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.

Industry Partners: Cortland Research

Automating for Efficiency

More than 76 percent of electricity used in the United States is consumed in residential and commercial buildings. Central New York-based Cortland Research has developed a novel energy conservation solution for buildings with POUNCE, an inexpensive system of electrical sensors and controls that reduces energy consumption while maintaining comfort based on occupancy of a space.

“Temperature and occupancy are big factors in trying to improve building efficiency based on use,” says Steve McMahon, who founded the company along with his son, John. “Our system allows providers of environmental systems to make them more dynamic and realize savings based on the information POUNCE can provide to them.”

POUNCE is an affordable energy monitoring system that easily integrates into existing wiring via electrical outlets and switches. The web-based system allows users to view and control their system remotely, adjusting thermostats, turning lighting and appliances on or off, and
managing power flow to outlets.

McMahon started Cortland Research in 2010. “We had a vision that building automation systems would become commonplace and our idea could provide building owners in underserved markets better options for sensing and control, leading to energy efficiency,” he says.

Today, POUNCE systems are used by the New York City Department of Education in city schools, Corning, Onondaga Community College, and SUNY Cortland. McMahon attributes much of the company’s growth to assistance received through partnering with SyracuseCoE.

“SyracuseCoE understands the benefit of POUNCE Systems as a complementary component of air quality and energy conservation, and their endorsement of our products gave us credibility,” says McMahon. SyracuseCoE contacts led to important sales, including a new contact that is helping the firm extend its sales reach nationwide.

Cortland Research has received three competitive awards to date from SyracuseCoE, including two from its Innovation Fund and one associated with a regional initiative to grow Central New York’s industry cluster in Advanced Manufacturing of Thermal and Environmental Controls (AM-TEC). The latest award from the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund enabled Cortland Research to complete engineering design of a CO2 sensor for the system. Via funding awarded to SyracuseCoE by the U.S. Department of Energy and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to support the AM-TEC initiative, Cortland Research is implementing and studying point-of-use CO2/occupancy/temperature sensing.

Cortland Research installed prototype CO2 sensors into POUNCE switches installed in the Willis H. Carrier TIEQ Laboratory at SyracuseCoE, creating an interface between the POUNCE system and Carrier HVAC systems. The study demonstrated a potential energy reduction of up to 34 percent in office environments. McMahon says the POUNCE platform allows for many additional features.

“SyracuseCoE has been an incredible resource and we would not have come this far without them,” he says.

Faculty Fellows: Visualizing Stream Temperatures from Storm Runoff

Christa Kelleher, assistant professor, Department of Earth Sciences and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University

Project: Monitoring longitudinal patterns of stream temperature and levels of storm flow along Onondaga Creek.

The Basics: Numerous culverts along Onondaga Creek funnel storm water into the creek, which flows into Onondaga Lake. Storm water is warm and typically raises the temperature of the water it flows into, potentially making an ecological impact on the biology of the body of water.

Nuts and Bolts: Kelleher is building visual temperature models with data she’s collecting through use of a thermal camera mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle. “Conventionally, if you wanted to measure temperature, you’d install sensors at various points along the stream,” says Kelleher. “The camera on the drone allows me to look at patterns and differences across the stream.”

What She Knows: Some of the water inputs are colder than expected. “There’s a natural spring coming in near the top of the study reach, which as expected, is coming in very cold. But there are culvert inputs along the way, some of which are warm and some are colder than
anticipated,” she says. “These things just light up like a Christmas tree on the imagery. It’s great.”

Lessons to Learn: Other research of this type has been conducted in warmer climates, so Kelleher says it’s possible that thermal pollution may not be as big an issue in Syracuse. “We also haven’t done a test in the heat of the summer yet, so we’ll see how different things look then.”

SyracuseCoE Impact: A $10,000 competitive award from the SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow program allowed Kelleher to purchase the thermal camera, pay for a pilot to fly the drone, and support Syracuse University Earth sciences graduate student Sam Caldwell to assist on the project. “As a new faculty member in a variable funding environment, it’s been great to get support for a local project, both to help me learn the area and to connect with other researchers on campus,” says Kelleher, who is organizing a session on Water in Urban Environments at the 2017 SyracuseCoE Symposium.

Bottom Line: In the Eastern United States, storm water is a big concern that will increase with climate change and urbanization of the landscape. “The more that we can understand how storm flow changes water quantity and water quality, the better we can design structures or rehabilitate existing infrastructure to help things downstream,” Kelleher says.

February R&T Forum – Green Buildings and Health: From the Lab to the Real World

Dr. Joseph Allen and Dr. Piers MacNaughton of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Dr. Usha Satish of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University returned home to the Syracuse Center of Excellence yesterday to discuss the results of their second COGfx study “Buildingomics.” After their initial project revealed a connection between indoor environmental air quality (i.e. low carbon dioxide and volatile organic compound levels) and cognitive function, the researchers wanted to follow-up by looking at work environments as a whole. To do so, they posed the following question: what impact does an entire building have?

Moving from the TIEQ Lab at SyracuseCoE, used in the first study, to real-world office buildings across the United States, the group compared and contrasted variables between high-performing non-certified buildings and high-performing green-certified buildings. Their results revealed that green-certified buildings improve cognitive function in general by 26 percent, but people’s overall health improved by 30 percent, shedding light on the health benefits of enhanced environments. Not only were occupants able to to strategize better, respond faster, appear more focused and manage tasks more efficiently, they were also able to sleep better after they left, showing the long-lasting impact better buildings can have. The difference between the two types of buildings? Controllable thermal comfort and lighting options.

At the presentation John Mandyck said he believes these findings are the missing piece of what he calls the “Green Building Trifecta.” Over the years, green buildings have grown in popularity, but now this study has proven the positive physical and mental impact green buildings can have on tenants, creating an even greater benefit for investing in green-certification. Soon, job candidates may be asking their potential employers at interviews: What are the CO2 levels in the office? What’s the ventilation like in the building I will be working in?


  • Dr. Joseph G. Allen, Assistant Professor, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Dr. Piers MacNaughton, Doctoral Candidate at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Dr. Usha Satish, Professor, Department of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • John Mandyck, Chief Sustainability Officer, United Technologies Corporation

Studies are Igniting a Healthy Building Research Revolution

The Syracuse Center of Excellence was recently featured in the May issue of the American Psychological Association as host of the original COGfx Study. The article — “Healthy buildings, productive people” — provides a summary of a variety of additional studies underway akin to that of “buildingnomics,” the latest report published by Joseph Allen and Piers MacNaughton from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in collaboration with Usha Satish, a psychologist from SUNY Upstate Medical University.

The Well Living Lab in Minnesota and Hillman Hall at Washington University in Missouri both captured similar results to COGfx: that buildings do, in fact, have an impact on people’s behavior.

For the American Psychological Association, this is “big news.” The above research provides further evidence that the higher the indoor environmental air quality of a building, the better occupants will feel and function. And although we spend most of our time indoors, not a lot of attention has been given to monitoring those spaces. It’s why the research performed in SyracuseCoE’s Willis H. Carrier Total Indoor Environmental Quality (TIEQ) lab is so important.

The piece also highlights the fact that this type of work isn’t restricted to just engineers or architects, but also requires input from health-care practitioners and psychologists. Additionally, it’s equally important to realize that green buildings shouldn’t be reserved for our office spaces alone — the same strategies can also be applied to all buildings, like our homes, retail stores and restaurants.

These strategies include the following:

  • Bigger windows for more natural light

  • Controllable lighting features

  • Reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide

  • Increased ventilation, lower humidity levels

  • Increased water quality

  • Promotion of physical activity

Going forward,  the Well Living Lab researchers will be exploring “how various lighting conditions affect cognition, productivity and life outside the lab, including sleep.” Their research, combined with the COGfx studies and the research completed at Washington University, will most likely be used to better inform architects on how to design optimal work and living spaces, as cognitive psychologist Anja Jamrozik is quoted saying in the article.

Syracuse University to Host International Building Physics Conference in Fall 2018

Experts on the science and engineering of buildings will convene in Syracuse, NY in September 2018, for the 7th International Building Physics Conference (IBPC). This is the first time this conference is being held in the United States; it is coming to Syracuse based on the region’s strength in research, development and innovations related to indoor environmental quality and high-performance buildings. The conference is jointly organized by the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE), Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Syracuse University School of Architecture.

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

3) Discussions of future challenges and opportunities

The IBPC attracts researchers, practitioners, architects, engineers, as well as faculty and students involved in building physics, who share the latest research results with the broader buildings community. The conference takes place every three years as part of the official international conference series of the International Association of Building Physics (IABP). The 7th IBPC builds on the success of the previous six conferences held at cities around the world, including Eindhoven, The Netherlands (2000); Leuven, Belgium (2003); Montreal, Canada (2006); Istanbul, Turkey (2009); Kyoto, Japan (2012); and Torino, Italy (2015).

“IBCP2018 will be the first time this international conference is being held in the United States. It provides an opportunity for more North American delegates to participate in this important international event” says Jensen Zhang, Chairman of IBC2018 and Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Syracuse University. “Syracuse University is honored to lead the program committee as the first American host for this transformative event in building physics. A multi-disciplinary team of faculty members from Syracuse University serves on the Technical Program Committee to lead the organization of the various Topic areas ranging from nano-scale materials to building and city scale energy and environmental systems.”

“Syracuse is the ideal location for IBPC’s inaugural US visit because Central New York’s industry cluster in environmental and energy systems has become an international leader with research strengths in high-performance building systems,” says Ed Bogucz, Executive Director of SyracuseCoE. “SyracuseCoE looks forward to welcoming colleagues from around the world who will share the latest advances in research and innovations for healthy and resilient buildings and urban environments.”

“Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science is home to international leaders in research, development and demonstration of technologies that contribute to healthy, intelligent and resilient buildings,” says Teresa A. Dahlberg, Dean of the College. “IBPC2018 will bring together outstanding and accomplished thought leaders in indoor environmental quality and high-performance buildings, providing promising opportunities for future collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

“Architecture is a practice in transition, and Syracuse Architecture is evolving with it,” says Michael Speaks, Dean of Syracuse Architecture. “IBPC2018 will address crucial issues in architectural practice. Our new faculty have a strong focus on the research and design of high performance buildings, and there is tremendous opportunity for impactful international collaborations at this event.”

The conference, to be held September 23-28, 2018 at the Marriott Downtown Syracuse (formerly the Hotel Syracuse), will cover a wide range of research topics cutting across multiple scales of built environmental systems ranging from nano-material applications, to microenvironments around occupants, to rooms and whole buildings, and 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.

IBPC2018 Session Topics 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)
  • Environmental Control Equipment and Systems
  • Modeling, Simulation and Design Processes
  • Innovative Energy and Power Generation and Management
  • Policy and Economics
  • Mission Critical Environmental Systems

More information on the conference, including an overview of the program and specific subject examples for each Session Topic, is available at Sponsorship opportunities for the conference are available, and inquiries may be directed to

About SyracuseCoE

SyracuseCoE is New York State’s Center of Excellence for Environmental and Energy Systems. Led by Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE engages faculty, students and collaborators to catalyze innovations that improve energy efficiency, environmental quality and resilience in healthy buildings and cleaner, greener communities. Visit for more information.

About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private, co-educational, urban university dedicated to advancing knowledge and fostering student success through rigorous scholarship and transformative research. SU has a long legacy of excellence in the liberal arts and professional disciplines that prepares students to achieve personal and professional success and make a difference in the world.

January R&T Forum – ‘Precision’ Medicine and Environments: Emerging Opportunities for Individualized Care and Comfort

SyracuseCoE and Central New York Biotechnology Accelerator (CNY BAC) partnered in a joint Research and Technology Forum yesterday that explored emerging approaches at the interface of health care and environmental control. The Forum included presentations by Dr. Robert Corona, SUNY Upstate Vice President for Innovation and Business Development, and Mike Wetzel, President and CEO of Air Innovations. The presenters offered insight about how to utilize precision medicine to customize healthcare and to take into account the biological, environmental and behavioral factors that drive disease.

