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SyracuseCoE HQ dedication highlights the power of collaborative partnerships

March 05, 2010

Martin Walls
(315) 443-8951

At a ceremony today dedicating the new headquarters of the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE), more than 600 attendees—government, industry, and university collaborators, as well as members of the public—were invited to “discover a new angle on sustainability.” They joined together in the building’s Laboratory Wing to celebrate Syracuse’s newest landmark and to find out just what is inside the iconic, angular, glass-fronted facility: both its high-performance, intelligent green building features and the research and demonstration projects planned for this “living laboratory.”

Leading the ceremony were Syracuse University Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor and Lisa Heinzerling, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) associate administrator for policy, economics, and innovation. Heinzerling spoke on the power of communities that work together to research and innovate green and clean technologies and thus realize sustainable economic growth, as well as on U.S. EPA’s long and productive partnership with SyracuseCoE and technological advances that are helping to address significant environmental and public health challenges.

Other program participants were U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei (NY-25); Dennis M. Mullen, chairman and CEO designate of Empire State Development; Edward Reinfurt, executive director of the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation; New York Sen. David Valesky (D-49); New York Assemblyman William Magnarelli (D-120); Geraud Darnis, president of Carrier Corp.; Rob Simpson, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Development Association; and Ed Bogucz, executive director of SyracuseCoE. Grammy Award winner Joanne Shenandoah made a special appearance, singing “Our Legacy,” a song inspired by the work of SyracuseCoE and its collaborators and originally written for the Healthy Buildings 2009 international conference, hosted by SyracuseCoE in September 2009.

“The dedication of the Syracuse Center of Excellence headquarters is a great step toward our work as a state and community in meeting New York’s clean energy goals,” says New York Gov. David Paterson. “Not only will the important work at SyracuseCoE be instrumental for our clean energy targets, it will integrate critical, innovative research being conducted by our higher education institutions, private industries, and the state to further develop an innovation economy.”

“From day one, Syracuse Center of Excellence has been about fostering collaboration across sectors to tackle some of the most pressing environmental sustainability challenges facing us locally and globally,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “With the strong support of New York State and university, industry and public partners, we’ve shown how effective that kind of collaboration can be. There’s no better evidence than this dazzling new headquarters, where we’ve done what many thought was impossible: take a brownfield in the middle of Syracuse and make it into an inspiring emblem of environmental sustainability and green economic development. That is a very powerful statement about what we can achieve in this community.”

“Syracuse Center of Excellence has been a strong partner in environmental protection for U.S. EPA and a catalyst for innovation in this region,” says U.S. EPA’s Lisa Heinzerling. “With this new building, SyracuseCoE will be even better equipped to take on research challenges of the present and the future.”

Following a groundbreaking in June 2005, and a thorough and detailed site remediation and sustainable construction, the 55,000-square-foot Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-Platinum designed headquarters is now open as a campus where collaborative research and demonstration projects—primarily in the areas of indoor environmental quality, clean energy and energy efficiency—will take place, throughout the building and its grounds. In fact, the HQ campus contains many examples of the positive results of collaboration, from laboratories created by industry/government/academic partnerships to demonstration projects installed by SyracuseCoE Technology Application and Demonstration award-winning teams.

The $41 million facility was largely funded by New York State, which contributed more than $36 million to make this hub for green and clean technology research and innovation a reality.

Specifically, Empire State Development primarily funded the SyracuseCoE HQ and continues to administer operating funds. The New York State Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR), the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Syracuse University, the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Grid have provided additional funding for the building and SyracuseCoE’s work. Additional support has come from SyracuseCoE Partners that donated time, equipment and research funding, including Carrier Corp., Otis Elevators, Siemens, Tate, Haworth, Herman Miller, Syracuse firm CabFab and e2e Materials of Ithaca, NY.

“This building is the realization of a dream shared by our region’s leaders in government, industry and academia to create a world-renowned location for collaborations that address global environmental and energy challenges,” says SyracuseCoE Executive Director Ed Bogucz. “Traditionally, laboratories are introverted spaces not open to the public, but the design team realizes our vision of attractive open spaces that foster collaboration and learning. We fully intend for the public to see—and sometimes to interact with—the work of our collaborators and thereby better understand these challenges and the innovative solutions that are making our world a more sustainable place to live, work, learn and play.”

Among the several research and demonstration assets found in the HQ is the Willis H. Carrier Total Indoor Environmental Quality Lab (TIEQ), a one-of-a-kind research facility—primarily funded by NYSTAR, Empire State Development and Carrier Corp.—designed to conduct experiments on the human response to indoor environments.

“The SyracuseCoE headquarters is a platform for sustainability not just for Syracuse but for all those around the world interested in the advancement of indoor air quality and its impact on human productivity,” says Carrier Corp. President Geraud Darnis. “It is only fitting that the TIEQ Lab is named for Dr. Carrier, who dedicated his life to developing ways to improve the human condition. That legacy continues today, with Carrier’s two-decade experience in sustainable solutions for our products, technologies, and operations.”

