking in a more accurate way. “The two areas are very similar,” says Lautz. “The geology is the same, the climate is the same. The only major difference is the presence of hydrofracking.”

Nuts and Bolts: Working with 10 homeowners across the region, the team tested the methane level of their well water once a month for a year. “Every month we provided a report to homeowners informing them what we found in their well,” says Lautz.

Why This Matters: One of the biggest concerns people have with hydrofracking is that natural gas will get into shallow ground water and contaminate people’s wells. Natural gas—composed of methane—also occurs spontaneously. “We are trying to understand why people have methane in their wells naturally so that we might be able to differentiate what’s natural from what’s unnatural,” Lautz says.

What They Know: Some homeowners have negligible amounts of methane in their water, while others “could probably light their tap on fire,” Lautz says. That range is normal. “What we’ve found is that the wells with high methane have been consistently high all year around. It
looks like if someone has a methane problem and it’s natural, it’s consistent and stays that way.”

SyracuseCoE Impact: A $25,000 competitive award from SyracuseCoE funded a full year of water sampling and analysis, as well as a stipend for Syracuse University Earth sciences doctoral student Amanda Schultz, who has coordinated sample collection with the homeowners. “We absolutely would not have had the financial resources to collect the water samples and do the laboratory analysis without SyracuseCoE funding,” Lautz says.

And Another Thing: This project is a component of the ongoing Project SWIFT (ShaleWater Interaction in Forensic Tools), a large-scale water quality program in the Marcellus Shale region. “We have been to more than 200 homes in southern New York to collect baseline data,” says Lautz. “It’s super important. If they ever do hydrofrack in New York, we have a lot of information on what things were like beforehand.”

CNY Innovation Resources

The Central New York Advantage

Syracuse and the five counties of Central New York are home to a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem fueled by the proximity of multiple industry clusters and numerous research universities.

New York State offers resources designed to enable new and existing businesses to become more competitive through the use of innovative technologies. Centers and programs that are supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) emphasize the importance of working with industry as a way to leverage New York State’s technology strengths to produce new products. The state also offers other innovation development support resources, including financial incentives to foster university collaboration, research and innovation.

Central New York’s diverse resources and strategic location make it a fertile environment for business success. Within CNY’s Innovation Crossroads, SyracuseCoE and CNYBAC catalyze collaborations and innovations in environment, health, energy, and biotechnology. Throughout Syracuse and CNY, additional resources include the centers and programs listed below.


The Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering (CASE) is a NYSTAR-designated Center for Advanced Technology (CAT) in complex information systems that provides businesses from a wide range of industry sectors with expertise in all aspects of “big data,” from data mining and analytics, to information fusion, predictive analysis, cybersecurity, autonomy, UAV/drones, and the “internet of things.”



CenterstateCEO is an independent and forward-thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. CenterState CEO actively pursues business attraction leads in order to bring more firms and jobs to the region.


CNY Regional Innovation Hot Spot at The Tech Garden

Headed by Centerstate CEO, The Tech Garden is designated by NYSTAR as a Central New York Innovation Hot Spot. This program delivers innovative physical and virtual incubation and business development programming combining higher education resources with early-stage funding, coaching, and mentorship. Often referred to as a stepping stone to the STARTUP NY program, the Hot Spot program helps NYS incubators deliver programming and tax incentives.



Syracuse University College of Law and the Technology Commercialization Law Center have been designated the New York State Science & Technology Law Center (NYSSLC) by NYSTAR since 2004. NYSSTLC provides legal education, research, information and support services to the more than 30 universities and research centers in NYS supported by NYSTAR as well as NYS entrepreneurs and companies with new technologies.



Train, Develop, Optimize (TDO) is a not-for-profit consulting and training organization helping businesses and organizations grow through harnessing the power of their people. TDO brings new products and innovations to market with programs like TDMI and SBIR support. Training and coaching services in sales skills, marketing and international business development. They are the New York State NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NY MEP) center for Central New York.


Faculty Fellows: Engineered by Design

Daekwon Park, assistant professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University

Backstory: Park’s research focuses on designing innovations in the geometry and configuration of building materials at multiple scale levels—cellular materials, functionally graded materials, and adaptive materials—to improve the thermal or structural performance of building components or systems.

