Gabrielle 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.
Sustainability 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.
GIS 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.
World 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.
RIT 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.
$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.
Sustainability 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)
NSF 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.
GIS' 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.
Congratulations 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.
GIS 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.
RIT/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.
NYSP2I'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.
GIS 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)
GIS 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.
NYSP2I'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)
Manufacturing 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.
Potsdam 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)
GIS' 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.
GIS 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. Now 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)
Eight 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)
GIS 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 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)
Sustainability 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)