News & Events

GIS Grads 2016GIS Commencement honors Class of 2015-16 grads  Twnety-nine advanced degree candidates were honored by the Golisano Institute for Sustainability during commencement ceremonies held on Friday, May 20, in Sustainability Institute Hall on the RIT campus. This was the largest number of Ph.D., MS, and M.Arch candidates to be so recognized since GIS was founded, and symbolizes the rapid growth of the academic side of the Institute in only a few years. This year’s degree candidates included six Ph.D. in Sustainability, 13 MS in Sustainable Systems, and ten Master of Architecture students. See the photos.

GISBuilding with features that enhance employee wellness  Dennis A. Andrejko, associate professor and program chair of GIS’s Master of Architecture program spoke with the Rochester Business Journal about Sustainability Institute Hall and its focus on the well-being of the occupants in its design. Research has shown exposure to natural features like plants and sunlight bring a host of physical and mental benefits, which manifest in a range of outcomes from reduced absenteeism to increased performance, Andrejko says. Read more.

Circulate NewsPodcast: Remanufacturing and the circular economy  Dr. Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of GIS, sat down with Colin Webster for a podcast in April 2016 to discuss remanufacturing’s role in the circular economy. Remanufacturing allows us to use product components again at high quality while reducing energy demand by – in some cases – 80%. Given the material constraints we face, why this is not happening at a wider scale? In this episode, Nabil Nasr puts forward what he sees as the issues holding back remanufacturing. Listen to the podcast.

New Dynamic 2A New Dynamic 2: Effective Systems in a Circular Economy  Dr. Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of GIS, is among an exclusive group of authors from a wide variety of backgrounds who contributed to The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s latest book, A New Dynamic 2: Effective Systems in a Circular Economy. Dr. Nasr and the other authors share methodology and provide real-life case studies illustrating the application of circular economy principles and their potential. The book reflects on the necessity to develop a whole-system approach to re-think the world’s economy. Learn more.

ReidmillerU.S. chief climate scientist presented on climate policy at RIT  RIT was proud to welcome chief climate scientist and lead climate technology negotiator with the U.S. Department of State, Dr. David Reidmiller, for a special presentation on climate policy and the Paris Agreement on March 14, 2016. Dr. Reidmiller gave the science behind the climate predictions that fueled the Agreement and discussed how a consensus was reached by so many countries, both developed and developing. See his presentation.

NasrRIT sustainability experts address climate talks  Two RIT professors are taking a keen interest in the United Nations Climate Change Conference being held November 30, 2015 to December 11, 2015 in Paris, France. Dr. Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of GIS, is on a panel advising the world leaders there. Dr. Nasr and Enid Cardinal, senior sustainability adviser to the president, hope for a binding commitment among world leaders, with ramifications for countries who don’t meet their end of the deal. Watch the video.

difGIS/RIT presenters at Disruptive Innovation Festival   Eight presenters from the Golisano Institute for Sustainability and from across Rochester Institute of Technology will be prominently featured during five presentations during the 2015 Disruptive Innovation Festival, sponsored by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, November 9-16. The festival is an all-access online event featuring worldwide experts, entrepreneurs, business leaders, makers and doers who are exploring innovations shaping the future economy. “This is a very exciting and exclusive opportunity for RIT and GIS,” said Dr. Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of GIS and one of the festival’s notable presenters. “This online event is being produced by a world-leading education and change agents in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which is challenging the linear ‘take, make and dispose’ model of the economy as it advocates for a more prosperous, restorative regenerative economy.” Dr. Nasr presented on "Remanufacturing and the Circular Economy" on November 9, describing the growth and current state of the remanufacturing sector, and explaining how it can contribute to the Circular Economy model. For more information on the Disruptive Innovation Festival and to listen to presentations, visit the festival website; to learn more about GIS/RIT's role in the festival, read the RIT news release here.

Dr. Thomas Trabold to head GIS Sustainability Department   Associate Professor Thomas Trabold, Ph.D., has been appointed Head of the Sustainability Department of Golisano Institute for Sustainability. According to GIS Director Dr. Nabil Z. Nasr, "Tom has brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to GIS. After several years in industry, working at companies such as Xerox and General Motors, he joined the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies in 2009 as a researcher at the Center for Sustainable Mobility. Following his move to the academic side of GIS, Tom’s work with our students, his assistance in strengthening the curriculum of GIS, and his continuing research work have been outstanding. His energy, hard work, and dedication to GIS are evident, and I am looking forward to working with him as we continue to expand the vision and reputation of GIS. I would also like to offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to Professor Dennis Andrejko, who graciously stepped in and took over as interim Department Head during our period of transition, and has done a wonderful job."

Dr. Seth Hubbard appointed Director of NanoPower Research Labs   The NanoPower Research Labs, an applied research center of GIS, will be led by Dr. Seth Hubbard, Assistant Professor of Physics, Graduate Faculty in Microsystems Engineering at RIT. In making the announcement of Dr. Hubbard's appointment, GIS Director Dr. Nabil Z. Nasr said, "NPRL's team of researchers and staff have done amazing work, and we are looking forward to an even more exciting future under Seth’s leadership and direction. It was important to select a senior director who has demonstrated the capabilities to take NPRL to the next level, and I am very confident that Seth will do much to expand the reputation and vision of NPRL, and to further develop its tremendous potential. I would also like to offer our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Prof. Paul Stiebitz, who took over the interim leadership of NPRL during its transition phase. Paul has done a wonderful job and has worked tirelessly to give NPRL direction during this critical phase, and we owe him much gratitude. I know I speak for the entire RIT community as we offer our sincere congratulations to Director, Seth Hubbard and his team – as we look forward to an exciting future for NPRL.” For more information about Dr. Hubbard's appointment, see the RIT news release here, and to learn more about the NanoPower Research Labs, visit their website here.

p2i-randrlogoNYSP2I leads paper mill sustainability effort   Reductions in toxic chemicals and improvements to energy and water usage and operational costs at pulp and paper mills in New York State's Great Lakes watershed are results of a four-year, multi-agency effort led by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I), a GIS research center. The “Toxics Reduction and Sustainability in Paper Manufacturing” program is part of a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative headed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and involving the coordinated efforts of many federal agencies. NYSP2I partnered with CITEC Manufacturing & Technology Solutions, a Potsdam, N.Y., based not-for-profit economic development organization. The NYSP2I-led initiative resulted in significant water and wastewater reduction and reuse as well as improved energy efficiencies at four pulp and paper manufacturing companies. According to Eugene Park, NYSP2I’s assistant director of Technical Programs and principal investigator on the project, the initiative’s results demonstrate that there are “significant opportunities for further competitive positioning of the pulp and paper industry through sustainability initiatives.” For more information about the Toxics Reduction and Sustainability in Paper Manufacturing program, read or download the RIT news release here.