Right from the start, many SyracuseCoE partners have pursued a vision for leveraging one of Central New York’s signature industry clusters to catalyze innovations in technologies for built environments that would improve occupant health and wellness. Synergistically, the Central New York Biotechnology Accelerator (CNY BAC) envisions building on regional strengths to advance innovations in”precision medicine,” which seeks to improve disease treatment and prevention by taking into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.  


Dr. Robert CoronaDr. Robert Corona

DO, MBA, FCAP, FASCP, John B, Henry and Chair of Pathology, Medical Director of Neuropathology/Pathology, Vice President for Innovation and Business Development, Central New York Biotech Accelerator, Upstate Medical University

Making sense of a lifetime of big data that each individual generates will allow us to better predict and prevent disease, personalize our health care, and engage each of us to participate in the management of our care.

Each individual generates billions of bits of information from conception, through fetal development, the birthing process and then throughout life until death. Newer technologies will be capturing new types of personal data that we may use to improve the quality of our lives. We produce physiologic data detected by our wearable sensors, laboratory data, imaging data, vital sign monitoring data, data from our genes and the proteins our body manufactures.

Can we build a learning health system that extracts data patterns from EMRs, gene sequencers, laboratory tests, medical imaging, social media, mobile health and e-health technologies? We will be able to forecast disease, predict outcomes and responses to therapies? The applications for actionable data are endless. This is the future of precision medicine.

Michael WetzelMike Wetzel

President and CEO, Air Innovations

Air Innovations has a long history of engineering environments to meet a wide variety of specific challenges. While many of our applications are for protecting sensitive processes or valuable goods, we are seeing more applications emerging related to human health and wellness. And access to individualized environmental control is just on the horizon.


Ed Bogucz

Executive Director, SyracuseCoE, Associate Professor, Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering



Industry Partners: Avatar Sustainable Technologies

Processing Biochemicals from Paper Waste

As readership of paper publications has declined, paper production has shifted to serve the growing market in online sales and associated shipping.

“Packaging paper production in the U.S. has been growing at more than double the rate of the rest of the economy,” says Bandaru
Ramarao, professor of paper and bioprocess engineering at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and director of the Empire State Paper Institute.

Ramarao and his business partner, Bhavin Bhayani, are developing technologies to use waste produced during the processing of paper for shipping cartons to create biofuels. Together, they established a startup venture, Avatar Sustainable Technologies.

Most packaging is made from recycled paper. Recycling involves chopping up used paper, mixing it with water and chemicals, then heating it, which breaks it down into strands of cellulose, a type of organic plant material. The process also produces undesirable gritty fiber waste fragments. The fragments slow down paper machines and reduce production.

“The problem,” says Ramarao, “is that they are solid waste and you have to pay to landfill them.” Avatar has developed a process using enzymes to convert these waste fragments into useful byproducts that can be used to make biochemicals, including biofuels and bioplastics, essentially replacing fossil carbon with natural carbon in their processing. A project with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) could advance the technology further. NREL has engineered a new, more reactive enzyme that could speed the process at lower cost.

Avatar won a Small Business Vouchers Pilot award from the U.S. Department of Energy to work with NREL to conduct studies using this new enzyme. The investigation is also supported by a competitive award from the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund. “This could lead to a better and shorter process, saving money and energy,” says Bhayani. Not to mention the boost the company receives collaborating with NREL. “We get exposure at a whole new level within the industry,” he says.

Avatar got its start in 2013 when Bhayani was a doctoral student at SUNY ESF and won $10,000 from SyracuseCoE in an award made through the Raymond von Dran IDEA student competition. The company is located in the SyracuseCoE headquarters building
and uses space within SUNY ESF’s Biofuels Pilot plant. Bhayani says it would be challenging for Avatar to continue without support from SyracuseCoE.

“This is a difficult time because funding in this area has dried up due to changing priorities of the current administration,” he says. “The SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund has helped fill the gap and keeps us moving forward.”

Lt. Governor Hochul Visits SyracuseCoE As It Continues Its Indoor Air Quality Research Efforts

New York State Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul visited the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) again on Tuesday, December 13, to take a tour of the building and labs and learn about ongoing projects to study human health and performance in indoor environments. Hochul was joined by SyracuseCoE Executive Director Ed Bogucz for a tour and discussion of the research initiatives going on within both the Intelligent Control of Urban and Built Environments (ICUBE) and Willis H. Carrier Total Indoor Environmental Quality (TIEQ) Lab.

Researchers from Syracuse University, Upstate Medical, and SUNY ESF use the labs to determine how different indoor environmental factors influence human productivity and efficiency. The TIEQ Lab allows researchers to control environmental factors such as humidity, lighting, temperature, and sound in order to study and document how to improve internal environmental quality and energy efficiency. The factors are tested and documented within the ICUBE test bed, which is designed to simulate a wide variety of common settings in commercial office buildings, including cubicles, offices and meeting rooms.

Hochul was interested in how these research projects and facilities promote entrepreneurship and ultimately boost the economy in Central New York. The support of student researchers and entrepreneurs prepares them for jobs at companies within Central New York, and the facilities help to draw bright faculty members to Syracuse University and SUNY ESF.


Better Boiling for Faster Heat

Expertise: Energy conversion and heat transfer; Maroo heads Syracuse University’s Multiscale Research and Engineering Lab.
Research Problem: Reducing energy consumption and improving per formance of manufactured goods through development of nanomaterials that lead to faster heat transfer.
Backstory: Maroo’s research hinges on fundamentally changing the boiling process. Experimenting with different nano/micro patterns on silicon and silicon-dioxide surfaces, Maroo and his team found they could increase the bubbles forming on the sur face of boiling water, increasing heat transfer compared to smooth heating sur faces. With funding from SyracuseCoE’s AM-TEC initiative, the team was able to define the critical height of the surface pattern to optimize heat transfer, increasing heat transfer by 120 percent.
SyracuseCoE Connection: Maroo received $100,000 from SyracuseCoE in 2013 under an award from the U.S. Department of Energy in support of a regional initiative to strengthen Central New York’s cluster of Advanced Manufacturers for Thermal and Environmental Controls (AM-TEC). “That funding allowed us to demonstrate our experimental capabilities, leading to additional support for new research,” says Maroo.
Lab Report: Maroo is studying how the sur face pattern developed under the AM-TEC award can be used within boiler systems to improve heating and save energy costs. Another area of research focuses on cooling of electronics. Maroo received an NSF CAREER Award in 2015 to investigate the fundamental physics associated with nanoscale meniscus evaporation and passive liquid flow to remove large amounts of heat from surfaces in very short amounts of time. Eventually, this knowledge could be applied to achieve next-generation heat exchangers for thermal management of electronics and renewable energy technologies such as concentrated solar photovoltaic cells.
Aha Moment: Studying the boiling process, Maroo’s research group has created a single vapor bubble in a pool of liquid that can remain stable on a sur face for hours, instead of milliseconds. “This will help us understand and predict the boiling process further so we can design structures and sur faces accordingly,” he says.

November R&T Forum: From Idea to Market: Perspectives from Student, Faculty, and Industry Entrepreneurs

SyracuseCoE celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week with a Research & Technology Forum that featured three perspectives on commercializing innovations energy and environmental systems. Those who presented were a founder and CEO of a student-led venture, a faculty entrepreneur who participated in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program, and a founder of a start-up company that brought game-changing LED lighting to sporting arenas across the country, including a stadium that hosted the Super Bowl. The presenters offered personal insights on opportunities and challenges along the paths of entrepreneurship and innovation.


Joe CasperJoe Casper

Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Ephesus Lighting
Joe is uncompromisingly committed to creating a whole new evolution in LED lighting technology. He drives design and engineering solutions to deliver what the customer needs rather than what the industry has been making. Joe brings to Ephesus 30+ years of experience and career achievements, which include work with industry leaders like Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor, Lockheed Martin and part of the startup team for WaferTech, a Washington state-based semiconductor facility he helped grow to 1400+ employees and $1 billion in revenue.

Yan-Yeung LukYan-Yeung Luk

Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Syracuse University
Luk is a faculty member in the Chemistry Department of Syracuse University since 2004. With a few of technologies spun out of his laboratory, and with his scientific advisory experiences to two biotechnology companies, Luk founded LifeUnit LLC, a startup company that develops chemical innovations for controlling bacteria-related diseases and problems. LifeUnit LLC has won the Innovation Corps grant from National Science Foundation, and Luk is the acting Chief Scientific Officer for the technical operation of LifeUnit.

Joshua Aviv

Founder and CEO, SparkCharge
Josh Aviv, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SparkCharge, holds a bachelors degree in Economics from Syracuse University with a focus in Environmental Economics and currently finishing his master’s degree in Information Science, with a C.A.S. in Data Science. Josh is in charge of product development and day-to-day operations including establishing relationships with electric vehicle (EV) owners. Josh, an EV owner himself, has extensive EV expertise and has been in the industry for the past 3 years.

Operating off the Grid

Research Problem: Develop alternative energy technologies that improve current thermal systems while reducing harmful emissions by furthering the understanding and application of fuel cells in the energy field.
Lab t0 Market: Ahn and his research group are experimenting with flame-assisted fuel cells to convert chemical reaction with heat directly to electricity. The idea is to modify existing home furnace/boiler systems with flame-assisted fuel cells that could generate electricity while generating heat, allowing it to run off grid. “If you lose power, your furnace/boiler could still be operated to supply heat and hot water and also generate enough electricity to run your lights and your refrigerator,” Ahn says. When the power is on, the flame-assisted fuel cell technology can offset residential electrical loads up to 20 percent during peak hours of operation, reducing demand on the grid and the electric bill. “Flame-assisted fuel cell technology has the potential to provide a resilient and efficient solution for residents during power interruptions,” says Ahn, who has received interest from potential commercial partners. He has six patents issued or pending related to fuel-cell technology.
SyracuseCoE Connection: Ahn runs Syracuse University’s Combustion and Energy Research (COMER) Lab, which is located at SyracuseCoE. The new 1,500-square-foot lab was designed by Ahn and is equipped with state-of the-art instrumentation specifically to fabricate fuel cells, batteries, and other electrochemical devices and to characterize and test them with thermo chemical systems. In 2013, Ahn received funding from SyracuseCoE’s AM-TEC initiative, allowing him to demonstrate proof-of concept of the flame-assisted fuel cell and to publish several papers. Subsequently, he has received SyracuseCoE assistance with additional funding proposals; most recently, he won a competitive award from NYSERDA to advance the project.
Extra Credit: Ahn teaches a Syracuse University course on Fuel Cell Science and Technology for both undergraduate and graduate engineering students, one of the few of its kind in the country. The class is held at SyracuseCoE, including time spent in classroom space and in his lab. “Students go to my lab and actually fabricate and test their own fuel cells,” he explains. “It gives them hands-on learning experience working on real-world problems.”

SyracuseCoE Awards Funding for Six Research and Innovation Projects by faculty members at Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

SyracuseCoE announced today that six research and innovations projects led by faculty members from Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) were competitively selected to receive awards totaling $114,000. The projects engage a total of 12 faculty members from four schools and colleges at Syracuse University and SUNY ESF.

The awards expand the Faculty Fellows program that SyracuseCoE launched in the 2015-2016 academic year. Each faculty member who is involved in a project will be appointed as a SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow for a three-year term, joining the ranks of 22 SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows who were appointed last year.

Projects were selected based on proposals received through 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 Upstate Medical University, CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity and dozens of partner firms.

“These new projects will engage faculty members and students to address strategically targeted questions that align with SyracuseCoE’s mission to catalyze research that accelerates innovations in environmental and energy systems,“ says Executive Director of SyracuseCoE, Ed Bogucz, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Syracuse University. “We look forward to growing this program and the support it provides to the researchers throughout the region.”

“In addition to supporting individual faculty research,” noted Sherburne Abbott, Vice President for Sustainability Initiatives and University Professor at Syracuse University, “the SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program fosters a broad culture of innovation and collaboration in support of the University’s research excellence initiatives.”