Projects: He is conducting early-stage research on three projects:

  • Adaptive thermal skin research developing dynamic building skins that can alternate between a thermal insulator and heat exchanger, based on thermal environment
  • Topo-joint research, integrating 3D-printed, nonconventional building materials for creating highly customized joints and connections for building applications
  • Architectured soil, exploring the design of 3D-structured soil-based materials for structural, hygrothermal, and acoustical performance of masonry blocks.

Nuts and Bolts: All three projects implement novel geometric strategies to existing building materials and components—plastic, brick, concrete, membrane, etc.—for augmenting targeted functions. For instance, the Adaptive Thermal Skin research aims to create a dynamic insulation using thin and lightweight membranes that change insulation values based on seasonal temperature differences and building orientation. This could dramatically reduce the heating or cooling load in buildings during transitional periods in spring and fall, when there are large temperature differences outdoors between daytime and night.

Why It Matters: Compared to the materials used in high-tech products or upmarket goods, building materials need to satisfy challenging economic and performance requirements that constrain the type of material or technology that can be used. “One promising approach for the field of architecture is to augment the performance of affordable and durable common building materials, such as concrete, brick, and wood, through geometric configuration—much like how spiders produce a variety of webs with different properties via geometric/compositional variations of the same web material— rather than investing in the costly development of new and unfamiliar materials,” says Park.

Expert Opinion: Park has extensive experience with large-scale sports and entertainment facility design around the world, including the United States, Australia, China, and South Korea, where he managed projects including the Ansan Baseball Dome, Gimpo Sports Town Master Plan, and the 2014 Incheon Asian Games Main Stadium. He is a co-founder of the multidisciplinary design practice SISO (Systematic Input Soft Output), based in Syracuse, Minneapolis, and Seoul, and is director of the Material Archi-Tectonic Research (MATR) Lab at SyracuseCoE.

How SyracuseCoE Helped: SyracuseCoE provided support for fabrication equipment in the MATR Lab as well as funding for research interns, materials, and publication costs. “The support from SyracuseCoE has been critical for advancing my career as a young researcher,” says Park. “That assistance includes supporting and guiding funding proposals, inviting and introducing me to events and people, and providing the space and resources to set up my lab.”

Daylighting for Cognition

In 2017, SyracuseCoE catalyzed a new study on the effect of daylighting on cognitive performance in the workplace. The study compares two different window technologies: conventional roller window shades and electrochromic glazing that changes tint in response to sensors or occupant control.

“We are trying to find out if there is a correlation between an office environment that has better lighting conditions and exposure, and its effect on certain cognitive function,” says Tarek Rakha, assistant professor at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture and an expert in daylighting in built environments.

Too much glare or brightness through a window causes thermal discomfort and visual disturbances that can make occupants uncomfortable. This is especially true in high-performance buildings, which are designed to optimize the capture of daylighting.

Rakha conceived the Daylighting for Cognition study to take advantage of a new installation of SageGlass, an electrochromic “smart” glass on the SyracuseCoE’s third floor. He engaged collaborators from Syracuse University’s Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to gauge its impact.

SageGlass, produced by SAGE Electrochromics, Inc., is an electronically tintable, energy-efficient glazing solution for windows, skylights, and curtain walls that actively manages solar heat and glare without blocking the view to the outdoors.

Rakha was inspired by a previous project that studied the impact of indoor air quality on cognitive function, conducted by researchers at Harvard University, Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University in SyracuseCoE’s Total Indoor Environmental Quality Lab in 2014.
Thinking about current interest in environmental factors and human wellbeing, Rakha wondered if the technology used on building window envelopes—and the resulting interior daylight—can impact the cognitive performance of workers compared to traditional envelopes. Sage was excited about the notion of looking beyond building performance, occupant visual or thermal comfort, and further into the impact on occupant well-being, a new frontier in the research of sustainability.

To create the study, Rakha brought together an interdisciplinary team, including Michael Kalish, Syracuse University professor of psychology; Mariana Figueiro, director of the Lighting Research Center; and Chetna Chianese, associate director of research at SyracuseCoE.
Syracuse University architecture undergraduate student Emily Greer served as research assistant for the project. Figueiro, a leader in lighting research, was recruited to assist with experimental design and data analysis, providing shortterm performance tests used successfully in
the past and a sensor to measure circadian effective light.

