An unprecedented, cross-sector consortium formed in New York state during the past seven months has united to transform research, development, demonstration and deployment of technologies to make buildings more energy efficient. Calling itself the New York Energy–Regional Innovation Cluster (NYE-RIC), the consortium brings together top scientists, architects and engineers, industries and small businesses, state agencies, economic development and workforce training experts, entrepreneurs, utilities, real estate developers, financial institutions, media and advertising agencies, nonprofits and labor organizations.
Originally assembled under the leadership of Syracuse University to compete for the federal Department of Energy Energy Regional Innovation Cluster, NYE-RIC consortium members have found that the collaborations and partnerships formed during their planning process are so strong and potentially fruitful that partners are determined to capitalize on their momentum by strengthening and growing their collaboration. While New York’s E-RIC proposal, submitted to DoE in May, was very favorably assessed during the review process, the grant was awarded to a consortium based in Pennsylvania.
“The process of assembling the NYE-RIC consortium has proven invaluable,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. ”We have forged new, cross-sector alliances spanning New York state that hold enormous promise for transforming the building innovation process and for setting a new precedent in Upstate-Downstate New York collaboration. We know that our proposal was viewed very favorably by the review panel, and we have every intention to strengthen and grow these ties. What is wonderful about this process is that it has identified multiple, powerful consortia across the country who are willing and ready to move the country forward in a field that is critically important to the future of our nation and world. We congratulate the Pennsylvania consortium and look forward to contributing to this critical effort.”
Edward A. Bogucz, executive director of the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE), spearheaded formation of the consortium not only to generate innovations, but to assure that they would be commercialized and deployed rapidly into buildings of all types. He says that NYE-RIC has the potential to make this a game-changing moment: “We know that our proposal was viewed very highly, and we will continue to cultivate collaboration among the academic, public and private sectors on an unprecedented scale, bringing together all of New York’s strengths, assets and intellectual capital in this critical area of national importance. This is a true upstate-downstate alliance with many partners across the state.”
Central partners in the NYE-RIC consortium include SU, the City University of New York (CUNY), NYSTAR and the SUNY Research Foundation. The Partnership for New York City and CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity joined forces to unite support from Downstate and Upstate, engaging partners from the full range of private and public stakeholders.
“NYE-RIC has become a means of systematizing and strengthening connections among networks of New York’s extraordinary assets,” says Bogucz. “Over the long term, our cross-sector collaboration will enable us to break down the complex set of barriers—including economics, policy, human behavior and technology integration—that have stood in the way of realizing vast reductions in energy use in buildings and of achieving critically needed job creation in a wide range of businesses. Our consortium has the whole package needed to transform the innovation process by integrating research and development, demonstration and deployment, economic development and workforce training.”
“To compete for this federal grant, New York state pulled together an unprecedented coalition of public, private and university institutions in New York City, Long Island and Upstate,” says Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, the organization that recruited the business and real estate members of the project team. “Today’s announcement is a disappointment. But it does not change the fact that New York is in a position to lead the national effort to make buildings more energy efficient and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Our city and state can be a prime mover in one of the most important new global industries.”
“The NYE-RIC coalition–119 partners from across the state–remains uniquely qualified to have a dramatic impact on energy efficiency in buildings around the world,” says Robert M. Simpson, president of the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity in Syracuse. “We have brought together an impressive set of assets that are uniquely New York–world-class university and industry labs, Wall Street financial expertise, access to global media and active support from our partners in the public sector. We will continue to work together going forward.”
“Syracuse and its partners all across New York are national leaders in using building sciences to improve our energy efficiency,” says Francis J. Murray, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). “I know that the unique collaboration that has been created involving New York’s world-class university centers, public sector agencies and our architectural, design and business communities will continue to make New York a leader in building innovations that will help New York and the nation reduce energy waste, minimize our carbon footprint and create jobs.”
NYE-RIC’s centerpiece is a research hub organized in close partnership with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Members include leading academic institutions (Columbia, Cornell, Clarkson, Stony Brook, Pace, and New York universities, and CUNY), industry (GE; IBM; Permasteelisa; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; and Arup) and government (NYSERDA and Brookhaven National Lab). Together, they possess unique capabilities for research, development and demonstration of innovations in system integration of energy-efficient technologies and innovations in economics, policy and behavior.
NYE-RIC also leverages the following extensive networks:
- NYSERDA’s 12 workforce training centers across the state;
- the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR) network of 10 strategically placed Regional Technology Development Centers to spur growth of established and startup manufacturers; and
- the New York’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) state-wide network of 24 SBDCs to deliver customized, one-on-one expert support to small businesses and entrepreneurs, helping them grow their enterprises by bringing NYE-RIC Hub inventions to market and creating new products and services to drive the green economy.
Considering the potential impact of NYE-RIC’s activities across the range of businesses integrated into the energy-efficient building systems supply chain, the New York State Department of Labor has estimated it could create jobs statewide across the manufacturing, professional services, construction trades, financial services and building services sectors.
“I want to thank Ed Bogucz for bringing these diverse partners from academia, public and private sectors together,” says NYSTAR Executive Director Edward Reinfurt. ”This was a great opportunity for New York state to promote its assets in research, emerging technologies and commercialization, which will lead to growth in our innovation economy. As a member of the consortium, we look forward to collaborating with these partners on future projects to advance energy efficiency throughout the state.”
“It is critical to working people and our environment that the collaborations that were built through the NYE-RIC application continue and strengthen,” says Gary LeBarbera, president of the New York City Building and Construction Trades. “As a city and a state, New York needs to maximize our energy efficiency potential and get our hard-working residents back to work. All the highly skilled men and women of the New York City Building and Construction Trades look forward to continuing to work with the consortium to achieve these goals.”