The projects, principal investigators, and their collaborators are:

VIS-SIM: A Framework for Designing Neighborhood Energy Efficiency through Data Visualization and Calibrated Urban Building Energy Simulation
Elizabeth 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

Thermo-Mechanical Fuel Reforming for Fuel Cell Energy Systems
Benjamin Akih-Kumgeh, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University
Jeongmin Ahn, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University

Air Pollutants and their Effects on the Syracuse Urban Landscape
Charles T. Driscoll, University Professor of Environmental Systems, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University

Temporal Changes in Methane Concentrations in Domestic Groundwater Wells in the Marcellus Shale Region
Laura Lautz, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Syracuse University
Gregory Hoke, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Syracuse University
Zunli Lu, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Syracuse University

Water Resources Quality in the Urban Heat Island: Exploring Longitudinal Patterns of Stream Temperature via UAV
Christa Kelleher, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences & Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University

Valorization of Biorefinery Lignin
Biljana Bujanovic, Associate Professor of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, SUNY ESF
Arthur J. Stipanovic, Professor of Chemistry, SUNY ESF

More information on each project can be found on SyracuseCoE Researchers Page.

The awards were made possible by funding to support SyracuseCoE actitivites 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 April 2017 for projects beginning in July 2017.

R&T Forum: U.S. Power Plant Carbon Standards and the Potential for Clean Air, Human Health and Ecosystem Co-benefits

Charles Driscoll and Kathy Fallon Lambert presebted the results of an ongoing project on co-benefits associated with policies to control carbon dioxide emissions from electric utilities by a boundary-spanning organization, the Science Policy Exchange. Carbon dioxide emissions standards for U.S. power plants will influence the fuels and technologies used to generate electricity, altering emissions of pollutants and affecting ambient air quality and public and ecosystem health. Three alternative scenarios for U.S. power plant carbon standards were evaluated for changes in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone concentrations in ambient air, and resulting public health and ecosystem co-benefits For two of the three policy scenarios, carbon standards for existing power plants can substantially decrease emissions of co-pollutants, and improve air quality and public health beyond existing air quality policies. A stringent but flexible policy that counts demand-side energy efficiency toward compliance yields the greatest health and ecosystem benefits, and a favorable benefit-cost analysis. The magnitude and the nature of the co-benefits associated with this policy were highly distributed spatially with all of the coterminous states receiving some health benefits and many states experiencing ecosystem benefits. Their work involves an evaluation of options considered for implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan. In addition to the presentation on co-benefits, there was a discussion of the Science Policy Exchange and the outreach effort associated with the project.


Professor Charles T. DriscollProfessor Charles T. Driscoll

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
Charles T. Driscoll is a Distinguished and University Professor at Syracuse University. He received his BS from the University of Maine and MS and PhD from Cornell.  Driscoll’s research addresses the effects of disturbance on forest, freshwater and marine ecosystems, including air pollution (acid and mercury deposition), land-use, and climate change. Driscoll has testified at Congressional and state legislative committee hearings, and served on many local, national and international committees.  He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Kathy Fallon LambertKathy Fallon Lambert 

Science Policy Exchange, Harvard Forest, Harvard University
Kathy Fallon Lambert directs the Science Policy Exchange and the Science & Policy Integration Project at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University. The Science Policy Exchange is a consortium of six universities and research institution (including Syracuse University) working at the science-policy interface to enhance the influence of science on environmental decision-making. Previously, Kathy was the executive director of the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF) where she helped develop the Science Links program to bridge the gap between long-term biogeochemical research and related public policy. Kathy has collaborated with Dr. Charles Driscoll, Syracuse University Professor of Environmental Systems Engineering, on three high-impact projects that link science with policy: Acid Rain Revisited, Mercury Matters, and Co-Benefits of Powerplant Carbon Standards. Kathy holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.F.S. from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is a Switzer Fellow, Leopold Schepp Scholar and recipient of the U.S. EPA Environmental Merit Award. 


Enabling New Combustion System Development

Expertise: Aerodynamics and propulsion, energy conversion and heat transfer, and fluid mechanics.

Research Problem: Enabling the design of advanced combustion systems through models of renewable and clean fuels to contribute to a more sustainable energy economy. Akih-Kumgeh uses experiments and computations to study the physical and chemical processes that occur during energy conversion with a special focus on the combustion behavior of alternative fuels.
SyracuseCoE Connection: Akih-Kumgeh directs Syracuse University’s Thermodynamics and Combustion Lab, located in the lab wing at SyracuseCoE. He designed the lab, which has been operational since December 2014, specifically to accommodate the 10-meter shock tube used in combustion experiments, as well as equipment to investigate flame propagation. SyracuseCoE provided funding that enabled him to purchase a laser used to quantify pollutant formation during combustion events. “Combustion research is not only concerned with engines but also with its effects on the environment. Our location at SyracuseCoE is of great benefit to my students; they can put their research in the broader context of energy and environmental systems,” Akih-Kumgeh says.
Research Method:
The shock tube allows Akih-Kumgeh and his students to create very clean conditions of high temperature and pressure to characterize the ignition behavior of promising fuels. Engines operate at various conditions and the research focuses on how these conditions affect ignition. Physical experiments are used to test and improve mathematical models that can predict ignition behavior under a wide number of conditions, eliminating the need to build expensive experiments to test ever y condition. “Computational analysis of complex processes like combustion allows you to reduce the amount of time needed to develop or modify a cleaner and more efficient engine,” Akih-Kumgeh says. Akih-Kumgeh’s team is also studying the chemical compounds formed during the combustion process—such as carbon monoxide—including how much remains once the combustion process has finished. “We can quantify and compare the emissions of different fuels with the idea of reducing the emission of carbon monoxide into the environment,” he says.
Lab to Market:
Akih-Kumgeh says the same combustion principles that apply to automobiles, jet engines, and rockets can be applied to boilers and residential furnaces that use natural gas. “If you want to increase the use of biofuels inside these systems, then you need to know how the combustion behavior would change and make sure the emissions from that particular modification are within the required limits,” he says.

Interacting with the Built Environment

Expertise: Emerging material technologies, human interaction, and computational simulations influencing the design of sustainable built environments.
Backstory: As a doctoral student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Krietemeyer was part of a team that developed an innovative facade system installed at the SyracuseCoE headquarters as a demonstration project. After she joined the faculty of the Syracuse University School of Architecture, she turned to SyracuseCoE as a natural partner for assistance with developing her own research projects.
SyracuseCoE Connection: Krietemeyer leads the Interactive Design and Visualization Lab at SyracuseCoE, where she conducts interdisciplinary research on advanced building technologies and human interaction using immersive simulation techniques. “The lab is intended to support different systems being tested in the building,” she says. “A lot of the work I do explores reactive facade systems that respond to weather conditions and people’s movements within a space. These products are often too expensive to prototype at a large scale, but we absolutely need to know what they’re going to look like and how they behave with building inhabitants. By using simulation in the lab, we can explore a range of design, engineering, and human factors issues and make modifications early on.”
Lab Report: With funding provided by SyracuseCoE, Krietemeyer is developing a computational tool that combines traditional energy analysis with virtual reality tools. The project includes collaboration with fellow Syracuse University School of Architecture Professor Amber Bartosh, Syracuse University College of Engineering and Computer Science Professor Jianshun Zhang, and visual artist Lorne Covington. “We’re conducting energy analysis and translating that information into dynamic, spatial, 3-D visualizations so we can virtually experience energy flows within a building in an interactive way,” Krietemeyer says.
Extra Credit: Another aspect of the project examines energy flows at the urban scale. Krietemeyer has created what she calls a “Projective Urban Design Laborator y” using a scale model of the City of Syracuse that she uses to project dynamic energy information onto—data ranging from light pollution to solar radiation—to better visualize ambient energy flows in the city that are typically invisible. The interactive display has been installed at the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) in Syracuse. “We want to extend this research outside of the lab so we can engage a much wider audience,” Krietemeyer says. “We’re hoping end users and stakeholders will make use of it for potential design decisions for the city.”

TEChack Winners – MEOWTH

TEChack | 2-day hackathon at SyracuseCoE | August 1st & 2nd, 2016
9 Hackers | 4 Hacks | 3 Winning Teams

Mission: Design and develop IoT-enabled capabilities for products in Central New York’s thermal and environmental controls cluster.

Outcome: Students and industry professionals competed in teams to conceive, develop and demonstrate actual working product concepts for IoT-enabled embedded devices utilizing Anaren’s Atmosphere IoT Development Platform, a web-based development platform that enables IoT capabilities in systems using Bluetooth® Low Energy devices.

There were 3 winners.

Special thanks to Anaren for their guidance and leadership throughout the hackathon.

Groups & Participants

(1st Place Winner) meowth  Ricky Laishram, Yiou Xiao, Qiuwen Chen, Zhiruo Zhao
(2nd Place Winner) Problem solving concepts  Mahesh Mhatre, Yuewen Yue
(3rd Place Winner) IoT Anemometer  Jeff Berezin, Paul Gelling, and Ed Lipson
Food Service Safety Jeff Berezin, Paul Gelling, and Ed Lipson

Photo from TEChack Hack-A-Thon Hackathon COE Syrcause Center of Excellence 2016

Participants listening to Mihir Dani as he guides them through the TEChack’s process. 

During TEChack, teams were guided by Mihir Dani of Anaren, a Syracuse University College of Engineering and Computer Science graduate and a recognized award-winning “hackspert” who has mentored numerous teams who went on to become hackathon winners at IoT World 2015, 2016 and Sensors Expo 2016.

Photo from TEChack Hack-A-Thon Hackathon COE Syrcause Center of Excellence 2016

Participant working on his team’s product during the overnight TEChack.

“TEChack exemplifies opportunities for firms in Central New York to incorporate ‘data-to-decision’ technologies into their next-generation products,” said Cindy Oehmigen, president of the CNY Technology Development Organization.

Photo of EChack Hack-A-Thon Participants

Participant demonstrating the functionality of his group’s project. Participants developed actual working products during the TEChack.

“The Internet of Things continues to create an amazing variety of new and innovative solutions for companies around the world, and we welcome this opportunity to help students and professionals in Central New York explore possibilities and perhaps set the stage for prototyping the next great IoT innovation,” says Mike Bowyer, Anaren’s Director of Business Development, Wireless IoT.

Participant explaining his group’s idea and product.

“TEChack brings together three cornerstones of the Central New York economy: thermal and environmental controls, precision sensing and data analytics, and engineering and science research and education,” said Ed Bogucz, SyracuseCoE executive director. “We celebrate the strengths and creativity in each sector, and we look forward to the ideas that will be emerge when they come together.”

Photo from TEChack Hack-A-Thon Hackathon COE Syrcause Center of Excellence 2016

Sponsored by


SyracuseCoE_SU Logo RGB          Anaren_logo           case          tdo




Designing Cities for Comfort

Expertise:Modeling urban energy flows and human-powered mobility; daylighting and energy in building technology applications; the use of unmanned drones for building performance inspections.
Research Problem: Designing cities for pedestrian comfort. Rakha’s work on sustainable urban mobility looks at how weather conditions and the built environment influence walking and biking in urban communities. “It’s about planning for thermal and visual comfort under predictable conditions, such as cold winters and hot summers,” says Rakha.
Backstory: Rakha’s doctoral dissertation from MIT focused on comfortable and walkable cities. He was also part of a research team that developed a citywide building energy model for Boston, which estimated the gas and electricity demand of every building in Boston.
SyracuseCoE Connection: Rakha was attracted to Syracuse University, in part, because of the resources available through SyracuseCoE. “I was excited about the kind of support I could get here that I couldn’t get anywhere else,” says Rakha. That includes networking, access to industr y partners, lab space to develop research activities, and assistance with grant proposals. Prior to the official start of his faculty position, SyracuseCoE helped Rakha submit a proposal in response to a solicitation from NYSERDA. The proposal was funded, supporting a study of sustainable transportation alternatives in Syracuse. Subsequently, SyracuseCoE assisted Rakha develop a proposal to SageGlass for a study of daylighting and energy in buildings; he also is using space in the SyracuseCoE lab wing to test his drone with various sensors.
Lab to Market: Rakha’s NYSERDA-funded study examines the walkability and bikeability of downtown Syracuse, including outdoor thermal comfort, as well as sharing economy technologies in the City of Syracuse (e.g., bike and car sharing), and public transit and regional relationships between Syracuse and Central New York. “SyracuseCoE has relationships with all the relevant stakeholders so whatever outcomes we present from our feasibility study will directly link to each of them,” says Rakha.