Remanufacturing at UNEP is focus of Nasr interview   How the International Resource Panel (IRP) of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) is furthering the environmental, social and business case for remanufacturing and the circular economy model is the subject of an interview of Dr. Nabil Nasr, RIT Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of GIS, appearing in the August 2015 issue of Reman Industry News, a Chinese-English bilingual e-publication that covers remanufacturing, sustainability and the circular economy. The article describes the IRP, to which Dr. Nasr was appointed in 2014, and how the panel investigates and reports on critical global resource issues, informing, advising and developing practical recommendations for government policy makers, industry and society. Currently, the IRP is compiling a report on remanufacturing's potential contribution to resource efficiency and innovation in the circular economy, and Dr. Nasr explains that, "China is one of four countries reviewed for its potential to benefit from the adoption of remanufacturing. We believe this report will validate the potential of remanufacturing in China’s economy and importance for its environmental conservation."

GIS welcomes new and returning students    Faculty and staff of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT welcomed new and returning GIS students to the start of Fall semester classes on August 24, 2015. Once again, GIS attracted a growing number of students into its three graduate programs. Seven new Doctoral-level candidates and ten new Master of Science candidates in Sustainability are beginning their studies at the Institute. In addition, 12 new Master of Architecture candidates have come aboard, joining some 40 returning M. Arch. candidates. Many new and returning students were present for the annual pre-semester kickoff lunch and photo session held in mid-August in Sustainability Institute Hall. This event was hosted by Dennis A. Andrejko, GIS Associate Professor and Program Chair, Master of Architecture program, shown second right in the front row in the accompanying photo. (photo by Alex Tong)

GIS' Nabil Nasr and Cat Reman on Manufacturing Talk Radio    Dr. Nabil Nasr, RIT Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of GIS joined John Disharoon, Director of Market Access for Caterpillar’s Cat Reman business unit for an hour of live panel discussion about the roles of remanufacturing operations in sustainability initiatives on Manufacturing Talk Radio on Tuesday, August 11, 2015. The "ReManufacturing and Sustainability” episode was moderated by Manufacturing Radio's co-hosts Tim Grady and Lew Weiss. According to Manufacturing Radio, this internet radio session would help listeners better understand the "intricate elements and challenges of the remanufacturing process today, and hear all about the R&D for tomorrow that will insure manufacturers keep non-renewable resources in circulation and costs down long after the original product would have hit the landfill." Since its launch in 2013, Manufacturing Radio has presented breaking news, emerging technology, business trends and economic forecasts to 100,000+ live and podcast listeners.

Chiavaroli, Lange, honored by AIA    GIS Master of Architecture Professor Julius J. Chiavaroli and Master of Architecture student Catherine Lange both recently received high honors and recognition from The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Rochester Chapter during this year’s awards dinner, held at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. Chiavaroli received the Medal of Distinction, AIA chapter's highest honor, for distinguishing service which includes more than three decades of service to the local industry as well as his community focus. He was cited for his work as the primary author of RIT’s Master of Architecture program and for his service as AIA Rochester president in 1981 and 2012. Graduate student Catherine Lange received the AIA’s $2,500 Bergmann Scholarship and the $1,000 AIA Scholarship. In his nomination of Lange for AIA Rochester scholarships, Chiavaroli praised the RIT student as“gifted and hard working.” To learn more about Jules Chiavaroli's and Catherine Lange's awards and professional backgrounds, read or download the RIT news release here. For more information on the AIA Rochester Chapter, visit their website here.

pioneerRIT now a Pioneer University in Ellen MacArthur Foundation program  An initiative led by GIS has resulted in Rochester Institute of Technology becoming a Pioneer University within the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Higher Education program. As such, RIT joins a select group of universities worldwide dedicated to accelerating a global transition to a regenerative, circular economy. This recognizes RIT's pioneering research and teaching on the emerging concept of the circular economy–referring to an industrial economy that is restorative by intention and eliminates waste through thoughtful design. A fundamental component of the circular economy is remanufacturing, the process by which products are restored “as new” after reaching end of life and resold with warranty. Remanufacturing has been a long-term area of study and industry involvement for GIS and its Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS). “We are proud and honored to join the Pioneer University program developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the world’s leading authority on the circular economy,” said Nabil Nasr, associate provost and GIS director. “For RIT, this is tremendous recognition of our expanding global reputation on the circular economy and remanufacturing as well as our world-class facilities.” For more information on RIT's joining the Pioneer University program, read or download the RIT news release here. To learn more about the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, click here. (Pioneer University graphic courtesy of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

grad2015RIT-GIS collaborates with Staples on sustainability video  A new video that illustrates the importance of sustainable purchasing decisions, explaining through animation how it matters for people to buy “green” products and how those decisions can impact the environment has been produced in part by the Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab (SSIL), located at and sponsored by the Golisano Institute for Sustainability with funding from Staples Inc. The two-minute video, titled “small choices, Big Impact,” can be viewed on YouTube through links on the SSIL website here. It was developed to help educate viewers on the broad topic of sustainability and the significance of their everyday purchases. “We want to demonstrate to people how their purchases have a critical impact on the world around us,” said Brian Hilton, GIS senior staff engineer and director of SSIL who worked closely on the video with Patricia Donohue, senior engineer and Sustainable Supply Chain Program manager at the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, a GIS research center. Hilton said the video and several more planned for the future will provide an engaging way to educate and inform about making sustainable choices. “Most of us look at sustainability and see such a large issue and ask, ‘what’s my impact on the planet?'” he said. “All of us working together really can make a difference.” For background information on “small choices, Big Impact”, read or download the RIT news release available here. (video screenshot by RIT Production Services)

grad2015GIS Commencement honors Class of 2014-15 grads  Eighteen advanced degree candidates were honored by the Golisano Institute for Sustainability during commencement ceremonies held on Friday, May 22, in Sustainability Institute Hall on the RIT campus. This was the largest number of Ph.D., M.S., and M.Arch candidates to be so recognized since GIS was founded, and symbolizes the rapid growth of the academic side of the Institute in only a few years. The event also marked the graduation of the first cohort of Master of Architecture degree candidates from GIS’ new Sustainable Architecture program. The Class of 2014-15 members were addressed and personally congratulated by RIT President William Destler and other senior RIT administrative officers, as well as the GIS faculty and staff. Dr. Nabil Nasr, Associate Provost and Director of GIS, said, “It gives me great pleasure to recognize the outstanding achievements of this year’s graduating class. Based on their accomplishments during their years of study here at the Institute, I’m confident they will soon gain much recognition and respect in the wider world as true, active leaders and drivers of sustainability in their chosen fields.” This year’s degree candidates included one Ph.D. in Sustainability, seven M.S. in Sustainable Systems, and ten Master of Architecture students. For information on campus-wide graduation ceremonies, visit the RIT Commencement site. (photo by Alex Tong)

