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)
GIS Faculty openings posted Applications are currently being invited for two (2) open full-time, tenure-track/tenured faculty positions at The Golisano Institute for Sustainability. Summary descriptions are listed below; click on the links to view the full job details.
-- Instructional Faculty, GIS Academic Program: Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of Sustainability. The successful applicant will be a leading expert or demonstrate the potential to be a leading expert in one or more of the four areas of research expertise at GIS: Sustainable Production Systems; Sustainable Energy Systems; Sustainable Mobility; and Eco-IT. The successful applicant will have a demonstrated record or demonstrated potential in graduate teaching and mentoring, working in multidisciplinary teams, and publishing peer-reviewed, scholarly research. Demonstrated success or significant potential to succeed in securing external funding to support research with Ph.D. students is critical. Duties of the positions include conducting sponsored research, mentoring graduate students, and developing and teaching one or more graduate core courses and electives in the Sustainability Ph.D. and Sustainable Systems M.S. programs. Core courses include the Fundamentals of Sustainability Science, Industrial Ecology, Risk Analysis, Economics of Sustainability, Multi-criteria Decision Analysis, and Technology, Policy, and Sustainability. (Requisition Number 851BR)
-- Instructional Faculty, Master of Architecture Program: Assistant or Associate Professor. The Master of Architecture Program in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology is seeking applicants for a tenured or tenure track position at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor. Individuals must possess an impeccable record of, and teaching passion in, design inquiry and exploration grounded in building sciences, human factors, and ecological literacy. Requirements include a professional degree in architecture, (B Arch, M Arch, or D Arch) or a Ph.D. in a field related to architecture. The successful candidate will be responsible for teaching graduate studios, technical courses, and theory seminars as well as scholarship responsibility with particular focus on high performance design inquiry and energy modeling. In addition, opportunities for cross-teaching and research within GIS’s Ph.D. and Master of Science programs, College of Imaging Arts & Sciences (CIAS), and the College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) and Engineering programs will also be encouraged. Please refer to the list of required minimum qualifications (viewable in the link above) for additional details. We are seeking an individual who has the ability and interest in contributing to a community committed to Student Centeredness; Professional Development and Scholarship; Integrity and Ethics; Respect, Diversity and Pluralism; Innovation and Flexibility; and Teamwork and Collaboration. (Requisition Number 850BR)
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 Jim 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 Jim 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)