ARPA-E: Saving Energy Through Precision Comfort

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for buildings have traditionally been “one-size-fits-all”—a single thermostat controlling the temperature in an office or classroom. But occupants aren’t “one-size-fits-all” in terms of comfort—with this approach, at least 20 percent of occupants are typically dissatisfied with the temperature they experience.
With support from SyracuseCoE, faculty and students at Syracuse University and their collaborators have been working for years to transform HVAC systems through the development of personalized environmental control systems (PECS), that would allow individual occupants to adjust heat and cooling to their own level of comfort. The PECS vision took a big leap forward with the award of a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), and companion awards of $319,000 from NYSTAR, and $400,000 from NYSERDA.
The new project responds to an ARPA-E vision for saving energy nationally by localizing thermal management on an individual level while changing the set points for thermostats for large spaces to 66 degrees in winter and 79 degrees in summer (from 70 degrees and 75 degrees respectively). The approach promises to save more than 15 percent of energy used for HVAC nationally, while simultaneously improving occupant comfort and indoor air quality.
NYSTAR Distinguished Professor H. Ezzat Khalifa leads the Syracuse University team that is developing a near-range micro-environmental control system. The system will provide local cooling and heating via a box about the size of medium-tower computer that will fit under an individual’s desk. The unit has a high-efficiency micro-vapor compression system with a tiny scroll compressor and an evaporator embedded in a phase-change material. This material will store the cooling or heating produced by the micro-vapor compression system at night, releasing during the day to make occupants more comfortable.
“Buildings consume nearly 40 percent of the energy used in the United States and other industrialized countries,” says Khalifa. “Ultimately this transformative technology will create a much more affordable and energy-efficient way to ensure individual occupant comfort.”
In addition to researchers at Syracuse University and SyracuseCoE, the three-year project includes partners United Technologies Research Center, Air Innovations, Bush Technical LLC, and Cornell University. The SU team was one of 11 funded nationally. This is the first ARPA-E grant awarded to Syracuse University. SyracuseCoE aided the project team in the development of the proposal and is a key player in the execution of the research, including bringing the technology to market.
“We see a great future for personal environmental control. By reducing the control point to each user, we only condition areas that need conditioning, and to the specific needs of that individual,” says Michael Wetzel, president and CEO of Air Innovations. “Not only will this program reduce future energy costs, but it allows individual choice of comfort settings.” 

Healthway: Exporting Clean Air to Asia

China’s rapid industrialization has come at a cost: The country is afflicted with some of the worst air pollution in the world.
But one Central New York company is improving air qualityin China—and throughout Asia—one building at a time.
HealthWay Products manufactures air cleaning and filtration products for homes, businesses, and medical environments.
The Pulaski-based company originally developed air cleaners to remove smoke from bars. When legislation banned smoking indoors, the company changed focus, developing proprietary technology to clean air from entire buildings,
capturing 99.99 percent of air contaminants.
“The World Health Organization has ranked indoor air quality as a top health concern facing humans,” says HealthWay President Vinny Lobdell. “It’s beyond smoke and allergens, but ultrafine particles that can cause cardiovascular disease,
stroke, and cancer.”
HealthWay develops products that clean air at point of use by filtering contaminants generated within a space and at point of entry by cleaning air filtered into a building as part of its HVAC system. Customers include the Cleveland Clinic, Hyatt Hotels, Marriott, Harvard University, Starwood Hotels, Texas Instruments, BMW, Volkswagen, and Crystal Cruises. The company, named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing privately held companies in North America, sells its products in 30 countries.
Asia is the biggest growth market and SyracuseCoE has been an important partner in HealthWay’s expansion efforts. In 2013, HealthWay received a $50,000 Commercialization Assistance Program grant from SyracuseCoE to help commercialize and test a disinfecting filtration system specifically for the Asian market. The grant supported the assistance of Syracuse University Professor Jianshun Zhang, who conducted testing of the product. 
At the Building Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES) Laboratory in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University, Zhang simulated air pollution to evaluate the filter’s per formance in cleaning air “breathed in” by building HVAC systems in China.
“That grant was very important in helping us get that product to market,” says Lobdell. Installations include BMW
corporate headquarters in China, the Saudi Ministry of Health, and hotels throughout Asia.
Lobdell says that product—the 2000 SC—is now the cornerstone of the company’s commercial line. In 2015, HealthWay purchased an additional facility in Pulaski to accommodate its manufacture, as well as to bring back other products the company was manufacturing in China, adding approximately 20 jobs to the Central New York region.
“We’re really grateful to have an organization like the SyracuseCoE locally,” says Lobdell. “Syracuse has become a hub for innovation in indoor air quality because of their efforts, and they continue to help us grow.”

Measured Performance

Expertise: Measuring the impact of environmental conditions on cognitive function.
Backstory: Satish has broad experience using the research tool Strategic Management Simulation (SMS) to study how wide-ranging variables impact cognitive function and real-world productivity, from drugs and alcohol to sleep deprivation to head injuries. In 2006, after completing a study on how various medications for seasonal allergies and rhinitis affect cognitive function, she was sought out by SyracuseCoE to see if her methods might be effective for a forthcoming study on the impact of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paint on indoor environments. Satish collaborated on the project, using SMS to evaluate the impact of VOCs on productivity and decision-making and expanded her area of research interest in the process.
Sound Bite: “Studying the impact of indoor air quality wasn’t originally on my radar, but it wasn’t out of the realm of imagination either,” says Satish. “Whether I’m looking at different levels of alcohol, antihistamines that cause drowsiness, or VOCs—they all have the potential to impact thinking capacity.”
SyracuseCoE Connection: In 2007, SyracuseCoE awarded nearly $300,000 for a two-year project led by Satish in collaboration with researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories to study the implications of low levels of carbon dioxide on people’s decision making and perceptions of indoor air quality. In 2009, SyracuseCoE awarded nearly $300,000 for a two-year project led by Satish in collaboration with the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to study the impacts of daylighting on human decision making and productivity. Satish was a co-investigator of the 2014 COGfx study, leading the cognitive testing and analysis component. “The SyracuseCoE is a wonderful organization for showcasing the research treasures we have in Upstate New York,” she says.
Current Project: Satish is collaborating with Syracuse University engineering professor Jianshun Zhang and King + King Architects to evaluate whether building renovations at Pine Grove Middle School in East Syracuse, New York, impact student learning. Data from SMS taken before and after the renovation under controlled conditions will be used to assess the impact of the built environment on student performance.

TIEQ Lab: Building Productivity

SyracuseCoE is home to the Willis H. Carrier Total Indoor Environmental Quality (TIEQ) Lab, a one-of-its-kind facility that enabled what climate expert Joe Romm calls “the seminal green building study of our time.” The recent groundbreaking study on “The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function” (COGfx) found participants’ cognitive function not only changed in response to the quality of their indoor environment, but also doubled in environments with enhanced green building ventilation.

The COGfx study “explains the great mystery of why better ventilation increases productivity,” says Romm, who heralded the findings at the 2015 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo for providing hard data that demonstrates the health and productivity benefits of green buildings.

Findings from the COGfx study showed that cognitive performance doubled in conditions that replicated green buildings with enhanced ventilation and in some functional areas—including strategy and information usage—nearly tripled. Just as important, quantitative analysis of that increased productivity found that air quality and cost are no longer a trade-off. According to the study, doubling the ventilation rate in typical office buildings can be reached at an estimated annual energy cost of between $14 and $40 per person, depending on location; this investment can result in improved productivity valued at, on average, $6,500 per person per year.

The COGfx study was led by researchers from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Har vard University, in collaboration with faculty members from Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University, and was supported by funding from United Technologies Corporation. Experiments were conducted at the TIEQ Lab in the fall of 2014 and results were published in a series of peer-reviewed papers beginning in fall 2015.

The COGfx study has important implications for the design and operation of environmental systems for office environments. “We spend 90 percent of our time indoors. It’s logical that this has an outsized impact on our overall health and well-being, as well as productivity,” says Joseph Allen, assistant professor and director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard Chan School.

The COGfx study was specifically designed to take advantage of the capabilities of the TIEQ Lab. “This study is exactly the kind of pioneering research that we envisioned right from the start,” says Ed Bogucz, SyracuseCoE executive director. “As with many other projects that have been conducted in the TIEQ Lab, the unique capabilities of the facility and the expertise of local researchers familiar with using it attracted collaborators to Central New York.”
The TIEQ Lab consists of two rooms resembling a typical office environment; however, from the floor below, environmental conditions—such as ventilation rate, temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide concentration— can be controlled with a high degree of precision. “This allowed us to make changes to the indoor environmental quality in the TIEQ Lab while keeping the participants blinded to test conditions,” says Allen.
The COGfx study enlisted 24 professionals from Central New York firms and institutions to relocate to the TIEQ Lab for six days to per form their regular work. Near the end of each workday, they were given a cognitive assessment that evaluated real-world decision-making. Over the course of those six days, the indoor environment was modified to reflect conventional buildings, green buildings, and green buildings with enhanced ventilation.
Not only were participants unaware of changes in environmental conditions, but researchers involved in the cognitive testing were also “blind” to changing conditions as well.
“The double-blind nature of the study strengthens the integrity of our results,” says co-investigator Suresh Santanam, a Syracuse University Professor of engineering and computer science who is an expert in indoor air quality and air pollution control, and director of SU’s Industrial Assessment Center.
Usha Satish, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Upstate Medical University, led the testing using the Strategic Management Simulation, a highly reliable cognitive testing tool. The computer-based test posed diverse situations based on real-world challenges, allowing users to respond and strategize in their own cognitive style.
“The simulation scenarios have been validated to replicate people’s daily decision-making,” says Satish.
This study—and the impact its results are expected to bring— is precisely what was anticipated when the lab was conceived.
“Research is a long and costly process,” says Santanam. “It would not have been unusual if it took a decade for published research to have come out of the TIEQ Lab.
The impact the lab has made in our knowledge base in a relatively short time is really quite remarkable.”

Blowing Off Steam: The Case for Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Heat Pumps To Replace Steam, New York’s Biggest Energy and Water Glutton

Research and Technology Forum, March 22, 2016

Steam heating systems are widely used in New York State, in all kinds of buildings: universities, large high-rises, schools, and even homes. We know that converting steam to hot water systems routinely saves 50% of the heating energy use, as well as saving water. But it is not known how much steam heat in fact exists in the state – it is just not something that is inventoried in any of the various building information databases. So we set out to estimate how much steam is used in different kinds of buildings, and were surprised with the results. We also evaluated the savings to convert from steam to a new type of heating technology, variable-refrigerant flow heat pumps. Join us to learn how much steam we are blowing off, and how much we could save by converting steam to VRF heat pumps, in a fast-moving and information-filled session.

Funding for this project was provided by the SyracuseCoE Partner Program Innovation Fund.