gaustadGIS receives $495K NIST grant to advance remanufacturing   The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently announced that the Golisano Institute for Sustainability will receive a nearly half-million-dollar grant to help accelerate the growth of U.S. advanced manufacturing by developing a “technology roadmap” to expand and advance the capabilities and competitiveness of America’s remanufacturing industry. For this project, GIS is partnering with Energetics, Inc., a major technology and management consulting firm based in Columbia, MD. The first step in the project will be forming a consortium steering committee comprised of leaders from prominent U.S. remanufacturing industry groups and remanufacturing companies. The committee will work to identify and solve high-priority technological challenges faced by remanufacturers. This will be followed by input workshops, surveys, and site visits to remanufacturers to collect data that will be used as the basis of a white paper, which will be used as a foundation for further workshop discussions. GIS Director Dr. Nabil Nasr said, “A very significant result of this work is that the government, by awarding us this grant, is recognizing the reman industry as a critical industry with significant potential in support the U.S. economy. This represents a historic victory for the entire reman sector.” For more information on the NIST grant to GIS, read or download the RIT news release here.

gaustadNYSP2I website receives 2015 Communicator Award   The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, a GIS research center, was recently honored with the 2015 Silver Award of Distinction for its outreach website, the Sustainable Supply Chain Information Hub, which provides detailed information to industry on how to manage their operations and supply chain more sustainably. The Silver Award was presented to the developer of the website, RIT Production Services, by The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, a 600+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media. The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program honoring creative excellence for communication professionals. The Communicator Awards is an annual competition honoring the best in advertising, corporate communications, public relations and identity work for print, video, interactive and audio. For more information on NYSP2I, visit its main website here.

imagineGIS entertains, educates at Imagine RIT   The Golisano Institute for Sustainability hosted multiple interactive demonstrations and exhibits on sustainability to hundreds of visitors to the campus-wide 2015 Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on May 2. GIS activities included: watching a 3D laser scanner capture 23,000 points per second and get downloaded to a 3D printer to be "made," helping kids make a fun windmill (pinwheel) craft from recycled materials, and introducing energy systems that contain new kinds of materials such as nanomaterials, rare earth elements and lithium-ion batteries. A popular interactive demo was GIS' Truck Driving Simulator, which let visitors sit in the driver's seat and operate a virtual truck. The simulator is used for analyzing the behavior of the driver and the truck or bus, and it also tests/validates the hardware and software systems developed by GIS engineers and researchers. For more information on the 2015 Imagine RIT event, read or download the RIT news release here.

gaustadGreen Building Council "Project Profile" spotlights GIS building   Sustainability Institute Hall – GIS's new LEED Platinum headquarters building on the RIT campus – was the subject of a Project Profile by the The U.S. Green Business Council on its website in April. The Council lauded the GIS building's key sustainability features that made it one of their most notable projects to certify in this year's Top 10 states for leadership in LEED construction (see related story below). In the profile article, GIS Director Dr. Nabil Nasr said, “LEED Platinum is a significant accomplishment for our multi-story research building, particularly given that it is such an energy-intensive facility combined with our challenging climate here in Western New York. We are especially proud that our building dedicated to sustainability has earned such a rare accomplishment, which required tremendous teamwork.” For more information visit the Green Building Council website here. (photo by A. Sue Weisler, RIT)

gaustadPrinceton Review ranks RIT-GIS high for sustainability  For the fifth consecutive year, RIT has been named one of North America’s greenest universities by The Princeton Review in its 2015 Guide to 353 Green Colleges. The guide rates colleges and universities on their environmentally related policies, practices and academic offerings, and commended RIT for having 100 percent of its new construction LEED-certified, for offering sustainability-focused degrees, employing a sustainability officer, buying local/organic food, diverting waster and using renewable sources for energy. Enid Cardinal, senior sustainability adviser to the president, said, “RIT is committed to sustainability through our research, academics and operations. We strive to lead by example, as shown by our LEED Platinum certified Golisano Institute for Sustainability." For more information on the Princeton Review's evaluation of RIT-GIS, view or download the RIT news release here.

gaustadGabrielle Gaustad receives NSF CAREER award    GIS Assistant Professor Dr. Gabrielle Gaustad has been recognized by the National Science Foundation with its Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program Award, which will fund a five-year investigation into the impacts of material scarcity and criticality on future clean energy technologies. NSF describes the CAREER program as its "most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research." Dr. Gaustad's award of nearly $510,000 will support her research aiming to more fully comprehend supply-chain risks for new clean energy technologies, with the goal of developing novel and dynamic criticality metrics that capture a much broader, lifecycle perspective of criticality for important byproduct materials than currently exists. For more information on her CAREER award and research objectives, view or download the RIT news release here.

gaustadSustainability Hall commended by Green Building Council   The GIS headquarters building, Sustainability Institute Hall, has been cited by the U.S. Green Business Council as an example of a "notable project" certified in New York State in 2014. The GIS building earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification from the Green Building Council — the highest standard in the LEED rating system, and among the top 1 percent of all green buildings in the United States. The Council's commendation was made simultaneously with its announcement that New York State was among the Top 10 States in the nation for LEED, placing 10th (tied with Arizona). The Green Building Council reported that in 2014 New York State certified 250 projects representing 33,691,209 square feet of real estate, or 1.74 square feet per resident. LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water resources, save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community, according to the Council. More information about Sustainability Institute Hall is available here. Also, click here to read the Green Building Council's Top 10 States for LEED 2014 announcement.

New white paper on Conformal Cooling   As part of GIS's outreach to industry, a new white paper from the Center of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing (COE-SM) has been issued on “conformal cooling,” a relatively new and promising alternative to conventional mold cooling practice. Conventional mold cooling paths are machined in straight lines through which pressurized coolant flows; the drawback is straight paths cannot provide consistent cooling throughout the mold cavity, often resulting in longer cycle times, uneven cooling, and greater possibility of warpage and scrap. In contrast, conformal cooling utilizes channels that follow the part’s contours to facilitate faster and more uniform cooling, leading to greater finished part quality and increased production capacity. The emergence of additive manufacturing technology, particularly direct metal laser sintering, brings the potential benefits of conformal cooling within reach of many more injection molding manufacturers. A concise, but detailed, technical overview of conformal cooling theory and practice authored by Melissa Hall and Dr. Mark Krystofik of COE-SM can be downloaded as a PDF document here, or read it online here. Additional technical white papers from COE-SM on topics of interest to New York State manufacturers will be published in the future.

