Sustainability Institute Hall, the home of Golisano Institute for Sustainability on the RIT campus, itself functions as a large-scale four-story testbed for numerous sustainability technologies. It features an advanced high efficiency envelope, and generates more energy than is consumed through a combination of solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal, and a fuel cell configured for combined heat and power. The building has thousands of sensor channels to support optimized building control and to monitor performance.
This “smart building” is equipped to produce energy and monitor its own usage through a combination of solar panels on the roof, three wind turbines, an eight-well geothermal heating/cooling system, and a 400 kilowatt fuel cell, all overseen by an intelligent microgrid energy tracking system. Sustainability Hall also serves as a testbed for energy efficient building materials and practices. It is designed to consume less than half the energy consumed by other buildings of its size, thanks to special features such as an abundance of natural lighting, highly efficient insulating window glass, and a sunshade system that reduces summertime heat buildup from the sun. These and many other state-of-the-art design elements will enable Sustainability Hall to serve not only as a center for sustainability investigation and learning, but also as a unique research tool for whole-building design and functionality.