IanIan Shapiro
Senior Engineer, Taitem Engineering

Ian started Taitem Engineering in 1989. He has led several applied energy conservation research projects, has led many design and energy projects, and has delivered workshops in the area of energy and ventilation. He has also led the development of several computer programs which are used in the HVAC, energy, and indoor air quality fields, including TREAT (Targeted Residential Energy Analysis Tools), which was awarded the 2005 national R&D100 Award. He also developed an innovative desiccant cooling system, for which he holds a U.S. patent. Prior to starting Taitem Engineering, he worked for seven years at Carrier Corporation in Syracuse, where he designed heat pumps and air conditioning equipment, and holds eight patents from this work. He is the co-author of the book Green Building Illustrated (John Wiley and Sons), and is the author of the forthcoming book Energy Audits and Improvements for Commercial Buildings (John Wiley and Sons, April 2016). 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, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

Up to $3,000 Paid Internship Opportunities for SyracuseCoE Partners

SyracuseCoE is seeking applications from current members of the Partner Program to the 2016 Summer Industry Collaboration Internship Program.  The program supports paid internship opportunities for SyracuseCoE Partner Program companies to host a student engaged in work related to a SyracuseCoE focus area, including:

  • Indoor environmental quality (IEQ)
  • Clean and renewable energy, including high performance/green building
  • Water resources

In addition to increasing the technical skills of area students pursuing degrees in science, engineering, and architecture, program goals include increased post-graduation student retention in the Central Upstate region and the establishment of valuable relationships between college students and local firms. To date, more than 30 companies and 90 students have participated in this program, which will provide up to $3,000 toward an intern’s wages. The deadline to apply is March 31st.

Open to Partners! 2016 Innovation Fund Call for Proposals

SyracuseCoE invites proposals to the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund from current 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

Deadline March 24, 2016

Commercializing Renewable Energy

For 30 years, researchers at SyracuseCoE academic Partner SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) have studied new forms of renewable energy. In the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, researchers use sugars derived from willow biomass to create biofuels with very low greenhouse gas emissions that will replace their fossil fuel counterparts.
That research moved from the lab bench to production scale with the opening of the SUNY-ESF Biofuels Pilot Plant at SyracuseCoE in 2015. “We want to make the same portfolio of products you can make from fossil fuels,” says Art Stipanovic, ESF professor of chemistr y and director of the Pilot Plant.
The new facility is a small-scale, commercial grade pilot plant that allows researchers to scale up the size of their production significantly, so that they can develop and demonstrate processes that will evolve into full-scale commercial production.
“Equipment like this is hard to find,” adds Thomas Amidon, professor and chair of paper and bioprocess engineering at ESF. “It’s too small for most manufacturers but too big for almost anywhere else. You’d rarely find this on a college campus.”
The Pilot Plant includes a 1000-Liter fermenter that creates an optimal environment for microorganisms to convert wood-based sugars to fuels such as ethanol and butanol, and a 30-gallon-per-hour distillation column to distill the biofuels produced in the fermenter to high purity fuels suitable for testing in engines.
The facility provides a more robust learning and research environment in a real-world setting. “The goal is to move science into a technology and then into a commercial business,” says Amidon.
That’s already happening.
New companies that have originated from ESF’s research include Avatar Sustainable Technologies, founded by Bhavin
Bhayani, Ph.D., and Bandaru V. Ramarao, professor of paper and bioprocess engineering at ESF and director of the Empire
State Paper Research Insitute.
It was during an internship at a paper mill while an ESF doctoral student that Bhayani had his aha moment. “There was a tremendous amount of paper waste that was already beaten and pulped,” he says.
Bhayani saw this cellulosic waste as a readymade option for producing the sugars needed for fermentation to biofuels. He and Ramarao, his doctoral advisor, received NYSERDA funding to develop and demonstrate the concept on a lab scale. Bhayani also won $10,000 from SyracuseCoE in Syracuse University’s RvD IDEA student competition in 2013;the award served as a catalyst to start Avatar Sustainable Technologies to commercialize its proprietary technology for producing fermentable sugars for bioproducts industries.
“Different biofuels and bio-plastics require different qualities of sugar. We’re working with people in academia, at the paper mills, and biofuels companies to make sure our processes are in alignment with their requirements,” he says.
In addition to continued use of the ESF Pilot Plant, SyracuseCoE provides the firm with office space, funding through a $25,000 Innovation Fund award, and guidance in commercialization.
“It would be very difficult to do this without the support of SyracuseCoE,” Bhayani says.

AM-TEC Analysis and Design Center: Virtual Production

In a lab on the third floor at SyracuseCoE headquarters, a group of Syracuse University graduate students works on a prototype for a heat exchanger that transfers heat with a low-pressure draw. Later that afternoon, another team will work on a structural analysis of a low-vibration cryo frigeration system in an attempt to find ways to reduce the vibration level even further.
They’re working in the Analysis and Design Center, a NYSERDA funded resource created to assist firms in Central New York’s thermal and environmental control cluster accelerate development of innovative products. Under the super vision of faculty members from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, these students are helping solve real-world problems for AM-TEC companies such as Cryomech, a world leader in cryorefrigeration and helium recovery systems.
“As a small company, we have limited manpower,” says Chao Wang, Ph.D., director of research and development at Cryomech. “Collaborating with the resources at Syracuse University and SyracuseCoE gives us research and development capabilities we just don’t have on our own.”
That’s where the Analysis and Design Center comes in. The center provides AM-TEC companies with assistance from a team of specially trained students from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, who work under the super vision of faculty members. The students per form analysis and design using software for computational fluid dynamics or finite-element analysis.
In addition to helping AM-TEC manufacturers develop new products, the Analysis and Design Center also benefits the students who are engaged. “By getting to work on problems not ‘well-posed’ in classroom homework or an exam, students have to make their own assumptions to solve the problem,” says Thong Dang, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Syracuse University.
One of those students is Pratik Manandhar, a master’s student in mechanical and aerospace engineering at Syracuse University,
who has worked on projects for Ekostinger and Kohilo Wind. “Working in the Analysis and Design Center has provided me with an excellent opportunity to work hands-on in a professional environment and gain practical experience in implementing classroom knowledge to solve real-life problems,” he says. “In addition, attending meetings and interacting with company professionals has also helped me learn how to communicate effectively and will help me make a smooth transition from academia to industry.”

Lighting a Bright Future

A shift to LED lighting is saving sports teams millions of dollars and improving fan experiences, in large part using products developed and manufactured by Central New York’s Ephesus Lighting. Since 2013, Ephesus lighting has been installed at more than 100 sports venues across the United States and Canada, saving an estimated 45-million kilowatts of energy and eliminating 34,000 tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.
Ephesus developed an ultra-high per formance LED technology with a patented lens design that is 75 percent more energy-efficient than the metal halide lights traditionally used at stadiums, providing fuller illumination and casting fewer shadows. And at much less cost—the average arena installation reduces energy costs by up to 85 percent, bringing a return on investment in less than five years.
Since entering the sports LED market, Ephesus’ revenue has grown an average of more than 300 percent in each of the last three years. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without SyracuseCoE,” says Joe Casper, who founded the company in 2010 with his wife, Amy.
The Caspers had worked for advanced technology companies across the United States, including Lockheed Martin in Syracuse and Motorola. They returned to Central New York with a vision to translate their combined expertise in semiconductor design and production to develop new energy-efficient technologies in LED lighting. Casper sought out Ed Bogucz at SyracuseCoE, who in turn connected the Caspers to a broad array of resources, including business incubation, potential research and development collaborators, and other services to develop, test, and commercialize their innovative, energy-efficient lighting products.
In 2012, Ephesus won a Commercialization Assistance Program award from SyracuseCoE that enabled the company to develop its own patented LED chip using gallium nitride on diamond. Subsequently, Ephesus developed an LED light for sports arenas that was installed at the historic War Memorial Arena at The Oncenter, home of the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.
In 2014, Ephesus developed a next-generation light suitable for large stadiums; the performance of the first prototype was tested successfully at SyracuseCoE headquarters in May. The first installation of the new light was the University of Phoenix Stadium, which hosted the Super Bowl in February 2015. That exposure led to a jump in sales. “Ever y new venue will be built with LED,” says Casper, adding that stadium and arena lighting is just one aspect of business. Ephesus has also developed lighting for industrial and commercial use and for broadcasting. And that’s just the beginning.
“The intellectual collisions that happen at SyracuseCoE spawn a lot of new ideas,” says Casper.
In October 2015, Ephesus Lighting was purchased by Eaton Corporation, a global technology leader in power management solutions.

Syracuse University and Nanjing University Partner to Form the International Center for Green Buildings and the Urban Environment



Syracuse University and Nanjing University Partner to Form the
International Center for Green Buildings and the Urban Environment

With joint interests in sustainability of the built environment, Syracuse University and Nanjing University (NJU) of the People’s Republic of China signed a cooperative agreement on Wednesday, Oct. 21, to establish the International Center for Green Buildings and the Urban Environment. The objective of the new partnership is to promote cooperation in environmental and energy research and education.

The agreement to establish the new center was signed by officials from the two universities at an event held at the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE). The ceremony began with Jensen Zhang, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of Syracuse University’s Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory, welcoming the guests to Syracuse University. Representing Syracuse University and signing the document were Elizabeth D. Liddy, interim vice chancellor and provost; Michael A. Speaks, dean of the School of Architecture; and Edward Bogucz, executive director of SyracuseCoE. NJU was represented by Yi Pan, vice president for research, and Wowo Ding, dean of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning.“This is a very important time for collaboration between the U.S. and China on research and practice in climate change,” said Sherburne Abbott, vice president for sustainability initiatives at Syracuse University. “Our two countries are responsible for 43 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions, and our leadership will be essential in organizing a new framework for reducing these emissions. We hope to bring together the faculty and students from our great universities to build on the relationship between clean energy, climate change and a sustainable future.”

“Some of the most vanguard work in the world in the area of Green Buildings is being conducted in China,” said Speaks. “We are excited to join their efforts in this partnership.”

The mission of the center is to advance interdisciplinary research and education through international collaboration and achieve broader impact of the two universities in the field of sustainability related to energy, environment and health in buildings and urban communities. It will be accomplished through specific objectives, including collaborative research projects, educational programs, joint outreach programs between academics and international industrial partners, and multidisciplinary faculty and student exchange. The partnership has already involved faculty and students from three different Syracuse University colleges and schools, including Architecture, Engineering and Computer Science and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, through interdisciplinary coursework, lectures and extension programs.

“We look forward to supporting this new center, and we should let the world know that Nanjing University’s office will be here on the second floor in the SyracuseCoE headquarters. To our new partners from Nanjing, I say ‘Welcome home,’ we look forward to working with you,” said Bogucz.

Both universities are internationally known for their contributions to the field of sustainability. The newly established center demonstrates their strong commitment to facilitate world-class international academic collaborations by working together to develop innovative new solutions for global challenges.


Leveraging Operational Data for Competitive Advantage: How a Data Infrastructure Strategy Enables Smart Manufacturing

As advances in instrumentation, mobility, production processes, and networks make data more prevalent within manufacturing, the integration and modeling of information from across these varied sources is becoming a critical differentiator for improving process productivity, quality, asset reliability, EHS and energy performance.  Although many technology providers have their own applications to access and store the related data, it is often only available to meet very specific and limited functional needs.  When data is recognized as a critical asset and managed as part of an infrastructure, however, it can become a key enabler to help transform the entire operations.  By making all process and production data available, and providing information in a context model based on functional needs, manufacturers can drive improved results against their critical business impacts.  This presentation will introduce the concept of a data infrastructure and show how a related strategy can help deliver operational intelligence to enable real-time action and decisions, provide a common platform for analysis, and establish standardized KPIs to measure and evaluate ongoing performance.


2a24f00Lance Fontaine

OSIsoft, Industry Principle, Metals and Mining

Knoxville, TN, USA

Lance Fountaine joined OSIsoft in October 2013 as an Industry Principal for the Metals and Mining industry following a 20 year career in the aluminum business with Alcoa Global Primary Metals.

In his last assignment before leaving Alcoa, Lance was accountable for the global development and deployment of common, best practice Manufacturing Applications, as well as the supporting computing infrastructure.  The renewed focus and resulting strategy led to the adoption of a SMART Manufacturing program across the global enterprise.  This program was based on the PI System as an information infrastructure to support efforts for continuous improvement, operational excellence and ongoing business sustainability.

After joining Alcoa as an electrical engineer in 1993, Lance held a number of positions within the company providing process control, manufacturing and IT services at the location, region and enterprise level.  In addition to his technicalexperience, Lance has also led efforts to consolidate IT and OT functions into a common organizational model supporting the current convergence in computing technology.