MSNBC spotlights RIT remanufacturing  GIS facilities, students, staff and Institute Director Dr. Nabil Nasr were featured recently on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" news and talk program, which focused on the resurgence of the remanufacturing industry in general and in Rochester and at RIT in particular. The program included video clips of equipment in use in GIS' new Digital Manufacturing & Product Realization Lab (see story below). Speaking on the positive values of reman, Dr. Nasr stated that it is "cheaper, has a lower environmental footprint, and delivers the same quality and reliability that you'd expect in a new product." Also featured was Deborah Stendardi, RIT Vice President, Government and Community Relations, who underlined how the Institute had become an important driver for economic growth in the region and New York State. Following the prerecorded GIS segment, Caterpillar’s Stu Levenick and the Alliance for American Manufacturing’s Scott Paul discussed the state of the U.S. reman industry and its prospects for growth. To view the program segment, visit MSNBC's website here.

3D printing for manufacturing tech forum   More than 50 representatives from Western New York State manufacturers recently converged on RIT's Center of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing, an applied research unit of GIS, to learn more about how additive manufacturing is being used in the state. Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing is a rapidly growing form of high-technology-based manufacturing that promises reduced material waste, lower energy intensity, reduced time to market, just-in-time production, and construction of structures not possible with traditional manufacturing processes. Andy Lucibello, Area Sales Manager, EOS of North America (photo), introduced the subject of additive manufacturing, explaining its advantages, and how it opens up entirely new avenues in product design. Unlike traditional parts machining, 3D printing using high-tech metal and plastic powder compounds actually favors more complex designs. "In 3D manufacturing," he said, "complexity doesn't cost – it saves" The next speaker, Sean Whittaker, President & CEO, Incodema 3D, described how his company has grown by using additive manufacturing as the basis for its business plan. After the speakers, forum attendees toured additive manufacturing facilities in GIS' new Digital Manufacturing & Product Realization Lab and advanced manufacturing bay of the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies. (photo by J. Sutherland)

GIS Director named to UN resources panel  Dr. Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of GIS, has been named a member of the United Nations Environmental Program’s International Resource Panel, comprising international experts guiding the U.N. on its environmental priorities. The United Nations Environmental Program’s (UNEP) International Resource Panel, widely considered the most authoritative scientific forum for scientists and experts working in the area of natural resource management, was launched in 2007 to build and share knowledge toward improving the use of resources worldwide. The panel consists of eminent scientists, highly skilled in resource management issues. Their reports help advance the panel’s goal of steering people away from over-consumption, waste and ecological harm toward a more prosperous and sustainable future.“To be selected to serve on this panel is a tremendous honor and I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with such an outstanding panel to help inform policymakers globally in areas related to sustainable management of natural resources,” Nasr said. “For RIT, this is terrific recognition for the expanding global reputation of our world-class Golisano Institute for Sustainability.” For more information on Dr. Nasr's appointment, view or download the RIT news release here. (photo by A. Sue Weisler)

RIT professors study nation’s electric grid infrastructure  GIS Associate Professor Dr. Eric Williams is helping lead a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant to research better ways to produce and utilize America’s electricity. Dr. Williams is working with Dr. Eric Hittinger, assistant professor of public policy in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, to generate a new system of algorithmic computer modeling that simulates the future of America’s grid infrastructure. The resulting model will be used to study several key questions about future evolution of the grid. One issue this project will explore is the co-evolution of the increased demand due to adoption of electric vehicle (EV) and the environmental performance of the grid. Dr. Williams says that "As technological progress continues and EVs become widely used, grid build-out will likely be influenced by EV adoption; in turn, the environmental attributes of EVs are influenced by the grid." A second question to be addressed by the NSF grant is how inexpensive natural gas from hydro-fracturing would affect the grid, especially the use of renewable energy. For more information on this timely project, read the RIT news here.

GIS hosts FXFOWLE Days event  Representatives of the internationally known New York City-based architectural firm FXFOWLE will be meeting with RIT Architecture and Sustainability students and faculty, and with the Rochester-area architectural community during "FXFOWLE Days" on October 22-23. The event will feature presentations and roundtable discussions by company Partner John Schuyler and Ilana Judah, Principal and Director of Sustainability. On the evening of October 22, both representatives will deliver a one hour lecture titled "Re-Visioning High Performance" on the afternoon of October 22, followed by a reception. The next day there will be a GIS/POE roundtable discussion, including GIS faculty members, on "Lessons Learned and Learning Lessons." Both events will be held in the GIS Auditorium. " For more information on all of the activities scheduled for FXFOWLE Days, visit the Architecture website's Events page here, and download a pdf of the Fall 2014 schedule of ArchiTALKS Guest Lecture Series seminars here.

New Digital Manufacturing & Product Realization Lab  A multi-million dollar, high-tech laboratory designed to help companies and independent innovators convert their ideas into concepts and ultimately new products was unveiled on the fourth floor of GIS' Sustainability Institute Hall on October 3, in conjunction with the Manufacturing Day event at RIT (see story below). The new 3,300 square foot lab will provide users with 3D design and simulation, prototype fabrication and product inspection, together with testing and validation capabilities. The facility includes specialized machine tools and workstations for computer-aided design drawings and analysis. “This highly sophisticated lab will enable manufacturers to streamline their development process, promote U. S.-based supply chains and help boost the growth of manufacturing both regionally and nationally,” said Nabil Nasr, associate provost and GIS director. “Our facility will also serve as a focal point for New York State manufacturers seeking to evaluate and apply new digital manufacturing technologies.” Reports on the new lab opening ceremony were broadcast by local media WHAM-TV Channel 13 (here) and Time Warner Cable News (here). A montage of photos of the event, taken by RIT photographer Elizabeth Lamark, is available here. For more information on the Digital Manufacturing & Product Realization Lab, see the RIT news release here and visit the lab's web page here.

GIS Director describes changes in U.S. manufacturing  In a news story titled "Rochester Focuses On A New Picture Of American Manufacturing," broadcast by NPR radio station WXXI on September 29, GIS Director and RIT Associate Provost Dr. Nabil Nasr commented on how local industry has changed over the past several decades, and where it might be headed in the future. "Manufacturing today is not what it used to be. In the past, for example, Kodak used to make very sophisticated, high-precision lenses in a very primitive process that was very time-consuming," Dr. Nasr noted. "Today, we're making very sophisticated computerized equipment that can make some of these lenses in a fraction of the time they used to spend in making those lenses before." The impact on the traditional blue collar workforce has been profound, and, he says, policymakers, big companies and communities need to plan together to help workers become and remain qualified for today's high-tech manufacturing jobs. To listen to the news story or read the transcript, visit the WXXI News website here.

