Research Highlights / Full Story

The RIT campus is undergoing a transformation that has gained it recognition as a Campus Sustainability Leader, according to the Sustainability Endowment Institute. Dr. Robert Garrick, associate professor in the College for Applied Science and Technology (CAST), along with his students, is embracing the movement and working with RIT's Facilities Management Services (FMS) and external companies to integrate and evaluate smart building technologies throughout the RIT campus.

From the new Global Village complex to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold and platinum certified buildings, the campus provides a perfect test bed for students to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom. In partnership with FMS and external companies, students examine the building systems to assess efficiencies and look for opportunities to better integrate building sub-systems. By understanding how the systems operate and their efficiency, students strive to improve building performance and human comfort.

For example, the team of students and FMS staff has deployed solar sensors in Engineering Technology Hall and University Services Center to enable better building control by understanding solar exposure. By knowing the solar energy, the team strives to improve the control of the heating and air conditioning systems.

"One of the challenges of the LEED certified buildings is maintaining human comfort while maintaining energy efficiency," explains Garrick, who is also the recipient of the 2009-10 Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching. "If we can improve building sub-systems integration the efficiency will be even greater."

The students are also developing an experiment with the new residence halls at RIT's Global Village. The team proposes that smart energy performance meters be installed in each dormitory and provide real-time energy consumption data. The research results would uncover the human interaction issues that must be addressed to allow smart energy meters to achieve their intent.