“The idea is to be able to measure how much circadian light people are being exposed to,” Figueiro says. “The hypothesis is that if you’re exposed to a greater amount of circadian light during the daytime, that you’re going to be more alert. And if you’re more alert, you will perform better on these performance tests and perhaps on cognition.”

But that’s a big if. “We’re exploring the question objectively,” says Rakha. “We cannot say for sure that they’re going to be more productive.”

To that end, he recruited Kalish, who has conducted theoretical research on the mechanisms responsible for cognitive function. The psychologist provided a tool to measure cognitive function precise enough to vary with changes in mood or wakefulness that the study aims to cause, and he is analyzing data collected along with his graduate student, Osung Seo.

To test their hypothesis, 60 participants were recruited to come to SyracuseCoE headquarters and work in office space during five sunny days in June and July 2017, when the sun was at its highest angle. Participants worked in an office environment with regular window roller shades, as well as a duplicate environment with SageGlass electrochromic glazing. During the course of their workday, participants took part in various performance and cognitive function tests. This process will be repeated in September and October, when the sun is at a lower angle.

“We wanted people to come in and do their normal tasks to see how they reacted to the various daylighting and assess how that affects them,” says Greer, a research assistant at SyracuseCoE’s Performative Praxis Lab, who managed the process to secure approval of the research protocol by Syracuse University’s Institutional Review Board, led recruitment of study participants, and oversaw technology used
for the project.

Documenting a connection would be an important finding, says Figueiro. “There are so many things in the built environment that may affect cognition, it’s hard to tease out the effect. If the study can make that link, it would definitely be novel.”

Regardless of the results, Rakha says the study illustrates the importance of the SyracuseCoE in catalyzing research and innovation in sustainable technologies.

“We could not do this project without SyracuseCoE facilities or the leadership SyracuseCoE provides for faculty and researchers in the area,” he says, pointing to the SageGlass installation, SyracuseCoE’s existing relationship with SAGE and RPI’s Lighting Research Center, and the research support provided. “The SyracuseCoE building is fantastic for testing the technological frontiers of the building itself, but it’s the people that provide the conduit and network to make it happen.”

Study Finds Syracuse Has Good Potential for Transportation Alternatives

The findings of a year long study-FAST: Syracuse were presented at a public exhibition held at SyracuseCoE. The study identified multiple opportunities to promote adoption of multi-modal, sustainable transportation alternatives in the City of Syracuse. The feasibility of three urban mobility systems was evaluated by this study.

  1. Human-Powered Mobility through enhancing walkability and bikeability in strategically targeted areas
  2. Sharing Economy in the form of sharing of bikes and electric vehicles
  3. Public Transportation through better integration with existing regional services

A brief overview of the results and recommendations were presented by Dr. Tarek Rakha, assistant professor of architecture at Syracuse University, who led the team that performed the study. The presentation was followed by an exhibition of the findings, including public engagement for feedback and assimilation of commentary in the final report.

Dr. Rakha spoke to Chris Bolt about the study findings before the exhibition: Syracuse Center of Excellence Finds Untapped Potential for Sustainable Transit in Syracuse

The study, which was funded in part by NYSERDA and NYSDOT, was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of students, faculty, staff members and professionals, including individuals from Syracuse University’s School of Architecture, College of Engineering and Computer Science, SyracuseCoE, Barton & Loguidice (B&L), Clean Communities of Central NY, Downtown Committee of Syracuse, and Hitachi Consulting. Project advisors included Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC), CENTRO, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, and the City of Syracuse.


Dr. Tarek Rakha is an architect, building scientist and educator. He directs the Performative Praxis Lab (PPL), a Syracuse Architecture research lab housed at the SyracuseCoE. PPL aims to influence sustainable practices in architecture and urban design by leading innovative research in three fields: sustainable mobility and outdoor comfort, daylighting and energy in buildings, and the use of drones in building performance inspection. Dr. Rakha is Principal Investigator on multiple externally funded projects, including FAST: Syracuse, funded by NYSERDA and NYSDOT, Daylighting for Cognition, funded by SageGlass, and Heat Mapping Drones, funded by the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. Prior to joining Syracuse University, he completed his PhD in building technology at MIT, where he was an instructor and part of the Sustainable Design Lab as a member of the developing team for umi, the urban modeling and simulation platform. His research was published in peer reviewed journals, such as Solar Energy and the Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America LEUKOS, as well as in numerous conference proceedings including Building Simulation and PLEA. He was also an invited speaker and critic by a variety of organizations and academic institutions including TEDxCairo, Harvard University and the American University of Beirut.