RIT seeks support for GIS Graduate Fellowships  RIT has begun a campaign to solicit endowment funding for Graduate Fellowship that will go to support Golisano Institute for Sustainability masters and Ph.D. candidate research projects in sustainability. Currently, only eight to ten RIT sustainability students are funded from among the program’s more than 80 graduate level applications. Funding helps to address tuition costs and provides a living stipend to enable students to focus on their advanced degree work solving globally impactful problems, so that we can become sustainable and have a better quality of life now and in the future. To learn more about supporting Graduate Fellowships at GIS, view or download the brochure prepared by the RIT Development Office here.

mfg_day_2014GIS to host Farm to Fork event at Manufacturing Day   On October 3rd, Golisano Institute for Sustainability will host a Farm to Fork Solutions Forum focused on helping inform and promote food and beverage manufacturing companies in the Rochester/Finger Lakes region of New York State. The event is part of the nationwide Manufacturing Day 2014 celebration, and is being conducted by FuzeHub, a statewide initiative to grow New York State manufacturing companies. Two GIS research centers, the Center of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing and the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, will also participate in the Solutions Forum. “GIS has enthusiastically supported the Farm to Fork movement by leading the Finger Lakes Food Processing Cluster Initiative and working with our region’s agricultural industry in related activities that help promote job growth, sustainability, and economic development,” said RIT Associate Provost and GIS Director, Dr. Nabil Nasr. “We are proud to participate and very excited to host this important Solutions Forum event at RIT during Manufacturing Day.” The Farm to Fork Solutions Forum will be held at RIT from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Manufacturing companies can register to attend by visiting FuzeHub.

worldremansummitWorld Reman Summit coming to GIS  The Golisano Institute for Sustainability, together with the Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association, will host the third annual World Reman Summit during September 25-26, 2014, on the RIT campus in Rochester, NY. This exciting conference rotates annually between Europe, Asia and the U.S. and is the premier forum to address the latest technology trends in the field of remanufacturing. High-level leaders from industry, academia and science will come together to present cutting-edge research and innovations from the field. This is the third iteration of this important event, previously held in Bayreuth, Germany (2012) and Shanghai, China (2013). The summit serves as a forum for international remanufacturing research and industry-related collaboration. For more on summit speakers, panels, the latest agenda, and registration information, visit the event website here and also see the RIT news release here.

worldremansummitRIT Big Shot focuses on GIS buildings  The GIS headquarters, Sustainability Hall, and CIMS' Louise M. Slaughter Hall were the centerpiece of the 30th annual RIT Big Shot photography event on the evening of September 6, 2014. Well after sundown, flashlights or camera flash units wielded by nearly 3,000 volunteers "painted" the buildings with light; two cameras with matched lenses on a single tripod then created the dramatic nighttime panoramic effect seen in the accompanying photo. For more information on this year's Big Shot, see the RIT news release here.

GIS$100K NIST fuel cell research grant to GIS  The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded GIS $98,888 in funding to complete a three-phase project to develop a a prototype residential power system using fuel cell technology. The final-phase program will be conducted by GIS Associate Professor Dr. Thomas Trabold and a team of Institute researchers. Dr. Trabold said, “Thanks to this funding, we’ll be able to build upon our earlier work to use this final stage to develop a prototype. In addition to hardware design, we’ll be integrating a propane fuel reformer and fuel cell stack before the assembly of a fuel cell-based system.” According to him, several existing pieces of test equipment will be employed in the fuel cell laboratory at GIS's Sustainability Hall building, including full system test stands that can control blends of gases needed for prototypic evaluation of individual or combined system components. For more information, view or download the RIT news release available here.

p2i-randrlogoSustainability projects awarded by NYSP2I  Six major applied R&D projects intended to increase the competitiveness of New York State industries while reducing their environmental footprint were recently awarded by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, a research unit of GIS. The awards, which total $455,000, will fund innovative green technologies projects designed to reduce energy and water consumption, cut waste, and help eliminate the use of toxic chemicals by finding safer alternatives. The projects were selected from proposals from faculty and staff at the NYSP2I’s partner universities: RIT, Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University at Buffalo.“This marks the sixth consecutive year that the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute has funded research and development grants selected through a competitive application process,” said Anahita Williamson, NYSP2I director. “We’re proud to once again advance important research efforts that will further develop innovative solutions in sustainability and pollution prevention.” For more information, view the RIT news release here or visit the NYSP2I website here. (graphic design by Laura W. Nelson)

GISNSF award to RIT-GIS for nanomaterials research  GIS and RIT's Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences are sharing a $300,854 research grant to study the life cycle impacts of fullerene-based materials, a form of engineered nanomaterials used in advanced optical and electronic products. GIS Assistant Professor Dr. Callie Babbitt will act as Principal Investigator (PI); she will be assisted by Co-PIs Assistant Professor Dr. Gabrielle Gaustad of GIS and Dr. Anna Christina Tyler, Associate Professor at the Gosnell School. Also assisting with the project will be Dr. Sandi Connelly, Assistant Professor, Gosnell School. "The impact of nanomaterials on the natural environment is poorly understood,” said Dr. Babbitt. “We hope to quantify the risks of these emerging materials – both when they are released into an ecosystem as well as when they are produced, which often has its own toxicity risks due to high electricity and chemical consumption.” The research project, starting in August, will analyze the potential toxicity of fullerenes on aquatic organisms and then model the broader impact of nanomaterial exposure on an aquatic ecosystem. In addition, researchers will create a model of ecological impacts due to upstream fullerene production processes. The photo shows researchers (left to right) Dr. Babbitt, Dr. Tyler, Dr. Gaustad, and Dr. Connelly setting up an experiment to test the ecological impact of fullerene exposure on samples of sediment from a Finger Lakes ecosystem.

GISGIS' Andy Harlan featured speaker at SBA event  Andy Harlan, Assistant Director for Operations at the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies, a research unit of GIS, spoke at the Grantee Regional Collaboration Meeting at the headquarters of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD, on the afternoon of June 27. His presentation to over 100 attendees described the creation and successful operation of the Finger Lakes Food Processing Initiative, a Jobs and Innovation Accelerator program which he manages and is supported by a combined-funding grant from for the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, with additional funding from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Mr. Harlan's presentation focused on the importance of accurately determining the employee training and other requirements of small businesses in the Upstate New York food processing business cluster being assisted by the program, and then developing the right vehicles to cost-effectively satisfy those requirements. The FLFPCI program has met and in some instances exceeded its deliverables; Mr. Harlan said forming strong partnerships and connecting the dots was key to this $1.9M grant effort and success.

commencement2014Congratulations GIS Class of 2014!  Graduating students of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability's academic program were recognized in commencement ceremonies held in Sustainability Hall on the afternoon of May 23. RIT President Dr. William Destler, RIT Provost Dr. Jeremy Haefner, and Associate Provost and GIS Director Dr. Nabil Nasr offered their personal congratulations to the graduates and their families.