Lance was a Presidential Scholar at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY.  He graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree Electrical Engineering in 1991 and returned to get his Masters of Science in Electrical Power in 1993 as a research associate for Niagara Mohawk.

Outside of work, Lance spends a majority of his time with his wife and two sons.  He is very active in sports, and has also served as a coach for minor hockey, baseball and football in the Knoxville area.  In addition to sports, Lance and his family also enjoy academics and traveling.

This forum will be moderated by SyracuseCoE Executive Director, Ed Bogucz.


Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change

Hunger, food security, climate emissions and water shortages are anything but foolish topics. The way we systematically waste food in the face of these challenges, however, is one of humankind’s unintended but most foolish practices. During his presentation, John Mandyck will explore the environmental and social opportunities that we can create by simply wasting less food, as highlighted in his recently released book Food Foolish. Real solutions to feeding the world and preserving its resources can be unlocked in the context of climate mitigation.

 John Mandyck
Chief Sustainability Officer, UTC Building & Industrial Systems 

During his presentation John Mandyck serves as Chief Sustainability Officer for United Technologies Building & Industrial Systems, the world’s largest provider of technologies and services dedicated to making buildings and cities more energy efficient, safe and secure. With more than 100,000 employees and sales in nearly every country, UTC Building & Industrial Systems serves customers with innovative elevator, escalator, heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, fire safety and security solutions from well-known global brands such as Otis, Carrier, Kidde and Chubb. In addition to sustainability, he leads the company’s marketing and communications function.
A graduate of Syracuse University, John works with universities and organizations around the world to accelerate green building, such as the U.S. Green Building Council, which Carrier helped found and joined as the first member in 1993. John chairs the Corporate Advisory Board of the World Green Building Council, serves as chairman of the Board of Directors for the Urban Green Council in New York City and is a member of the Corporate Council for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University. He was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy to co-chair the Department of Energy’s Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee. He has presented energy efficiency, sustainability and future of food strategies to audiences around the world.

Translating University Research to the Marketplace

Successfully launching a new startup company is extremely difficult. Trying to do so by means of technology developed within a university research lab is even more challenging. While more than half of U.S. basic research is conducted at universities, very little is ever effectively translated into the market. In his presentation, Doug Buerkle, will discuss the unique challenges associated with commercializing university technology and discuss ways which communities can work more effectively to overcome existing hurdles. The presentation will conclude with a brief overview of NEXUS-NY, a seed accelerator chartered with catalyzing the commercialization of clean energy technologies discovered by New York researchers.

Presented by:

Doug Buerkle
Founding Executive Director, NEXUS-NY

SyracuseCoE Announces Three Winners of 2015 Innovation Fund Awards

SyracuseCoE—New York State’s Center of Excellence for Environmental and Energy Systems—today announced that three Central New York companies have received competitive awards totaling $30,000 from the Center’s Innovation Fund. The award-winning companies and their projects are:

  • LC Drives of Potsdam, for a project to develop a key manufacturing process for a newly designed wind turbine generator. This wind turbine generator will help bring down the cost of energy from wind power.
  • Solstice Power, of Syracuse, for to support the development of The Hybrid System, a renewable, low cost, on-site, combined heat and power solar technology, which will generate three times the electrical energy of traditional fixed, mounted flat-panel solar systems.
  • NuClimate Air Quality Systems, of East Syracuse, to support independent testing and final product revisions for new a Vertical Stack Induction/Fan Coil Unit. This unit will be a direct replacement for current Vertical Stack Fan Coil Units in the light commercial and commercial market place and will consume no more than 25% of the energy of current products.

The SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund is supported by funding from SyracuseCoE’s Partner Program; it is designed to support Partners’ efforts to bridge barriers to the commercialization of potentially transformative innovations in energy and environmental systems. 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; and Water Resources.

To date, the Innovation Fund has provided $164,000 to nine yracuseCoE Partner firms for projects to develop innovative products and services and promote their commercialization.

“The Innovation Fund Awards are a shining example of the creativity and strength of Central New York’s regional cluster of environmental and energy firms,” said Ed Bogucz, SyracuseCoE executive director. “The awards, competitively awarded based on technical merit and commercialization potential, have tremendous potential to strengthen each company and the region.”

“SyracuseCoE Partners benefit from a vibrant innovation ecosystem that supports the acceleration of research and technology development in energy and environmental systems,” said Patrick Jackson, Chair of the SyracuseCoE Industry Partners Council. “The Innovation Fund is a key element of the support available to researchers and companies throughout Central New York, and we look forward to the outcomes associated with these excellent projects.”

The next round of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program Innovation Fund will open in August of 2015. Eligibility for awards is extended to members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program. Proposals may include collaborations with non-Partner Program firms and academic partners; however, proposals must be submitted and led by members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program.

For more information about the SyracuseCoE Partner Program, visit

Using Less Energy by Daylighting, While Maintaining User Comfort and Productivity

Using Less Energy by Daylighting, While Maintaining User Comfort and Productivity

SyracuseCoE is collaborating with Siemens to compare two different technologies for controlling the amount of daylight that enters a room: “smart” glass that can change tint via “electrochromic” technologies, and automated window blinds.  The project will study the interactions between daylighting, occupant comfort, and energy used for lighting, heating, and cooling.

Researchers from Syracuse University, Siemens and SyracuseCoE will develop Continue Reading

The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function

Groundbreaking Study Conducted at SyracuseCoE Discovers Better Air Quality Improves Decision-Making by Knowledge Workers

In a pioneering study conducted at SyracuseCoE by collaborators from Harvard University, Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University, improved indoor environmental quality was found to double scores of knowledge workers on cognitive function tests. The study was conducted in SyracuseCoE’s unique Total Indoor Environmental Quality Lab, which was configured to conduct a double-blind study of 24 office workers who experienced indoor air quality conditions found in conventional buildings, green buildings, and green buildings with enhanced ventilation.

The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function” study found that participants’ cognitive performance scores averaged 101 percent higher in green building environments with enhanced ventilation compared to a conventional building environment.

Researchers measured cognitive function for nine functional domains, including basic, applied and focused activity levels; task orientation; crisis response; information seeking; information usage; breadth of approach; and strategy. The largest improvements in cognitive function test scores was found in the areas of crisis response, information usage and strategy.

  • Crisis response scores were 97 percent higher for the green environment and 131 percent higher for the green environment with enhanced ventilation and lower carbon dioxide levels compared to the conventional environment.
  • Information usage scores for green and enhanced green environments were 172 and 299 percent higher than in the conventional environment, respectively.
  • For strategy, green and enhanced green scores were 183 and 288 percent higher than the conventional environment.

A follow-up study was published last month that found that doubling the ventilation rate in typical office buildings can be reached at an estimated annual energy cost of between $14 and $40 per person, resulting in as much as a $6,500 equivalent in improved productivity per person per year. When energy-efficient technologies are utilized, the study found the energy costs to be even lower, with a minimized environmental impact of approximately 0.03 additional cars on the road per building.

The full studies are available at and


SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund Call For Proposals

SyracuseCoE invites proposals from current Partners to its Innovation Fund for projects up to $10,000. The Innovation Fund is supported with funding from SyracuseCoE Partners 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

Award Information 

Type of Award: Fixed cost agreement – milestone based

Total 2015 Funds Available: $90,000

Funding Rounds in 2015: 2

Anticipated Number of Awards:  Up to total of 9 awards in 2015

Maximum Award: $10,000

Project Duration: Up to nine months

Eligibility Information 

Eligibility for awards is extended to all current members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program. Proposals may include collaborations with non-Partner Program firms and academic partners; however, proposals must be submitted and led by members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program.

Budget, Payment, and Match Requirements

Applicants must include a budget signed by an authorized company official, a template for which is provided below. Matching funds are encouraged as either cash or in-kind; while not required, the strength of a proposed match is included among selection criteria. Funding from federal, state, and foundation sources may be used to support a portion of matching funds; awards administered by SyracuseCoE may not be used as match. Applications must include a budget that clearly defines uses of funds, as well as verifiable sources of match, if included. Proposals must also include milestones for payment of requested funds.

Application Information and Timeline 

Applications may be submitted online – see “Application” link at top of page – and must include an uploaded project narrative and a signed budget; template documents are provided below.

Two rounds of funding are expected in 2015, with deadlines as follow:

Round 1 deadline: April 15, 2015

Round 2 deadline: October 1, 2015

Proposals will be reviewed based on the following selection criteria:

  • Technical merit, based on sound engineering and/or scientific principles
  • Impact in SyracuseCoE areas of focus
  • Extent to which the proposed technology or process is innovative and has the potential to advance the state-of-the-art
  • Extent to which proposal moves technology toward commercialization
  • Expected economic outcomes, , such as potential revenue, jobs created/retained, etc.
  • Clearly articulated project timeline, including appropriate milestones
  • Justified and reasonable budget plan, including strength of proposed match, if applicable
  • Qualifications and strength of project team

After an initial review by staff, selected applicants will be invited to participate in a proposal pitch to a panel of judges, which may include members of the SyracuseCoE Industry Partners Council, SyracuseCoE staff and others. Funding decisions may be expected shortly thereafter.

In all cases, the review process will be conducted under the oversight of the Executive Director of SyracuseCoE with staff support.


Invoices will be submitted upon completion of pre-approved milestones. A progress report must accompany each invoice.

Reporting Requirements 

Progress reports to be submitted with invoices will be reviewed and approved by SyracuseCoE staff prior to payment. Award recipients will be surveyed annually by SyracuseCoE staff for information on outcomes related to the project.

Program Contact

Tammy Rosanio

Assoc. Director for Partner Programs, SyracuseCoE


Continue Reading

Ephesus Lighting the Super Bowl

Super Bowl victory for EDA innovation accelerator: Regional cluster shines with game-changing LED lights

This year’s Super Bowl featured an epic game on the field, a stunning halftime performance, and—high in the rafters—a pioneering new lighting system that was developed with assistance from an EDA award for regional cluster development.

The next-generation LED lights that lit Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium were developed by Ephesus Lighting, of Syracuse, NY. Ephesus developed its new lights specifically for outdoor stadium sport venues with partnership support from the Advanced Manufacturing in Thermal and Environmental Controls (AM-TEC) program. AM-TEC was awarded EDA funding under the 2012 Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge; it supports an emerging industry cluster in New York’s CenterState region.

Ephesus Lighting is a shining example of the AM-TEC project’s vision for fueling growth and jobs in the region. The firm’s stadium lights achieve dramatic reductions in energy and maintenance costs, and improve experiences for athletes and spectators. And they’re raising the bar for high-quality sports lighting demanded by professional and collegiate venues.

In 2010, company founders Joe and Amy Casper, created a company that envisioned translating their combined expertise in semiconductor design and production to develop new energy-efficient technologies. That vision resulted in a new company that targeted high-performance LED lighting. They tapped a broad array of resources available to start-up companies in New York State, including business incubation, research and development collaborations with area universities, and other services to develop, test and commercialize their innovative, energy efficient lighting products. In partnership with AM-TEC project partners led by the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE), Ephesus Lighting demonstrated the first outdoor stadium prototype LED fixture using the SyracuseCoE headquarters facility as the testbed.

To date, Ephesus lights have been installed at more than 100 sports venues across the U.S. and Canada. At University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, 312 Ephesus fixtures replaced 753 metal-halide lamps, using 75 percent less energy and providing full illumination instantly, in contrast to the 20-minute warm-up period required by metal-halide lamps.

With the support of EDA and others, Ephesus Lighting and its collaborators in New York’s AM-TEC cluster have demonstrated the benefits of leveraging regional assets and strengths, addressing new markets, and accelerating development of innovative, game-changing products. For more information about Ephesus Lighting, visit To learn more about the AM-TEC regional cluster project, visit

Central to SyracuseCoE’s mission, vision, and purpose, the SyracuseCoE Innovation Ecosystem encourages and funds collaborative projects that develop new environmental and energy systems products and services. Focusing on clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality, and water resources, these projects improve built and natural environments—the places in which we live, work, learn, and play. Grants are offered for targeted research, demonstration, and commercialization. In addition, SyracuseCoE outreach activities educate the public and the workforce—a crucial aspect of the green and clean technology sector.