“So, if the public are not aware of what sustainable transportation means for their lives and their kids’ lives and their grandkids’ lives and for living in the United States in general then we might go in a path that is going to be favoring automobiles rather than people.” – Dr. Tarek RakhaDr. Tarek Rakha
Photo of Students and Professor Together

The students who worked on the project are:

Current Research Interns:

Christian Martinez, MArch (Alumni)

Michaela Wozniak, BArch and Geography Student

Previous Interns (2016-2017): 

Maria Coconato, BArch Student,  Elise Chelak, BArch Student

Deena Darby, BArch Student,  Anuradha Desai, BArch Student

Rutuja Ganoo, BArch Student,  Alice Gorodetsky, BArch Student

Ruting Li, MArch Student,  Stephanie Portmann, BArch Student

Pouya Zhand, MArch (Alumni)

Syracuse Center of Excellence Finds Untapped Potential for Sustainable Transit in Syracuse. Find more information in this interview.

A Public Exhibition at SyracuseCoE explains why in FAST: Syracuse – Streets are for People!

The public is invited to SyracuseCoE for a presentation of a “Feasibility Assessment of Sustainable Transportation (FAST): Syracuse,” a recent study on sustainable transportation alternatives for Central New York. The findings of FAST: Syracuse will be shared in a Research & Technology Forum and Public Exhibition at 3:30pm, June 22, 2017, in room 203, with a reception to follow. For those interested but unable to attend, a webinar will be available. Please register to attend in person or via webinar at the top of this page.

FAST: Syracuse explored the potential of sustainable transportation alternatives to reduce greenhouse gases and improve the vitality of Syracuse and Central New York. The yearlong study identified multiple opportunities to promote adoption of multi-modal, sustainable transportation alternatives in the City of Syracuse. The study evaluated the feasibility of developing, implementing, growing and promoting three urban mobility systems:

  • Human-Powered Mobility through enhancing walkability and bikeability in strategically targeted areas
  • Sharing Economy in the form of sharing of bikes and electric vehicles
  • Public Transportation through better integration with existing regional services

The study, which was funded in part by NYSERDA and NYSDOT, was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of students, faculty, staff members and professionals, including individuals from Syracuse University’s School of Architecture, College of Engineering and Computer Science, SyracuseCoE, Barton & Loguidice (B&L), Clean Communities of Central NY, Downtown Committee of Syracuse, and Hitachi Consulting. Project advisors included Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC), CENTRO, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, and the City of Syracuse.

A brief overview of the results and recommendations will be presented by Dr. Tarek Rakha, assistant professor of architecture at Syracuse University, who led the team that performed the study. The presentation will be followed by a reception and exhibition of the findings, offering public engagement for feedback and assimilation of commentary in the final report.

7th International Building Physics Conference Invites Abstracts for Presentations

The 7th International Building Physics Conference (IBPC2018) has released a Call for Abstracts, inviting papers to be presented in September 2018, in Syracuse, NY. The online abstract submission center will be open from June 1, 2017 until October 1, 2017.

IBPC 2018 is jointly organized by SyracuseCoE, Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Syracuse University School of Architecture. The conference will be held at the historic Marriott Syracuse Downtown on September 23-26, 2018.

Building on successes of previous International Association of Building Physics (IABP) conferences—held in Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Leuven, Belgium; Montreal, Canada; Istanbul, Turkey; Kyoto, Japan; and Torino, Italy, the theme of IBPC2018 is “Healthy, Intelligent, and Resilient Buildings and Urban Environments.” It will provide a forum for scientific, technological and design exchanges through multiple platforms: 1) presentations of original research and development work and findings, 2) demonstrations and exhibitions of innovative green building technologies, and 3) forum discussions of future challenges and opportunities.