GIS researchers honored for grants success  Several faculty and staff of RIT's Golisano Institute for Sustainability were recently spotlighted for their efforts in securing sponsored research funding. Associate Research Professor Dr. David Forbes, who works in the NanoPower Research Laboratory in state-of-the-art multijunction photovoltaics utilizing novel II-V materials and quantum dots, has been awarded $1.9 million in sponsored research. He was was named to the"PI Millionaires," a designation awarded to RIT researchers who have achieved funding of $1 million or more since 2000. Also inducted as a PI Millionaire was Robert Matesic, senior project manager in the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies. In addition, two GIS doctoral program alumni have received “Seed Fund Awards” – $5,000 grants awarded by RIT to researchers who completed its Grant Writer’s Boot Camp last fall. Each participant came with a proposal for seed funding which were reviewed by peers. Seed Fund Award winners were: Matthew Ganter, research scientist, Office of the Vice President for Research, for “Lithium ion Battery Porosity Engineering using Micro needles to Enhance Ionic Conductivity;” and Christopher Schauerman, research scientist, Office of the Vice President for Research, for “Life Cycle Inventory Assessment of Battery Manufacturing Process.” For more information, see the RIT news release here.

GISGIS building gains LEED Platinum status  GIS' Sustainability Institute Hall has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council — the highest standard in the rating system — placing it among the top 1 percent of all green buildings in the United States today. The Platinum certification was officially recognized at a ceremony in the building attended by representatives from the Federal, New York State, and local government and business leaders, the building's architects and builders, and members of the RIT community. GIS Director Dr. Nabil Nasr said that “LEED Platinum is a significant accomplishment for our multi-story research building, particularly given that it is such an energy-intensive facility combined with our challenging climate here in Western New York. We are especially proud that our building dedicated to sustainability has earned such a rare accomplishment, which required tremendous teamwork. I salute our building partners.” The GIS facility, RIT’s fourth LEED-certified building on campus, marks RIT’s second LEED Platinum project after the University Services Center earned the designation in 2010. RIT has two other LEED projects pending with Sebastian and Lenore Rosica Hall and Institute Hall. For more information on Sustainability Institute Hall and how it achieved Platinum certification, view or download the RIT news release here.

p2i-randrlogoRIT/GIS named core partner in new U.S. Digital Lab for Manufacturing On February 25, the White House announced that RIT is a core partner in a newly established Digital Lab for Manufacturing, a public/private consortium of 73 companies, nonprofits, and universities to be based in Chicago. The new Lab will concentrate on digital manufacturing and design technologies; and was described as in the announcement press release as "creating a novel partnership between world-leading manufacturing experts and cutting-edge software companies to enable interoperability across the supply chain, develop enhanced digital capabilities to design and test new products, and reduce costs in manufacturing processes across multiple industries." RIT's Golisano Institute for Sustainability and its Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies will perform the work on Digital Lab projects, and could receive up to $20M over the next five years. GIS Director Nabil Nasr indicated that this initiative should lead to the development of new technologies that could benefit upstate and New York State manufacturers and could bring new jobs to the region and the state. For additional information on the Digital Lab for Manufacturing, download or view RIT's detailed news release here, see the official White House announcement, available here, or visit the Digital Lab's website here.

p2i-randrlogoNYSP2I's “Greenovate NYS” competition teams announced  Thirteen graduate and undergrad teams from nine New York State colleges have been selected to participate in “Greenovate NYS” – the third annual R&D Student Competition sponsored by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute. The program goal is for these student teams to identify a significant environmental improvement opportunity on their campus or local community, and create an approach to address it. Anahita Williamson, director of NYSP2I, says “This competition provides an ideal way for students to develop proactive approaches to environmental challenges that will benefit their campuses and communities.” The teams selected to compete are from Clarkson, Cornell, RIT, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Syracuse, St. Lawrence, SUNY College at Cobleskill, University at Stony Brook, and University at Buffalo. Teams will exhibit their projects and present their findings on Earth Day (April 22) at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability; this event is open to the public. For more information, see the RIT news release here or visit the NYSP2I website here. (graphic design by Laura W. Nelson)

NYSP2I Community Grants Program recipients announced   Eight nonprofit organizations and local governments from across New York State have been selected to receive financial and technical assistance for projects that promote and implement pollution-prevention practices at the community level as winners of the 2013-2014 Community Grant Program conducted by The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I). The organizations submitted competitively reviewed proposals for projects ranging from educating restaurant owners and staff about toxic chemicals found in cleaning products to instructing elementary school teachers how to help underserved city youths learn about air pollution through hands-on exercises and active participation. Anahita Williamson, director of NYSP2I, said, “Each of these initiatives will take on challenging environmental opportunities facing communities in all corners of our state.” More than $650,000 in funding has been distributed to support nearly 50 projects by the program to date. For more information on the organizations which have received grants awarded under this year's Community Grants Program, view or download the RIT news release available here.

EPA P3 research grant awarded to GIS team  A student team led by GIS Assistant Professor Dr. Gabrielle Gaustad has won a $15,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2013 EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet phase I grant program. The grant will fund a feasibility study titled “Implementing Practical Pico-hydropower,” which will examine implementing a micro-hydropower system contained entirely within GIS's new Sustainability Institute Hall building. Dr. Gaustad's team will include Matt Burke, Bridget Carney, J.D. Harper, Kate Kruger, Sergey Selyuzhitskiy, and Adam Stoke, all graduate candidates in RIT’s architecture program. Their objective is to test a micro-hydropower unit in the lab, use data from the tests to determine an efficient implementation design, and quantify the economic and environmental impacts. The team will also propose a second phase to integrate the unit into the building's current rainwater collection and storage infrastructure. The GIS grant is one of two P3 awards to the university this year. The other award, also for $15,000, is for a rural sanitation project to be conducted by faculty and students of RIT's Kate Gleason College of Engineering. The EPA's P3 grant program, now in its tenth year, provides incremental funding for collegiate teams to design and develop solutions to real-world environmental challenges. For more information on RIT's grants awarded under the P3 program, view or download the RIT news release available here.

Rochester Business Journal interviews NYSP2I's Williamson   Dr. Anahita Williamson, director of the New York State Pollution Prevention Center of GIS, was the subject of a feature interview published in a recent issue of the Rochester Business Journal. The RBJ profile focuses on her ongoing interest in sustainable manufacturing, beginning when she was hired by Xerox in 2005 as a senior environmental engineer tasked with reducing the amounts and costs associated with industrial waste at the copier company. The technical, communication, and team leadership skills she learned stood her in good stead when she joined NYSP2I four years later. For example, the NYSP2I team works closely with many New York State companies that need to remediate sustainability issues or want to cut operating expenses by improving their environmental footprint, but may be hesitant about the up-front costs involved. "So we’ll do a feasibility study that lays it all out for them. They want to see at the end of the day the value of what we’re doing," she says.“Building relationships with them is so critical. People have to see the value of these projects and understand that we’re there with them to help.” The full article is available to read at NYSP2I website here.

