Funding Opportunity Announcement – 2022 Faculty Fellows

Research & Technology seed funding is available through the 2022 SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program – Deadline extended to January 21st

Faculty from Syracuse University and SyracuseCoE Partner institutions – SUNY ESF and SUNY Oswego – are invited to submit proposals for innovative research and development efforts in clean and renewable energy, energy-efficiency & healthy buildings and water resources. This funding is intended to catalyze externally-sponsored projects and to contribute to economic and workforce development of New York State businesses. 

Up to $15,000 per award is available for projects without industry collaboration. Up to $25,000 per award is available for projects that engage a New York State company seeking technology, intellectual property, or technoeconomic expertise. SyracuseCoE intends to make multiple awards under the announcement. Awards will total approximately $100,000 in this round. Funding is expected to be available starting in February 2022. 

Proposals should address how the use of the Faculty Fellow seed funding could lead to a significant “next step” in research and technology development, strengthen New York industry engagement and help establish SyracuseCoE and its Partner institutions as thought leaders in the targeted area. 

The 2022 Faculty Fellows Program is open to faculty members who hold full-time appointments at SyracuseCoE Academic Partner institutions: Syracuse University, SUNY-ESF, and SUNY Oswego. Tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track faculty are eligible. SyracuseCoE welcomes proposals that engage multiple faculty members, including cross-campus teams from multiple departments, colleges, and/or institutions. Teams are encouraged, but not required, to include non-university participants. However, funds may be disbursed only to academic institutions.  

The deadline for proposals is 11:59 pm, January 21, 2022. Read the full announcement and how to submit your proposal on the SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows webpage. 

Experts Agree on Aerosol Transmission of COVID-19: How Can Schools Manage Indoor Air to Stop the Spread? A SyracuseCoE Research & Technology Forum

A new school year is beginning soon. Understanding the ventilation and air quality of indoor spaces is critically important.

With strong recommendations from 239 scientists from 32 countries, including faculty from Syracuse University, the World Health Organization is now acknowledging the evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through aerosol droplets. Viral particles become airborne when people sneeze, cough, sing, talk or breath.

As students return to campuses and classrooms, how can faculty, teachers and building managers optimize ventilation and filtration strategies to help keep students and faculty healthy? From improved ventilation modifications, to HVAC and air filtration, to physical modification of spaces, we will be discussing the current knowledge of how to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in indoor environments.

Confirmed speakers include:

Cliff I. Davidson, Thomas C. and Colleen L. Wilmot Professor of Engineering, Environmental Engineering Program Director of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University

Cliff Davidson is the Thomas and Colleen Wilmot Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY. He also serves as Director of Environmental Engineering Programs, and Director of the Center for Sustainable Engineering. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering Science from California Institute of Technology. Following his PhD, he joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty where he stayed for 33 years in the Department of Civil Engineering (currently Civil and Environmental Engineering) and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. He moved to Syracuse University in 2010.

Davidson’s research background is in the area of air quality, especially aerosol interaction with surfaces, including surfaces of fibers in a face mask or filter. He has also worked on environmental sustainability in other areas, such as the design of sustainable cities, the effectiveness of green roofs in reducing urban stormwater runoff, educational innovations for teaching sustainable engineering, and identifying the preferences of individuals and organizations for strategies to adapt to climate change. He has published over 130 papers in refereed journals and another 100 papers in peer-reviewed conference proceedings and book chapters. He has served on the editorial boards of four scientific journals, and is a Fellow in three national organizations. He has recently been chosen as the 2021-2022 Distinguished Lecturer by the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors.

Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University and Visiting Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Nanjing University, China

Dr. Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang is Professor and Director of Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University (SU), New York, USA, and a Visiting Professor and Chief Researcher of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Nanjing University, China. He received his Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked at National Research Council of Canada for 8 years before he joined SU.

Dr. Zhang is a co-leader of the SU-wide research cluster in Energy and Environment that promotes and coordinates multi-disciplinary research on the campus. He is an expert in room air and contaminant distribution, material emissions, air purification, building enclosure performance, and combined heat, air, moisture and pollutant simulations (CHAMPS) for integrative design and intelligent controls of buildings. He has authored/co-authored over 200 technical papers and 3 American national standards. He is Associate Editor of Journal of Science and Technology for the Built Environment (STBE, formerly ASHRAE HVAC&R Research Journal) and The International Journal of Ventilation, and serves as a Member of the Editorial Boards of Building Simulations—an international Journal, International Journal of High-Rise Buildings, and the International Journal of Architectural Frontier Research. He is Fellow of ISIAQ and ASHRAE, and current Chairman of the International Association of Building Physics.

Mike Wetzel, PE, President & CEO, Air Innovations

Michael Wetzel is President and CEO of Air Innovations, a SyracuseCoE Partner firm that specializes in the design and manufacture of environmental control systems. Wetzel is a graduate of Clarkson University where he received a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and is the holder of seven US patents.

Prior to Air Innovations, Wetzel was based in Strasbourg, France for four years working for a multinational company building cleanrooms in Europe and the Mideast. Previously he worked stateside as an engineering manager in the HVAC construction industry.

Brendan Hall, PE, BEMP, LEED AP

Brendan Hall is a Senior Engineer and General Mechanical Section Manager with CHA Consulting in Syracuse, NY. Brendan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University. He is currently serving as technical expert in CHA’s indoor air quality task force.