SyracuseCoE members leverage world-class R&D facilities, including the SyracuseCoE headquarters, the Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory (BEES Lab) at Syracuse University, bio-fuels facilities at SUNY-ESF, full-scale wind turbine testing operations at Clarkson University, and more.


ARPA-E Awards $3.2 to Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE Researchers for ‘Personal Air-Conditioning’

Cool Technology: ARPA-E awards $3.2 to Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE researchers for ‘personal air-conditioning’

Syracuse University was recently awarded a $3.2 million grant from the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop innovative new technologies that regulate temperatures for each person inside an office building, rather than heating or cooling the whole building itself.

SyracuseCoE scientists aided the project team in the development of the proposal and will be key players in the execution of the research, including bringing the technolog
y to market.

Syracuse University’s Professor H. Ezzat Khalifa will lead the team of researchers to develop a near-range micro-environmental control system. The system will provide heating and cooling via a box about the size of an old desktop computer. A high-efficiency micro vapor compression system will utilize an evaporator embedded in a phase-change material. This material will store the heating or cooling produced by the micro vapor compression system at night, releasing it as a breeze to make occupants more comfortable during the day.

“This award allows us to develop a transformative technology that could alter the way we approach heating and cooling buildings.” says Dr. Khalifa, NYSTAR Distinguished Professor, Department Chair of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University. “Ultimately this system will create a much more affordable and energy efficient way to ensure individual occupant comfort.”

In addition to researchers at Syracuse University and SyracuseCoE, the project includes United Technologies Research Center, Air Innovations, Bush Technical LLC and Cornell University. Substantial financial contributions have also been given by Syracuse University, the partners, ESD (Empire State Development) and NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority).

Prof. Khalifa and colleagues join the country’s top scientists and engineers in advancing ARPA-E’s mission of developing transformative energy technologies that enhance the economic and energy security of the United States. ARPA-E’s Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities (DELTA) program plans to provide $30 million to support 11 project teams in developing technologies that can regulate temperatures focused on a building’s occupants and not the overall building.

The team hopes to create an affordable system that can condition only the space immediately surrounding an individual user rather than all of the space in an office, saving a great deal of energy. Such an innovation could revolutionize the way offices are heated and cooled.

Near Westside Initiative Receives Prestigious Award from USGBC

The Near Westside, Syracuse, NY.
The Near Westside, Syracuse, NY.

The Near Westside Initiative, a not-for-profit organization housed in Syracuse University’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Mayor Richard M. Daley Legacy Award for Global Leadership in Creating Sustainable Cities from the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC). The award was presented during the USGBC’s annual Greenbuild conference in New Orleans on Thursday, Oct. 23.

The bi-annual award celebrates the NWSI’s position at the forefront of sustainability in the built environment, and is named for former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who during his tenure made Chicago one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the nation. Daley was the first recipient of the award in 2010.

“The stunning work that has been done by the NWSI board and leadership, community partners, Syracuse University, business community members and funders is an excellent representation of the leadership Mayor Daley inspired in Chicago and in communities around the world,” says Richard Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of the USGBC. “The NWSI’s commitment to community engagement, creative placemaking and green property and infrastructure development—including numerous LEED buildings that are part of the district—is exactly the kind of approach we want to celebrate and replicate in communities around the world.”

“It is gratifying and humbling to have a small neighborhood in Syracuse, New York, win this award for global leadership in sustainability from the U.S. Green Building Council,” says Marilyn Higgins, Syracuse University vice president for community engagement and economic development. “Neighborhood residents welcomed Syracuse University faculty and students, who, along with designers and researchers from the Syracuse Center of Excellence, made green innovation a driving force in the revitalization of the Near West Side.”

Established by Syracuse University and the Gifford Foundation in 2006, the NSWI combines art, technology and innovation with neighborhood values and culture as a pathway to the revitalization of Syracuse’s historic Near West Side neighborhood. “When I first heard about the NWSI, I was super excited,” says Carole Horan, vice chair of the NWSI board of directors and a neighborhood resident. “I could see that there would be some positive changes happening. I thought, ‘I am living in the right place at the right time.’”

“The NWSI was formed to holistically revitalize the Near West Side of Syracuse, to create a more vibrant and sustainable community for the folks who have lived here for generations, as well as families looking to relocate to Syracuse,” says NWSI Director Maarten Jacobs.

The NWSI leverages the resources of Syracuse University, New York State, the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, private foundations, businesses, not-for-profit corporations and neighborhood residents to achieve its goals. Since 2006, $74 million in new capital investment has been made in the neighborhood, with 90 projects comprising green buildings and infrastructure, arts and culture, community-building events and community health and fitness completed or underway in a 0.3 square-mile area. Three hundred and eight new jobs have been created in the neighborhood over the past eight years.

The NWSI created the Syracuse Art, Literacy, Technology (SALT) District of the Near Westside as a creative community to foster economic development, jobs and stability for the neighborhood and rich academic experiences for Syracuse University students. This initiative brings together faculty and students with community activists and neighborhood residents on creative projects.

New York State’s Center of Excellence at Syracuse University (SyracuseCoE) has played a pivotal role on the Near West Side. “Near Westside residents have helped our partners learn invaluable lessons about bringing innovations from the lab to real projects,” says Edward Bogucz, SyracuseCoE executive director. “Revitalization of buildings and infrastructure in distressed neighborhoods is a critical challenge for cities across the country and around the world. Accomplishments in the Near West Side are sure to help inform similar efforts in many other communities.”

The SALT District was the first existing neighborhood in the country to earn certification under the LEED® for Neighborhood Development rating system. To date, green accomplishments in the neighborhood include: eight new or renovated buildings that have earned LEED® ratings; 14 installations of green infrastructure for stormwater management; more than 50 homes either built or rehabilitated; and more than 30 other homes that received investments to improve energy efficiency. Projects including the From the Ground Up competition—which constructed three innovative green homes in partnership with the SyracuseCoE and Home HeadQuarters (HHQ)—have earned international recognition.

“Green homes, rain gardens and permaculture are now synonymous with the SALT District’s brand as a place where art and green technology unite with neighborhood values and culture,” says Higgins. “Sustainability is built into the green basketball courts that were made possible by Onondaga County and the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation; St. Lucy’s community garden; and the solar panels that power WCNY.”

“The Near West Side Initiative is a great example of how the public and private sectors can team up with residents to create an excellent project,” says Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. “The initiative lifts up one of our most deserving areas and applies sustainable solutions. We appreciate their commitment to our Save the Rain program and congratulate them on this prestigious honor.”

Among the vast and varied NWSI projects throughout the Near West Side:

• The Lincoln Supply Building, an abandoned commercial warehouse, was rehabilitated and is the first mid-rise multifamily building in the Upstate New York to earn a LEED® Platinum certification. The building now houses La Casita Cultural Center, a project of Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and residential space.

• WCNY, Central New York’s public broadcasting station, relocated from the Syracuse suburbs into a state-of-the-art broadcast and education center in a rehabilitated warehouse in the Near West Side neighborhood. It is the first green public broadcasting facility in the country.

• Salt Works (, is a social enterprise based on the Near West Side that uses reclaimed timbers from a rehabilitated warehouse to make furniture and put people to work. GreenTrain, a program to give local residents skills in green contracting, has also been held in the neighborhood. Fifty-seven residents have been trained and 87 percent have been placed in full-time jobs.

• The neighborhood has served as a test bed for Onondaga County’s Save the Rain program.

• Projects such as 601 Tully, the SaltQuarters artist in residence program and a community garden have brought art and culture into the neighborhood and built community.

“The NWSI really wanted to work with the neighborhood in making a difference,” says Horan. “That to me was the epitome of success—working with the neighborhood and not doing it for the neighborhood.”

“The Near Westside Initiative Board of Directors particularly appreciates the leadership of Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud, Syracuse University Community Engagement and Economic Development Vice President Marilyn Higgins, Syracuse Center of Excellence Director Ed Bogucz, Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney, Home HeadQuarters Director Kerry Quaglia and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner in making this achievement possible,” says NWSI Board of Directors Chair Paul Nojaim.

U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Perez Visits SyracuseCoE

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez talks "Ready to Work" grants.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez talks “Ready to Work” grants.

SyracuseCoE’s initiative to strengthen Central New York¹s industry cluster in advanced manufacturing of thermal and environmental control products enjoyed national attention on Wednesday when U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez visited The Fulton Companies and SyracuseCoE.

At Fulton Companies, Secretary Perez toured the plant and heard how 38 of their workers to date have benefited from training provided by SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and MACNY through the AM-TEC program with funding from the Department of Labor. The Watertown Daily Times captured the spirit of the visit in a 2-minute video, below.

At SyracuseCoE, Secretary Perez met with executives from ICM Controls, NuClimate Air Quality Systems, and Ephesus Lighting, and he participated in a roundtable moderated by CenterState CEO that included leaders of the Central New York business and educational communities. Participants gained valuable insights into national priorities and opportunities for regional initiatives.

Secretary Perez used his visit to CNY to announce the availability of approximately $150 million in grants through the new Ready to Work Partnership grant competition. Projects selected for funding in will support and scale innovative partnerships between employers, nonprofit organizations and America’s public workforce system to build a pipeline of talented U.S. workers and help those experiencing long-term unemployment gain access to employment services that provide opportunities to return to work in middle- and high-skill jobs; see

NYPA Establishes Collaborative of Energy Experts to Promote Emerging Technologies to Expand NY’s Energy Economy

EEINC-updatedOn February 6, 2014, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) launched The Energy Efficiency Innovation Collaborative (EE-INC), a public-private collective of energy industry leaders working to improve energy efficiency in New York State buildings and accelerate economic growth in burgeoning technologies and statewide businesses. NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer Gil Quiniones anticipates that expanding energy efficiency offerings to New York State businesses will ultimately lead to the creation of additional jobs.

Through a Request for Information (RFI), the EE-INC is seeking unprecedented commercial energy efficiency technologies to be funded by NYPA, which has plans to finance more than $800 million in energy efficiency projects over the next several years in support of Governor Cuomo’s Build Smart NY program. The deadline in the RFI process is scheduled for March 25, 2014.

Other members of the collaborative include the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE), the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). NYPA will also work with New York’s Empire State Development agency to visit EE-INC with Start-Up NY.

For more information on EE-INC and the RFI process, please visit



SyracuseCoE Hosts Stakeholders Meeting with Governor Cuomo’s Energy Leadership Team

On December 9th, SyracuseCoE facilitated a meeting of Governor Cuomo’s energy leadership team and principal stakeholders from CNY manufacturing, engineering, and design firms to discuss opportunities to accelerate the adoption of clean energy technologies in New York State through public-private partnerships. Participants examined specific market barriers and recommendations that would accelerate adoption of heat and power (CHP) systems and energy-efficient retrofits statewide.

Energy Team members in attendance included NYS Chairman of Energy and Finance and Chairman of NYSERDA, Richard Kauffman; Commissioner of NYS Public Service Commission, Gregg Sayre; Senior Advisor to the Chairman of Energy and Finance, Greg Hale; Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning for NYPA, Robert F. Lurie; NYSERDA Director of Energy Analysis, John G. Williams; and Chief of Staff to the Chairman of Energy and Finance for NYS, Kate Burson. Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud provided opening remarks.

This is the second time the energy leadership team has convened in Syracuse, following a panel discussion with SyracuseCoE Partners at the SyracuseCoE Symposium in October 2013.

New York’s New Energy Leaders Debut at SyracuseCoE Symposium

Video for the Plenary Panel can be found here.

COE Syracuse Center of Excellence 13th Annual Symposium 2013 Urban Reinvention and Resilience
COE Syracuse Center of Excellence 13th Annual Symposium 2013 Urban Reinvention and Resilience

The SyracuseCoE Annual Symposium features the best and latest innovations in energy efficiency and indoor environmental air quality, among other topics.