GIS Director presents at World Reman Summit  The Second World Remanufacturing Summit in Shanghai was attended by GIS Director and RIT Associate Provost Dr. Nabil Nasr, who delivered the meeting's keynote address on December 3. Dr. Nasr's presentation, "Assessment of Remanufacturing Environmental and Energy Benefits – An In-depth Analysis," described remanufacturing as a process that can offer life-cycle energy benefits in the case of powered products. He presented detailed case studies involving the remanufacturing of printer cartridges and diesel engines—including the product characteristics that affect the life-cycle energy benefits of the two products. He also quantified the benefits of remanufacturing both of them. This Summit meeting was a follow-on to the initial World Remanufacturing Summit, which was held at the University of Beyreuth, Germany, last year. In 2014, the third Summit conference will be held at RIT and be hosted by GIS. For more information on the Second World Remanufacturing Summit, view or download the RIT news release available here.

Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra tours GIS/RIT  Four representatives from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, a private, Roman Catholic, coeducational, university in the Dominican Republic recently toured the facilities of GIS, CIMS, and RIT as part of RIT's ongoing commitment to global cross-collegiate collaboration under the the Clinton Global Initiative. Visiting GIS were: Prof. Pedro Taveras Nunez, Dean of Engineering; Prof. Maximo Martinez, Director of CITAM; Prof. Julio Ferriera, Director of Telematics Engineering; and Silvio Carrasco, Senior Project Specialist at CITAM. GIS/RIT is partnering with the Universidad to share GIS' model of sustainability education. GIS Director Dr. Nabil Nasr has stated that, "Our ultimate goal is to greatly expand the capacity of partner universities to develop professionals with the expertise to address local/regional short- and long-term economic, environmental, and industrial sustainability needs." (photo by J. Sutherland)

GIS honors Staples' Michael Kent  The Staples Sustainable Innovation Laboratory honored the late Michael Kent, Director of Staples Product Design & Innovation, in a ceremony in Sustainability Hall held November 14, 2013. With members of the Kent family and Staples employees in attendance, GIS Director Dr. Nabil Nasr noted that Kent was a key factor in ensuring the Staples lab was part of the new GIS building. He said that Kent was passionately devoted to planning "greenness" in design, to making things better for the planet without sacrificing the "coolness" factor. "Michael will always challenge us to “look at things differently” for the betterment of the planet and future generations," concluded Dr. Nasr. RIT students created a large mural in honor of Michael Kent on the wall facing the entrance to the lab. (photo by Laura W. Nelson)

Nabil Nasr attends Kenya UN conference  GIS Director and RIT Associate Provost Dr. Nabil Nasr attended the 13th International Resource Panel and its steering committee meeting, held November 4-8 in Naivasha, near the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The panel is co-sponsored by Kenya’s State Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program, and is comprised of international experts working on issues that include sustainable consumption and production, socio-economic policies and trade. Steering committee members include representatives from government, private sector, academia and U.N. agencies. According to Dr. Nasr, “This international expert panel guides the U.N. on its environmental priorities as well as opportunities for cooperation between governmental and non-governmental initiatives." For more information on the panel and its activities, visit the IRP website here.

GIS reman experts instruct at Big R Show  Three short technical courses on remanufacturing techniques and practices were presented to attendees of the 2013 International Big R Show by GIS staff and faculty representing RIT's Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery. This year's Big R Show was held in Las Vegas from November 2-4, and is known as the most widely recognized networking event in the remanufacturing industry. Dr. Eugene Park, assistant director of technical programs at GIS' New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, presented a seminar on advanced cleaning techniques, a unique process in remanufacturing. Dr. Michael Haselkorn, a GIS senior staff engineer and research faculty member spoke on how rapidly changing automotive technology will provide opportunities for remanufacturers and delivered a session on the recovery of valuable components from failed products, including how companies must take advantage of any technologies that can ensure greater recovery opportunities and enhanced quality of products. More information on the Big R Show is available at its website here.

athenaeumGIS poster takes 1st place prize at SyracuseCoE Symposium  Two second-year GIS students were awarded first place prize in the M.S. student poster competition at the 13th Annual Syracuse Center for Excellence Symposium on Urban Reinvention and Resilience, held October 21-22, 2013, at the Convention Center at Oncenter, Syracuse, NY. Daniel Bruton and David Frank (left in photo) were recognized for their work on waste-cooking-oil to-biodiesel conversion (see the news story below for details on this alternative energy research project). In all, GIS students and faculty members delivered 6 oral presentations and 4 poster presentations at the conference. For more information about this year's symposium, visit the SyracuseCoE website here. (photo by Thomas Trabold)

athenaeumGIS cooking-oil-to-biofuel program update  RIT's Athenaeum magazine recently spotlighted progress by GIS Associate Professor Tom Trabold and two second-year master’s students in a wide-ranging study of the feasibility of converting waste cooking oil from campus dining services into biodiesel and heating oil for use by the university. Daniel Bruton and David Frank are now assisting Trabold in refining the conversion technology and evaluating the economics of the process and its environmental footprint. The project builds on an earlier partnership between RIT and the Monroe County Department of Environmental Services during which university researchers developed a used-cooking-oil-to-biodiesel process.
 More information about this ongoing sustainability project is in the Athenaeum article, available here.

p2i-randrlogoNYSP2I's “Greenovate NYS” collegiate competition   The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute is sponsoring its third annual “Greenovate NYS” environmental R&D competition for undergraduate and graduate students at colleges across the state. The goal is for student teams to identify a significant environmental improvement opportunity on their campus or local community, and then devise an approach to address it. Anahita Williamson, director of NYSP2I, says, “This competition encourages students to take a vested interest in their local community while incorporating practical environmental, economic and social considerations in their approach to solving real-world environmental challenges. This year’s competition allows students to expand their work beyond their campuses and partner with organizations in their community to drive sustainable changes.” To be eligible, teams must have two to four members of any major, as well as a faculty or staff adviser. Applications are due November 1 and projects will be selected in December. Selected teams will receive up to $1,000 for project materials. For more information, see the RIT news release here; competition rules and application materials are available on the NYSP2I website here. (graphic design by Laura W. Nelson)

potsdampaperManufacturing Day at GIS.   The Golisano Institute for Sustainability recently hosted a summit conference of business and government leaders to examine the needs for growth in industry in the Greater Rochester region. The meeting was a part of the National Manufacturing Day event held across the United States on the first Friday in October. In a statement to the Rochester Business Journal about GIS involvement in the event, GIS Director Dr. Nabil Nasr said: “Manufacturing, particularly as it relates to sustainability, is a strong area of concentration for GIS because manufacturing remains a key driver of the local, state, national and global economies, and we need to help ensure that it remains that way. To remain competitive in a global marketplace, all companies—both new and established—will need a special edge or niche. I think that sustainability can provide that extra competitive edge for many manufacturers.” During the meeting, he announced that GIS would be cooperating closely with local manufacturers to help them source the kind and number of skilled employees they need, but cannot now find in the labor workforce pool, a subject explored by John Batiste, president of Klein Steel, Inc, shown at the podium in the accompanying photo. For more information, see the Rochester Business Journal story here; local TV coverage is also available here.