Next to the building is the 150-foot “Urban Ecosystem Observatory,” which takes measurements of outdoor air and tracks traffic on the nearby highways to advance research on urban air pollution and the impact of buildings on urban ecosystems. The HQ also houses office space for SyracuseCoE staff and collaborators, including the Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University.

The HQ building is itself a demonstration of many emerging green technologies and innovations in SyracuseCoE’s focus areas of clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality and water resource management. With marquee sustainability features such as daylight harvesting, geothermal heating and cooling, rainwater reuse, on-demand lighting and ventilation, a green roof, and many others, the building is expected to use 46 percent less energy than a facility of this size built using typical practices.

Construction itself was sustainable, with the construction team, led by LeChase Construction Services of Rochester, N.Y., diverting 98 percent of unused materials from landfills, whereas a typical building construction diverts just 2 percent of unused and waste materials. The SyracuseCoE construction team also dedicated itself to completely remediating the HQ site, an abandoned brownfield, which for more than 200 years had served the Syracuse community in a variety of ways, including manufacturing (the L.C. Smith typewriter factory) and education (Onondaga Community College). Careful investment was made to clear the land of environmental contamination, restoring it for sustained use by SyracuseCoE and future generations.

The HQ building design and construction team was composed of local and national experts, led by Syracuse-based executive architect Ashley McGraw Architects, assisted by world-renowned design architect Toshiko Mori—in attendance at the March 5 ceremony—and LeChase. Other design team members were Ove Arup & Partners (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural engineering), Hargreaves Associates (landscape architects), Burt Hill (lab planner), Transsolar (climate concepts), Stearns & Wheler (civil engineering), O’Brien & Gere (environmental engineer), John P. Stopen Engineering (geotechnical engineering), Peterson Engineering (elevators), C&S Companies (commissioning agent) and 7 Group (LEED consultant).

The strong Central Upstate New York roots of the majority of the design and construction team is a demonstration of the advanced technical expertise available in the region for green building projects. Specifically, construction for this highly advanced building involved more than 25 companies based in Central Upstate New York, with many union trades and special expertise workers represented, including mechanical, electrical, green roofing, glazing and building control systems.

“SyracuseCoE is a landmark for our community, and we’re all thrilled to witness this dedication,” says U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei. “I was proud to bring national energy experts, such as Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Carol Browner, President Obama’s top advisor on climate change, to Syracuse to visit the headquarters when it was under construction. Securing funding for research to be conducted in this facility was one of the most important things I did in my first year of Congress because it is an important step toward a new green energy economy for Central Upstate New York. Now that the HQ is officially open, I can’t wait to continue to promote SyracuseCoE’s work on a local and national platform.”

“For years, I and others in the community have worked to leverage Central Upstate New York’s potential in the burgeoning green economy, with our excellent research institutions, innovative business minds, and organizations committed to economic development in this sector,” says New York Sen. David Valesky. “We watched with anticipation and pride as the SyracuseCoE headquarters took shape. I am pleased that the day we have long awaited has arrived and that the headquarters can serve as a symbol of the region’s growth and leadership in green technology.”

“It’s great to see this brand new building open,” says New York Assemblyman William Magnarelli. “The Syracuse Center of Excellence exemplifies the potential we can achieve having our higher education institutions partner with private industry. This is truly a great day for our region.”

“With the hope of leading Central Upstate New York’s economy to the forefront of the green innovation movement, New York State made a large investment in Syracuse Center of Excellence, and I’m thrilled to celebrate the dedication of its headquarters today,” says Dennis M. Mullen, chairman and CEO designate, Empire State Development. “By fostering collaboration between the academic research community and the business sector and developing new products and technologies for commercialization, we will create high-tech job opportunities for New Yorkers, making our state the global leader of the new clean energy economy.”

“The Willis H. Carrier Total Indoor Environmental Quality Laboratory provides a strategic mechanism for New York State to engage leading companies in the clean building and design sector with technology leaders from the academic sector,” says Edward Reinfurt, executive director of NYSTAR.

 “From Vision 2010, in 1996, through our current economic development blueprint—The Essential New York Initiative—we have been able to identify Central Upstate’s unique global leadership position in the clean and green technology sector,” says Robert M. Simpson, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York. “Growing out of our collective vision and long-term efforts, Syracuse Center of Excellence now embodies our region’s ability to build on that vision, bringing together leading-edge research and private industry in key sectors where our economy is poised for growth.”

Syracuse Center of Excellence ( accelerates the creation of environmental and energy innovations for a sustainable future, engaging collaborators at 200+ companies and institutions to address global challenges in clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality, and water resources. Our members conduct targeted research, demonstrate new technologies, commercialize innovations, and educate the workforce.

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