This year, symposium highlights included a statewide first: the three newest leaders of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s energy team appeared together for a discussion of the state’s emerging clean energy economy. Symposium attendees left with renewed optimism for collaboration and progress in key financial, regulatory and programmatic areas.

The trio—Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance for New York and chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); John Rhodes, president and CEO of NYSERDA; and Audrey Zibelman, chair of the New York State Public Service Commission—was appointed over the past year by Governor Cuomo to lead his ambitious plans to scale up clean energy and enhance New York’s competitiveness.

The three are working together and with the rest of the NYS energy leadership team, on strategies and policies to expand innovation in energy to boost the state’s clean energy economy and stimulate economic activity, while ensuring an affordable and reliable energy system.

“Governor Cuomo is committed to clean energy and New York has long been a leader in clean energy, but we want to do more,” Kauffman told the symposium participants.

He encouraged the stakeholders to communicate with the state regarding existing market barriers, so they can determine what government tools may alleviate challenges and allow for private-sector forces to play a more significant role in the clean energy marketplace. “We’ve got to hear from market participants,” Kauffman said. “We want to hear what’s going on in the market—what’s working, what’s not.”

Louis Schick, a partner with NewWorld Capital Group, valued the invitation to offer ideas and help accelerate adoption of energy efficiency measures.

“It has been easy to become jaded and cynical about change and progress generally. Specifically, the gap between promise and progress in New York has traditionally been wide,” Schick said. “The state’s new top energy leaders have shown the will, courage and creativity in getting together, breaking traditional ‘fief’ boundaries and addressing stubborn challenges. I am grateful for their time, consideration and optimism.”

Another industry leader at the event, Kevin LaMontagne, chief financial officer at Fulton Companies, also found the discussion encouraging for increased collaboration between government and business leaders.

“It was wonderful to hear the team’s commitment to working together to transform energy policy in New York,” said LaMontagne. “I was happy to see the team’s receptiveness to feedback and input from Central New York’s vibrant clean tech sector.”

The dialogue and perspectives will also help inform the work of the SyracuseCoE, as it seeks to propel research, development and education in environmental and energy innovations with its partners.

“It was a great privilege to hear from Governor Cuomo’s newest energy leaders at the SyracuseCoE Symposium this year,” said Sherburne B. Abbott, vice president for Sustainability Initiatives and University Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy at Syracuse University. “We appreciated their candor and openness, and we look forward to working together to engage our partners in emerging statewide priorities and opportunities.”

During the symposium, Kauffman, Rhodes and Zibelman participated in a plenary panel moderated by Abbott on Oct. 21 at the Oncenter in downtown Syracuse. The session was sponsored by the New York Power Authority.

“Working in policy in New York is especially rewarding because it’s so quick that we’re able to turn policy ideas into real actions,” said Jill Anderson, NYPA chief of staff and director of energy policy. “You can actually see changes in our industry.”

Kauffman, Rhodes and Zibelman discussed Governor Cuomo’s vision for a new clean energy economy and such initiatives as the proposed “Green Bank” that will help attract private capital to accelerate clean energy projects.

“This state has all of the key ingredients to seize the opportunity: smart energy and environmental policies, outstanding academic institutions, tremendous R &D assets, a robust capital marketplace, big Fortune 500 companies in the market and smaller entrepreneurs entering the market,” said Rhodes, adding that the governor is committed to seizing this opportunity.

“It’s also clear more needs to be done to create an environment where commercialization of clean energy technology can flourish in this state,” Rhodes said.

The establishment of the Green Bank is helping in that area. “The most important metric for the Green Bank will be the investments that it enables in clean energy projects,” Rhodes said. “The purpose of the Green Bank is to take Green Bank funds and leverage them with funds from other entities, principally the private sector, so you get a multiplier there. And because the monies go out of the Green Bank and come back, they then can go out again.”

As chair of the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates the state’s electric, gas, steam, telecommunications and water utilities, Zibelman addressed how she sees the role of the PSC in driving innovation and meeting demand. She noted how, as with any system, the electricity system will only work at its best when it works together and works efficiently and is aligned throughout the system.

“We’re at a point in time where we’re actually changing and fundamentally rethinking this system,” Zibelman said. That includes thinking about the customer’s needs as an active part of the system, identifying and removing barriers in market entry and investing in infrastructure.

“New York is in a fabulous position to have both national and international leadership. We certainly have the brains and we certainly have the energy—what you’re seeing is an opportunity to turn this into a true benefit to the state,” Zibelman said.

Kauffman also spoke about several principles that are driving changes in the state’s overall strategy in rethinking energy policies, including making change happen faster, encouraging innovation to achieve better value and choice for customers, leveraging ratepayer funds beyond grants and subsidies to maximize the benefit and enabling markets to work better. “We know that market forces are powerful and by harnessing them we can do more,” he said.

Ed Bogucz, executive director of SyracuseCoE, welcomed the participation of Governor Cuomo’s new energy leaders at the symposium for their first joint appearance. “We applaud their fresh ideas and their keen interest in connecting with New York firms and institutions that are creating innovations in clean energy and environmental systems,” Bogucz said.

The energy leaders brought insights that will help shape the vision for New York’s energy future. “The state is clearly on a path that is leading policy and programs nationally,” said Jim Fox, CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors of O’Brien & Gere. “Central New York’s cluster of manufacturing, design and construction firms is extremely well positioned to develop innovative enabling technologies and deploy integrated solutions here and across the country.”

The SyracuseCoE is New York State’s Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems. Its 2013 Annual Symposium, held Oct. 21-22, attracted more than 400 attendees—including industry practitioners, state and local officials, university faculty and students, and citizens—from throughout New York, more than 30 communities across the United States, and internationally.

This year’s symposium addressed “Urban Reinvention and Resilience,” including presentations on innovations to improve energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality in buildings, construction materials management, urban stormwater management using green infrastructure and community resilience through district energy systems.

SyracuseCoE Recognized in Green Travel Feature

Syracuse Center of Excellence Recognized in Green Travel Feature
TravelNerd highlights the organization’s commitment to environmental and energy innovations

San Francisco, CA (July 25, 2013) – TravelNerd, the travel division of consumer finance website NerdWallet, has recognized the Syracuse Center of Excellence for its work in promoting the creation of environmental and energy technologies in an article that rated Syracuse, N.Y. as one of the top destinations for green travel.

More and more Americans are considering environmental impact when making their travel plans, looking for greener ways to explore the world. To find the top U.S. destinations for green travel options,

TravelNerd searched for cities that have green initiatives as well as environmentally friendly activities and accommodations. Syracuse was chosen for the green initiatives of the city and its hotels and for the sustainability efforts of area organizations such as the Syracuse Center of Excellence.

The Syracuse Center of Excellence helps accelerate environmental and energy innovations in an effort to create sustainable built and urban environments. The Syracuse COE conducts groundbreaking research in green and clean technologies, develops industry collaborations, and creates sustainable community solutions. The organization works with more than 200 companies and institutes to address challenges and innovations in clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality, and water resources. It also hosts many research and technology forums on academic and industry trends and ideas.

“The Syracuse Center of Excellence is a hub, an incubator of sorts for green and clean technology,” said NerdWallet analyst Annie Wang. “With the work of organizations such as Syracuse COE, it’s clear why Syracuse calls itself the Emerald City.”

Lexington, Ky. and Huntsville, Ala. were also featured on the list. Read the full article here.

For more information about NerdWallet, visit


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SyracuseCoE CSCS Wins Awards for 3rd Annual Spring Greening Conference

PEB Spring Greening Awards 2013
PEB Spring Greening Awards 2013

The SyracuseCoE Center for Sustainable Community Solutions (SyracuseCoE CSCS) recently received three awards for leading the 3rd Annual Spring Greening teacher conference in April. SyracuseCoE CSCS was honored to receive the following awards community groups in Central New York:

  • The Professional Development Award from the CNY STEM Hub and Partners for Education and Business. Partners for Education and Business serves as the CNY STEM Hub Steward, ensuring an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
  • GreeningUSA’s “Greening Our Community Advocacy Award” in the education category. GreeningUSA advocates for sustainable communities to the benefit of local economies and environments.
  • The “Sign of Sustainability” Award from Sustainable Tompkins, a community-based organization whose mission is to promote the long-term well-being of our region by integrating social equity, economic vitality, ecological stewardship, and shared responsibility.

The Spring Greening teacher conference provides teachers in the CNY region and beyond with the resources, training, and connections necessary to incorporate environmental, sustainability, and related STEM lessons into their current curriculum. This year’s event attended by 35 teachers from 23 schools in 17 different districts. The event drew 62 attendees in total, including professionals from local community organizations. As a result of training held at the conference, 42 rain barrel or compost tumbler demonstration projects will be established at schools.

A special thanks goes out to project partners GreeningUSA, Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, Onondaga Community College, and Partners for Education and Business. Funding for this program was provided by the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute through a grant from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.


11th Annual NYS Green Building Conference

March 11-12, 2013

Join us in Syracuse at the new Gateway Center on the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus and at the Oncenter Conference Complex for the 11th Annual New York State Green Building Conference hosted by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council New York Upstate Chapter and the SyracuseCoE.

Learn more about the conference here.

Professor H. Ezzat Khalifa Leads TIEQ Lab Collaboration

Although indoor environmental quality experts have found ways to vastly improve the quality of individual closed office spaces, balancing indoor environmental interactions in open office space or semi-open cubicles remains an engineering challenge.
“It’s very easy to provide individualized environmental control when everyone is in a private office. It’s a big, huge engineering challenge to try to do the same thing when you’ve got a number of open work stations in the same room,” says H. Ezzat Khalifa, founding director of the multi-institutional STAR Center for Environmental Quality Systems led by Syracuse University, where he is also the NYSTAR Distinguished Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering.
Finding solutions to this challenge was the impetus behind the STAR Center’s funding and support of the Willis H. Carrier Total Indoor Environmental Control (TIEQ) Lab at SyracuseCoE headquarters. The Carrier TIEQ Lab consists of two identical office spaces, each outfitted with 12 open cubicle-style workstations. In one room, there are Personalized Environmental Control Systems (PECS) in each cubicle that allow occupants to control the conditions in their own cubicle—including temperature, percentage of fresh air circulated, humidity and lighting. In the other room those factors are regulated by a central control.
“Research demonstrates that when people have the ability to control their own environment, they’re more comfortable and thus, more productive,” says Khalifa. Most of those studies, however, examine only one factor at a time, such as temperature, ventilation, or lighting. The Carrier TIEQ Lab is a one-of-a-kind research facility that allows Khalifa and other researchers to study numerous indoor environmental control parameters—and their interactions—at once.
Most office buildings are controlled in a one-size-fits-all-fashion from a central control, Khalifa explains. However, individuals have varying sensitivities to temperature. Allowing individuals to control the temperature of their own environment may provide them with greater comfort, but typically results in higher energy costs, particularly when spaces with different environmental demands are adjacent.
Khalifa, along with Alan Hedge, professor of design and environmental analysis at Cornell University, is studying how to provide individual environmental control to improve worker productivity without increasing energy consumption, and preferably, while decreasing it. “We are looking to see if people change their selections if they know the cost associated with the adjustments they make,” he says.
While the Carrier TIEQ Lab provides a wonderful controlled environment for scientific research, Khalifa is also studying how PECS stimulate productivity in a real office environment, using King + King Architects in Syracuse as a “living lab.”
“Their employees work in a large, open space, so it is a perfect environment to study to understand energy consumption and individual comfort in a real-world setting,” Khalifa says.
The firm’s renovated offices transformed a 100-year-old industrial building into an energy-efficient workspace, earning a LEED® Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
With funding from SyracuseCoE, Khalifa and visiting professor Arsen Melikov, a leading researcher from the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy in Denmark, installed PECS identical to those in the Carrier TIEQ Lab at 38 workstations at King + King and are monitoring worker satisfaction over an extended period of time.