potsdampaperPotsdam Paper recognized with P2I award   Significant and sustained reductions in its operations' energy usage and waste output have earned Potsdam Specialty Paper Inc. the Advancement in Cleaner Production Award from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, a unit of RIT/GIS. The award was presented to the company during a ceremony at the Upstate New York paper mill on August 1. It recognizes PSPI's investments that have reduced the company's environmental footprint through improved fiber recovery, a nearly 4M kW-h decrease in electric power consumption, and rail infrastructure improvements that have cut annual transport CO2 emissions by nearly 4.5 tons. “The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute is pleased to recognize Potsdam Specialty Paper for its leadership in environmental and sustainability initiatives,” said P2I Director Dr. Anahita Williamson. “PSPI is a great example of how proactive New York businesses can leverage available support to directly tie improved environmental performance with economic benefits for a win-win.” For more information, see local media coverage available here. (PSPI facility photo courtesy of the Development Authority of the North Country)

washpostGIS' Eric Williams cited in e-waste article  A recent story in the Washington Post by Brian Palmer titled "My TiVo died. How do I deal with the e-waste?" featured commentary by GIS Associate Professor Dr. Eric Williams on the positive economic impact of not landfilling electronic waste such as broken or obsolete computers, TVs, and peripherals. Williams noted that the energy embedded in products manufactured from scratch can be surprisingly high. According to a a study he conducted, manufacturing a computer requires 11 times as much fossil fuels by weight as the finished computer itself weighs. In contrast, a modern automobile needs only twice its weight in fossil fuels to produce. Landfilling a computer means the energy that went into its production is lost. If all or part of that computer was recycled or repurposed, some or most of the expensive embedded energy would be saved. The full article is available at the Washington Post website here.

greenroofbutterflyGIS joins Butterfly Beltway Project  Colorful new residents are being welcomed to Sustainability Institute Hall's fourth-floor outdoor green roof sustainability area. It's all part of GIS' partnership with the Butterfly Beltway Project, a one-plot-at-a-time initiative of Rochester's Seneca Park Zoo to rebuild and restore habitats for migrating butterflies. According to the zoo, "Project partners host gardens which provide food, shelter and a place to lay eggs for the Monarch butterfly, one of the areas's most important pollinators. The Monarch is also a key indictor of how healthy our environment is." Last year, zoo volunteers created special garden areas on the roof with plants specially selected to attract native butterfly species. monarchNow that the plants are healthy and mature, zoo staff returned in early August to release a swarm of Monarch butterflies, which will hopefully adopt the green roof as their new summertime home. For more information on the Butterfly Beltway Project, visit the Seneca Park Zoo website here. (photo by Laura W. Nelson)

gisgrads2013Eight graduate at 2013 GIS Commencement   The eight members of GIS' Class of 2013 received their Ph.D. and M.S. diplomas at commencement ceremonies held inside Sustainability Institute Hall on the afternoon of Friday, May 17. Doctoral graduates were: Dr. Matthew Ganter, Dr. Christopher Schauerman, Dr. Mark Krystofik, and Dr. Jiefeng Lin. Masters graduates were: Kim Bawden, Ana Maria Leal Yepes, Mona Komeijani, and Matthew Rankin. GIS faculty and staff acknowledge and appreciate the tremendous effort and dedication shown by every graduate, and we pass along our sincerest hopes and best wishes for rewarding new careers in sustainability. For more information and photos of the GIS graduates, family and friends, see our Facebook page. (photo by J. Sutherland)

imaginerit2013GIS shines at Imagine RIT festival   Students, faculty, staff and facilities of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability were among the "stars" of the 2013 Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival, held May 4. A popular working exhibit at GIS' newly dedicated Sustainability Institute Hall was a “backyard biodigester” run by Associate Professor Dr. Thomas Trabold with Ph.D. student Jackie Ebner. They entertained spectators interested in learning about how bio-fuel can be made from kitchen scraps or organic waste; the digester team displayed a model built from a supplies anyone could buy at a hardware store. Another major GIS exhibit, this one on electronics recycling, and headed by Assistant Professor Dr. Gabrielle Gaustad, won the Xerox Sponsor's Award for the festival's best exhibit. Visitors touring Sustainability Hall also saw exhibits explaining the building's advanced sustainable energy production systems and green construction techniques that have practical applications in the commercial and residential construction industry. For more information and lots of photos of GIS people and projects at Imagine RIT, go to our Facebook page, read the RIT news release here, and see the local news coverage here. (photo by Andy Harlan)

p2i-randrlogoP2I student sustainability competition winners announced   The winners in the second annual R&D student competition focusing on campus-wide applications of sustainability held by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, a unit of RIT/GIS, were announced May 1. Teams from The City University of New York College of Staten Island (CUNY-CSI), Syracuse University and The New School in New York City earned top honors at the graduate level, while Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson University and RIT finished in the top three schools among undergraduates. CUNY-CSI captured first place in the graduate level for devising a plan to use sunlight and a unique nanomaterial to decompose organic wastes generated by the college’s instructional laboratories before they are disposed. The top-ranked undergraduate team from RPI was recognized for identifying ways to replace incandescent and fluorescent bulbs—initially within five main buildings before scaling the project to the rest of the campus once it was determined the initiative would result in energy savings. For more on the contest and all the winners, see the RIT news release available here. (graphic design by Laura W. Nelson)

dedicationSustainability Institute Hall dedicated   Sustainability Institute Hall, the new home of Golisano Institute for Sustainability on the RIT campus, was formally dedicated in ceremonies on Friday, April 12. The 84,000-square-foot “living lab” represents RIT’s commitment to the environment through research and academic programs. GIS plans to host an open house for the RIT community later this spring. The building will also be showcased during Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on Saturday, May 4. To learn more about the building, including virtual tours, download the GIS mobile app available at iTunes and Google Play. For more information about the building dedication, see the RIT news release available here. A video of the ceremonies, which includes a glimpse of current GIS academic and research activities, is viewable at RIT's YouTube channel here. (photo by A. Sue Weisler)

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