Brendan has ten years of mechanical engineering and project management experience, leading the design, layout and control of HVAC systems for P-12 and higher educational facilities throughout New York, New Jersey and Ohio, including nine LEED certified projects. He has been an active member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) since 2011 and is currently the Government Affairs Chair for the Central New York chapter, as well as a member of ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.7 – Educational Facilities. He helped facilitate the recent memorandum of understanding between NYSERDA and ASHRAE to collaborate on COVID-19 response and energy efficiency efforts and has been helping to coordinate the dissemination of re-opening guidelines between ASHRAE and various levels of New York State governments and municipalities.

Moderated by:

Eric A. Schiff, Interim Executive Director, SyracuseCoE and Professor of Physics, Syracuse University

Dr. Schiff has a long history of leading complex research projects that bring together academics, industry scientists and other partners to discover solutions to society’s energy-related problems. He has been a professor of physics at Syracuse University since 1981, leading interdisciplinary research groups and collaborating with laboratories from other universities and private organizations throughout the world. He has been a principal investigator for externally funded research projects from government agencies (Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and the Empire State Development Corp.) and corporations (United Solar Ovonic LLC, Boeing Inc., First Solar Inc., and SRC Inc.). During his time at Syracuse, he has spent half-year sabbaticals at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and at Innovalight, Inc., a startup company. From 2014-1017, he served concurrently as a program director at ARPA-E, an agency of the Department of Energy. There he initiated the SHIELD research program of a dozen research projects for development of inexpensive efficiency retrofits for legacy single pane windows. He also supervised a portfolio of additional projects on solar energy conversion and other energy technologies.

Schiff’s own research accomplishments include development of low-mobility solar cell device physics for thin film solar cells such as perovskites, amorphous silicon, and cadmium telluride. His fundamental physics contributions include work on electronic transport and defects in semiconductors as well as on plasmonics. He is co-author of more than 100 refereed research publications with more than 4,000 citations and he is co-inventor on three U.S. patents. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Occupant Behavior Driven Smart Building Controls, A SyracuseCoE Research & Technology Forum

In the US, people spend 87% of their time in buildings. Understanding dynamic occupant presence and thermal comfort needs is crucial to ensuring that building design and operations provide healthy and productive living and working environments. Occupant behavior is becoming a leading factor for building energy use, but there are challenges to studying occupant behaviors, as they are complex and ever-changing. Privacy issues and the high cost of sensors can make data collection difficult. The constant changes in the built environment caused by occupant behavior also result in both physiological and psychological effects on the occupants.

Join us as we examine the challenges, benefits and opportunities of integrating occupant behaviors into the design and management of the built environment.

Professor Bing Dong’s presentation will cover various research projects related to behavior-driven controls and optimization of smart and connected buildings, from behavior-driven individual building energy optimization to urban scale energy management, from equipment level optimal controls to large scale buildings-to-grid integration. Professor Dong will conclude with a research vision on behavior-driven urban energy infrastructure planning and management within a smart and connected community. 
Steven VonDeak will present the people count sensor platform, Density, Inc. To put it simply — Density counts people. Understanding how many people are in a space helps organizations improve building performance by making them safer, more efficient and more productive. Density’s people counting system places a premium on three key functionalities: anonymity, accuracy, and real-time data availability. This real-time room occupancy provides insight for a variety of use cases including intelligent demand-controlled HVAC operation. Organized in 2014, Density has grown to a 50-person startup and their proprietary hardware/software system is all assembled, tested and packaged right in Syracuse, NY.
Laura J. Steinberg
Interim Executive Director, SyracuseCoE
Executive Director, Syracuse University Infrastructure Institute
Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
Dr. Steinberg’s research focuses on environmental phenomena’s effect on infrastructure, including how climate change is impacting infrastructure and environmental disasters. Her areas of expertise include environmental modeling and policy, diffusion of innovation, and critical infrastructure protection. In addition to the role of interim executive director of SyracuseCoE, she is currently working with a multi-disciplinary team to determine how best to serve the needs of veterans and active military members who are interested in using the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pursue undergraduate or graduate education. The team is investigating the educational aspirations and perceived obstacles of the veterans and members of the military using quantitative and qualitative methods, including extensive on-site interviews.
Bing Dong
Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
Dr. Dong has more than 15 years of experience in building energy performance simulation, building controls and HVAC FDD. He is also actively involved in projects related to occupancy behavior modeling in buildings, machine learning for sustainability, wireless sensor networks in buildings and building information modeling. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers. His papers are cited more than 400 times by other researchers around the world. He specializes in Occupancy Behavior Modeling, Energy Performance M&V, Model-based Building HVAC Controls; Energy Performance Simulation, HVAC FDD and BIM.
Steve VonDeak
Co-founder and Chief of Staff, Density, Inc.
Steven VonDeak is a co-founder and Chief of Staff at Density Inc, a 50-person venture-backed enterprise IoT company. Incorporated in 2014, Density helps organizations improve the performance of their space by making it safer, more efficient, and more productive. From 2014  to 2019, VonDeak has been responsible for supporting the varied operational needs of Density, including: finance, legal, and human resources. He is also the general manager of Density’s Syracuse office, where the company was founded and continues to run significant operations today. From 2008 to 2014, VonDeak founded and operated a digital consultancy specializing in web and mobile application development. He holds a JD from Syracuse University College of Law ’08 and a BA from the University of Rochester ’05.

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

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

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

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


William (Bill) Chadwick
Principal Systems Engineer
UTC Building Solutions Group, AdvanTEC
United Technologies Corporation 

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

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

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

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