IBPC2018 will cover a wide range of topics cutting across multiple scales of the built environmental systems ranging from nano-material applications, to micro-environments around occupants, to rooms and whole buildings, and to neighborhood and urban scales. The goal of the conference is to advance the collective understanding of the nature and behavior of the cyber-physical systems in these different scales, how they interact, and what can be done to optimize their design and operation for healthy, intelligent and resilient buildings and urban environments. Conference topic areas include:
• Building Materials, Assemblies, and Enclosure Systems
• Green Buildings, Green Roofs and the Urban Environment
• Intelligent Monitoring and Management Systems
• Human Factors: Occupant Perception, Behavior, and Impact on Building Performance
• Indoor Environmental Quality (Air, Thermal, Daylighting, Artificial Lighting, Acoustical, Visual)
• Modeling, Simulation and Design Processes
• Innovative Energy and Power Generation and Management
• Policy and Economics
• Mission Critical Environmental Systems

IBPC2018 is the 7th triennial conference of the IABP. IABP conferences provide a forum for scientists, researchers and practitioners from all over the world to disseminate technical information, new ideas and the latest developments and discuss future directions in the fields of building physics.

COGfx Update

The researchers who conducted the groundbreaking COGfx Study returned to SyracuseCoE headquarters in February 2017 to report results from their second study, which examined impacts of indoor environmental quality on cognitive function of workers in office buildings across the country.

The initial study, conducted in 2014 at the Total Indoor Environmental Quality (TIEQ) Lab at SyracuseCoE, quantified the benefits of improved indoor air quality—including lower levels of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds—on cognitive function of office workers. The second study evaluated indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in 12 office buildings across the United States, including seven buildings that had earned certification in the LEED green-building rating system and five high-performing buildings that were not LEEDcertified. The study evaluated cognitive function of workers in each building by the same methods used in the TIEQ Lab study. Results found that green-certified buildings improve cognitive function in general by 26 percent and that people’s overall health improved by 30 percent, highlighting the health benefits of better indoor environments.

“Over the years, green buildings have grown in popularity, and now this study has proven the positive physical and mental impacts green buildings can have on tenants, creating an even greater benefit for investing in green certification,” says John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer for United Technologies Corporation.

Study principals participating in the forum included Joseph G. Allen, assistant professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Piers MacNaughton, research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and Usha Satish, professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

NREL Smart Grid Educational Series: The Utility Smart Grid is in Danger of Prolific Cybercrime and Network DDOS Caused by the Explosion of Unprotected IoT Devices in Our Homes

The proliferation of IoT and connected devices in the home, offices and major industrial centers is exposing every utility and Smart Grid to unwanted intrusions and cyber-hacking. To make IoT devices smarter, they need to communicate over short-range low-rate wireless networks like ZigBee and BLE, but also across the Internet to cloud systems, creating an almost endless opportunity for cybercrime with entry points from less secure devices and rogue applications that control the latest IoT solutions. While artificial intelligence, automation, and Smart Homes provide tremendous life-style benefits such as energy savings, security, home care, or entertainment, the utility industry and InfoSec must lead the way in ensuring that our critical electric grids are not undermined when we need those most. Gartner believes that by 2025, the average home will have over 500 connected devices, controlling both mundane and mission critical functions in our lives.

Scott Wu and Richard Yim discussed the emerging threat landscape of the exploding IoT space and the reasons why attackers are surfacing everywhere, anywhere and anytime at a webinar held at SyracuseCoE on May 19. By showcasing several threat events, the webinar articulated why traditional technologies such as antimalware and firewalls are not the solution for IoT infrastructure, and why consumers and their utility providers should seek next generation IoT solutions for their homes now.

The presentation was a segment of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Smart Grid Educational Series, a series of educational webinars on smart grid-related topics, featuring speakers from the lab and the energy industry. The webinar was hosted by Erfan Ibrahim, Ph.D., Director of Cyber-Physical Systems Security & Resilience at the NREL, and introduced by Chetna Chianese, Associate Director of Research at SyracuseCoE.


Scott Wu is CEO of NewSky Security and has led many behavioral detection initiatives in security since 2003. He held engineering/research and management roles for Symantec, Microsoft and McAfee, shipped flagship products of Norton, Windows Defender and McAfee Total Protection, each with over 500 million users. His research team in McAfee spearheaded predictive threat intelligence system, enabling Intel Security’s foothold in APT hunting space. Scott owns multiple patents of behavioral and predictive intrusion detection technology.  Scott is a marathon runner and Cascade cyclist.

