Cutting-edge technology is deeply rooted in RIT’s new Sustainability Institute Hall
Fuel cell, microgrid and massive green wall among features that add to building’s wow factor
April 12, 2013
by Rich Kiley
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The newly dedicated home of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability represents the ultimate manifestation of Rochester Institute of Technology’s commitment to sustainability. Building highlights include:
Fuel cell: A ClearEdge Power (formerly UTC Power) Model 400 Purecell System is the 84,000-square-foot building’s primary energy source, producing 400 kilowatts of continuous electric power. Any excess electricity goes into the campus power grid.
Microgrid: This system takes variable power inputs from all sources (including solar panels and three electricity-generating wind turbines on the building’s north side) and stores energy in a battery bank to provide 50 kilowatt-hours of power.
Geothermal system: Liquid will circulate from eight wells drilled into the ground through pipes in the galleria floor, helping to keep it warm in winter and cool in summer.
Green roof: An open-air terrace on the third floor features large areas of sedum and plantings that are part of Rochester’s Seneca Park Zoo Butterfly Beltway project. The green roof also provides some insulation value, and, most importantly, absorbs runoff from rain and snow.
Water conservation: The building is designed to be 66 percent more efficient than a typical structure. Rainwater, for example, is collected and filtered and used to flush the toilets.
Green Wall: An 8-foot-wide, 38-foot-tall area near the west entrance contains 1,776 green plants, contributing to air quality as well as aesthetics.