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Designed to be 66 percent more efficient than a typical building, The Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) is a multidisciplinary academic facility situated on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus. The mission of GIS is to undertake world class education and research missions in sustainability.
Inside of GIS, academic and research programs focus on sustainable production, sustainable energy, sustainable mobility, and ecologically friendly information technology systems.
Cutting edge technology has been incorporated into every inch of the 84,000 square foot building. Solar panels span the roof from end to end and three wind turbines tower above the entrance. The facility was designed to exceed LEED Platinum, the highest standard that can be achieved. The building’s primary energy source is a fuel cell that produces 400 kilowatts of continuous electric power. Heat generated from the fuel cell is also used to heat this and other buildings on campus.
The micro grid system takes energy from multiple sources, including the wind turbines and solar panels, and stores it in a battery bank to provide 50 kilowatt hours of power for some of the building’s lights and electrical outlets.
This large project included the collaboration of four divisions at O’Connell Electric: Construction, Communications, TEGG, and the Solar Division. Overall, O’Connell was responsible for nearly the entire electrical package throughout the building’s construction. We installed the high voltage service to the building, a fire alarm system, the data system, the fuel cell described above, a fuel cell lab for research and testing, an engine diagnostics lab for research and testing, a unique lighting system incorporating new technology, occupancy sensors, a micro power grid, and we installed the wiring throughout the heat treated windows.
One of the first systems in the Rochester, NY area, the micro grid consists of 180 solar modules totaling 43.2 kilowatts, three wind turbines, a state-of-the-art room to house the battery system, a fuel cell, and transfer switches to control everything. The lighting system utilizes daylight controls that measure the amount of daylight in a room and dims the lights accordingly. Occupancy sensors coordinate with the HVAC system, lighting system, and specific power outlets, which work to control the environment of individual rooms as people enter and leave. The electrical wiring throughout the heated windows prevents the transfer of hot and cold air during the winter months.