Richard Yim is VP Product Management for People Power Company. Early in his career, he helped design the first versions of Symantec’s antivirus and security solutions, going on to lead the development of Oracle’s database for Linux. Recently, he was VP and GM of IGT’s Systems Division, the leading provider of highly regulated and secure gaming platforms, for the world’s largest casinos. Previously, he was Vice President Marketing, Platforms and Ecosystems at SAP. Protecting what’s most valuable to all of us, our homes and families is a passion he shares with his teams at People Power today. In his spare time, Richard enjoys networking with the AI and IoT communities in the Bay Area, and building tree houses.

Industry Partners: Standard Hydrogen

Hydrogen Infrastructure

California is leading the way in zero-emission vehicle transportation, with more than 2,000 automobiles on the road powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which have a range of 300 to 400 miles and can refuel in three to five minutes. While at least three automakers—Toyota, Kia, and Honda— manufacture hydrogen fuel cell models, the lack of infrastructure to refuel these vehicles prohibits their wide-scale adoption. It’s a problem Paul Mutolo is tackling in New York State.

Along with two business partners, Mutolo founded Standard Hydrogen Corporation in 2012. Initially, the company won a $3 million federal award to bring a fuel cell bus to Ithaca, which would have been the first deployment of a fuel cell bus in the state. But the grant only paid for the bus itself. When the team failed to raise funds for a hydrogen fueling station—due to perceived lack of demand—they had to give the bus back, forcing the company to rethink its business model.

“We realized that we needed to diversify and make sure there was something else we could do with the infrastructure besides serve vehicles,” says Mutolo. That was an unintended blessing. In California, hydrogen stations provide fuel from storage tanks, similar to conventional gas stations. Standard Hydrogen developed a new system to produce hydrogen on site. The goal is to develop a sustainable hydrogen infrastructure to fuel vehicles and to use that infrastructure to help support the power grid across the state.

“After Hurricane Sandy, a lot of cellphone towers were the only things that remained up and running around the New York City area, and that was because they were backed up by fuel cell power units,” explains Mutolo. “That’s exactly what we’re doing, just on a larger scale.”
Standard Hydrogen has a proprietary design for the technology and is looking to build a demonstration station in New York State.

“SyracuseCoE has helped us validate our idea for functionality on the grid and for being able to generate revenues from the grid. With their support, we advanced critical conversations with Con Edison and National Grid,” he says.

An award from SyracuseCoE’s Innovation Fund helped the team develop a print and digital media campaign to educate stakeholders
about hydrogen fuel cell technology and the advantages of this dual-use, multi-revenue station.

Says Mutolo, “New York has goals to replace several million conventional vehicles with zero-emission vehicles over the next several years and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are part of that solution. Standard Hydrogen is helping New York achieve this essential goal.”

April R&T Forum: Hybrid-Reality for Environmental Design

In an era where smart cities, intelligent buildings, and responsive environments will be expected to equally adapt to the built environment and to the building occupant, the development of new design tools and energy feedback systems are critical for predicting the aesthetic and performance impacts of our future buildings and cities. How will architects, engineers, and city planners visualize and integrate the quantitative and qualitative effects of dynamic energy flows in accordance with adaptable systems and diverse human preferences? Visualizing energy-based data according to multiple perspectives and performance criteria is essential to understanding its spatiotemporal character, impacts on comfort, and relevance in the design decision-making process.

Assistant Professors Bess Krietemeyer and Amber Bartosh (Syracuse School of Architecture), and interactive artist and software developer Lorne Covington (NOIRFLUX) discussed “Hybrid-Reality for Environmental Design” through the lens of ongoing design research at the SyracuseCoE Interactive Design and Visualization Lab (IDVL) and at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology (MoST). They presented collaborative work that explores innovative simulation workflows that merge contemporary techniques for energy modeling with augmented and virtual reality visualization methods in order to facilitate the integration of energy and user feedback in the architectural design process. Following the presentation there was a demonstration of the hybrid reality design research in the Interactive Design and Visualization Lab on the 5th floor of the SyracuseCoE.


