Smart Building Testbed

Smart Building Testbed: Sustainability Institute Hall, the home of Golisano Institute for Sustainability on the RIT campus, itself functions as a large-scale four-story testbed for numerous sustainability technologies. It features an advanced high efficiency envelope, and generates more energy than is consumed through a combination of solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal, and a fuel cell configured for combined heat and power. The building has thousands of sensor channels to support optimized building control and to monitor performance.

This “smart building” is equipped to produce energy and monitor its own usage through a combination of solar panels on the roof, three wind turbines, an eight-well geothermal heating/cooling system, and a 400 kilowatt fuel cell, all overseen by an intelligent microgrid energy tracking system. Sustainability Hall also serves as a testbed for energy efficient building materials and practices. It is designed to consume less than half the energy consumed by other buildings of its size, thanks to special features such as an abundance of natural lighting, highly efficient insulating window glass, and a sunshade system that reduces summertime heat buildup from the sun. These and many other state-of-the-art design elements will enable Sustainability Hall to serve not only as a center for sustainability investigation and learning, but also as a unique research tool for whole-building design and functionality.

Testbed Equipment Includes:

  • Extensive glazing reduces the amount of artificial light required inside the structure.
  • A sunshade system of stationary louvers on the south side of the building reduces heat buildup from direct sun exposure during summer months.
  • UTC Model 400 Purecell System is the primary energy source for the building. This unit produces 400 kilowatts of continuous electric power; heat generated as a by-product of electrical generation helps heat this and other buildings on campus.
  • Microgrid system that takes variable power inputs from all sources (including windmills and solar panels) and stores energy in a battery bank to provide 50 kilowatt-hours of power. This will power some of the building’s lights and electrical outlets as well as charging stations for electric vehicles.
  • Geothermal system using liquid that circulates from eight 150' wells through pipes in the galleria floor, helping keep the building warm in winter and cool in summer.



Eastman Building 01-2309
1 Lomb Memorial Dr. Rochester, NY

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