Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems

The Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems Headquarters Building is a new 55,000 sq ft research center for a federation of more than two hundred institutes, corporations and academic programs that collaborate on the research and promotion of environmentally responsible technologies.

Considered a “living lab,” the facility is located on a remediated brownfield site that anchors the corridor connecting the city center and the university campus. The building provides a new space for the SyracuseCoE’s collaborative research and demonstration projects, in the areas of indoor environmental quality, clean energy and energy efficiency. Unlike traditional introverted research centers, many of the lab environments are on public display, visually communicating the research taking place within the institution. The laboratories are organized along a circulation path that acts as a gallery, creating an open and inviting architecture to draw the public to the site. In addition to specialized research facilities, the headquarters houses offices for the SyracuseCoE, classrooms, public spaces, and ‘start up’ business incubation space.

Slated to receive a LEED Platinum certification, the building incorporates a variety of sustainable design strategies. Extensive research was conducted with consultants, engineers and scientists to maximize the building’s potential to harvest sustainable energy resources from its own footprint.

A geothermal borefield provides half of the heating and cooling needs through more than five miles of tubing installed in forty-nine 300-foot-deep wells. Radiant heating and cooling and displacement ventilation reduce the building’s demand for mechanically driven air. A laboratory exhaust stack reduces fan energy as air from labs is exhausted at lower speeds compared to conventional designs. An energy recovery ventilator exchanges heat and moisture between outgoing and incoming air streams, significantly reducing the amount of energy required to condition incoming air.

The building’s relatively narrow width promotes daylighting and natural ventilation, while the energy-efficient north and south long facades optimize solar radiation in the winter. The south façade features highly insulated glass with integrated electronically controlled blinds that provide solar heat and glare control. In addition, the façade incorporates a prototype test bay which is currently testing a solar power façade system that tracks the sun’s motion and uses lenses to concentrate sunlight 500 times, generating both electricity and heat.

A green roof tests six varieties of sedum, thermally insulating the area below. The green roof was also designed to allow future installation of photovoltaics, and rooftop wind turbines.

Recycled and non-V.O.C.-emitting materials used throughout the building lower embodied energy costs and foster better indoor air quality. Interior insulation uses a 100% soy-based foam while exterior insulation boards were created from sustainable natural fiber materials. Furniture is made of recycled materials and FSC wood products, and is 100% recyclable.

Among the several research and demonstration assets found in the building, the Carrier Total Indoor Environmental Quality (TIEQ) Lab is the only research facility of its kind in the world, a space to conduct controlled experiments on the human response to indoor environment (temperature, air quality, odor, light, etc).


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