Dr. Bess KrietemeyerDr. Bess Krietemeyer

Dr. Bess Krietmeyeris an architectural designer and researcher whose expertise lies at the intersection of advanced building technologies, interactive systems, and building performance simulation. She leads the Interactive Design and Visualization Lab at the Syracuse Center of Excellence, where her research focuses on hybrid-reality simulations for interactive design and energy analysis. She teaches studios and technical courses emphasizing environmental performance within architectural design. Prior to joining Syracuse University, Dr. Krietemeyer conducted interdisciplinary research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE), where she received her Ph.D. in Architectural Sciences. She has practiced with Lubrano Ciavarra Architects and with CASE and Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) on international projects that integrate next-generation building technologies. Her research has been published and presented in several peer-reviewed forums, including installations in New York City and in Troy, as well as SmartGeometry, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, ACADIA, Human Computer Interaction, and most recently featured in the journal Architectural Design. Her book chapter contributions include “Architecture in Formation,” “Inside Smartgeometry: Expanding the Architectural Possibilities of Computational Design,” and “Architecture and Interaction.”

Amber BartoshAmber Bartosh

Amber Bartosh is an architect and interior designer who has designed and managed award-winning projects for competition, bid & design build processes in the United States, China, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Her interest in sustainability as a standard for all design led to her 2008 accreditation by LEED. She has completed both gold and silver level LEED projects and served as project manager for Emergent Tom Wiscombe LLC, an internationally recognized architectural practice focused on the integration of biology, computation, and contemporary design sensibilities. Following her cum laude double major in Art and Architecture at Rice University she went on to graduate work in the M.Arch2 program at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). She completed her work at SCI-Arc with a Master’s in Architecture and the Alpha Rho Chi medal. Amber Bartosh is currently an Assistant Professor for the School of Architecture at Syracuse University where she teaches both foundation studios and representation courses focused on expanding the capacity of digital media in architecture.

Lorne CovingtonLorne Covington

Lorne Covington, Creative Director and Principal at NOIRFLUX, creates participatory environments that provide immersive exploration, education, advocacy, and improvisational expression. Lorne is fluent with visual and performing art, electronic hardware, embedded systems and all layers of software development, creates immersive responsive environments using cutting-edge sensing and software technologies. Covington’s work focuses on the intangible space between action and response, the moment-to-moment experience of involvement with a complex system that turns the act of viewing into one of exploration, creation and play. Recent projects include “Affectations” at the Kennedy Center, “Dancing Light Theater” at the MOST in Syracuse and the JournoWall Participatory Media Environment at the Newhouse School, where students and faculty can interact with large-scale visual information and sound.

SyracuseCoE Seeking Innovation Programs Intern

Interested in pursuing a career in energy or environmental research organizations? SyracuseCoE is seeking candidates to work as an intern with its Innovation Programs team. The team supports SyracuseCoE Partner researchers and companies with a variety of programs and projects related to our core focus areas:

  • High performance building
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Energy and water resources.

The Intern will assist the team with the development of a weekly Funding Guide update for SyracuseCoE Partners and Researchers highlighting new funding opportunities available at the federal and state levels, as well as from non-profit organizations. In addition, the intern will support several staff members and faculty with the development of tasks related to ongoing programs and projects, including events, workshops, sponsored research projects, and development of project proposals.

Interns will develop hands-on research and communications skills through the support of Innovation Programs staff with various assignments: 

  • Research on grant opportunities, identifying those with potential to match Partner interests for weekly outreach
  • Production of weekly outreach to Partner firms and researchers on grant opportunities of interest
  • Assistance to staff on sponsored research projects and/or proposals
  • Updates to databases of Partners and stakeholders
  • Updates to content on SyracuseCoE web site

Additional requirements include:

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with people at all levels of the organization, as well as with visitors from all levels of outside organizations/agencies
  • Good written communications skills
  • Ability to manage and prioritize multiple, competing tasks
  • Organized, with keen attention to detail
  • Ability to work both independently and in cooperation with others
  • Ability to understand/calculate capacity for new projects and ask for help when needed
  • Familiarity with and interest in environmental and/or energy issues
  • Familiarity with WordPress and Adobe InDesign valued, though not required

View the Innovations Program Internship application.

Check out our Students Page to learn more about the experience you can have at SyracuseCoE!