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Clarkson University Achieves LEED Gold Certification for Technology Advancement Center

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Clarkson University President Tony Collins announced today that Clarkson’s new Technology Advancement Center (TAC) building has received LEED Gold certification, due to its state-of-the-art heating and cooling, passive solar and rainwater collection systems, and many other innovations.

Clarkson University’s new Technology Advancement Center (TAC) building has received LEED Gold certification. Left to right: Prof. Alan Rossner, Janessa Scott, New York State Senator Joseph A. Griffo, Clarkson President Tony Collins, New York State Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, Shannon Robinson, Prof. Susan Powers, Prof. Martin Heintzelman, and Ian Hazen.The announcement was made this afternoon at a campuswide sustainability celebration event, attended by New York State Senator Joseph A. Griffo and New York State Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally-recognized green building certification system, developed by the non-profit United States Green Building Council for high performance energy-efficient and environmentally friendly buildings.

"When we broke ground for the Technology Advancement Center in 2007, our goal was to achieve LEED Gold certification," said Collins. "We have achieved that goal because of our total commitment to being a green campus -- in our facilities, in the way that we operate, and in the research performed by our students, faculty and staff. LEED Gold for TAC acknowledges our efforts in a very visible way. Clarkson University is a learning and living environment where our students not only hear the talk, but they walk the walk."

"It is fitting to celebrate the achievement of the college’s solution to its energy concerns, because this is a campus whose graduates go forth to solve problems at all levels of our society," said Griffo. "From students who will go forth to pursue basic and applied research, to those who will roll up their sleeves and help industry see old problems in new ways, this is a starting point for changes that will ripple their way through our communities in the years to come."

"Clarkson once again is leading the way in science and technology with its commitment to the highest level of energy efficient and environmentally friendly practices," said Russell. "This university contributes to creating cutting edge technology and puts it into practice. It is not only committed to the academic pursuit of efficiency and sustainability, it implements the technology, practicing what it preaches. Clarkson leads by example, and demonstrates that the sum of all the parts of a project can truly add up to far greater achievement when special attention is paid to even the most basic components of a plan. I congratulate Clarkson and the entire design and build team on this exceptional achievement and thank them for their commitment to environmentally friendly practices."

The 16,000-square-foot TAC connects the main library and computing space with the University's largest academic teaching building, providing critical laboratory and collaboration space for accelerating the development of research, especially in the fields of renewable energy and clean manufacturing technology.

"This LEED certification demonstrates Clarkson’s commitment to sustainable facilities and practices," says Shannon Robinson, project manager for construction. "It is our intent to continue to meet or exceed standard sustainable building practices because of their many benefits, helping to preserve the environment for future generations. 

"This is a major achievement for the entire design and construction team: Berkowsky & Associates (architect), Northeast Construction (contractor), Stantec (commissioning & energy consultant), and Clarkson University, and is a testimonial to our commitment to a collaborative construction process, vision and diligence."

TAC was constructed with a $5 million grant from Empire State Development (ESD), the State of New York's economic development leader and a development partner with the University on its the downtown campus technology and business incubator project.

TAC is designed and constructed in accordance with Clarkson's commitment to the environment. The building's heating, air conditioning, and electrical power requirements are met not by a central power plant and high voltage transmission lines, but by three small microturbine units. The system is 62-percent efficient, versus the 30-percent efficiency of a central power system.

The building also features:

- Solar panels, providing heating for TAC’s potable hot water system for energy savings of 35 percent

- A rainwater harvesting system that is used to collect roof runoff and use it to flush plumbing appliances, reducing potable water usage by 38.5 percent; low-flush toilets and low-flow faucets reduce potable water use by additional 37.5 percent.

- Additional rainwater being cleaned and returned to the ground for aquifer recharge

- A "green" energy-efficient elevator made of recycled materials, using 1/3 less electricity without risk of soil contamination from hydraulic fluid

- Significant south-facing window systems for daylight harvesting, with natural light in 80 percent of all public spaces

- Sensors measuring the natural light entering the building to adjust the use of electrically produced lighting

- HVAC systems engineered to facilitate individual room temperature control with variable air valves

- A white roofing system to reduce greatly the building's heat island

- High-efficiency air filtration systems to decrease the electrical requirements and improve the building's air quality

-Material that came from within 500 miles, reducing transportation energy use; and recycled materials, like Potsdam sandstone

- Motion sensors and daylight sensors to curtail energy usage when no one is in a room or when daylight is sufficiently adequate

- Exterior lighting only for safety and comfort, not for aesthetics

In addition, low-emission and fuel-efficient vehicle use is encouraged by offering restricted, convenient parking spaces, with no new parking spaces, thereby maintaining green space. At least 50 percent of TAC's wood was produced using environmentally-sensitive, forest-harvesting procedures. Hazardous particulates are filtered at the building entryway by high efficiency air filters. And more than half of the construction debris was recycled.

The partnership with ESD is complemented by Clarkson's longstanding relationship with the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), which is now a division of ESD. NYSTAR designated Clarkson's Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP) a NYSTAR Center for Advanced Technology (CAT) in 1988 and renewed its third decade of funding in 2008.

The TAC laboratories are the northern satellite of the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (CoE). This entity, a public/private research and development partnership, was established by NYSTAR to promote the creation of jobs and wealth by developing technologies to improve health, productivity, security, and sustainability in built and urban environments. TAC enables CoE to apply its mission to rural environments, which create significant renewable energy resource opportunities.

In addition to research laboratories, work areas supporting K-12 outreach programming encourage college bound students into technological careers through the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program. This activity is both critical and integral to the long term success of the mission of Clarkson's Center for Sustainable Energy Systems.

State funding included meeting and training rooms for faculty/student research teams to collaborate with industrial researchers on energy projects currently funded by the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority, NYSTAR, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and related agencies and industries.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University’s new Technology Advancement Center (TAC) building has received LEED Gold certification. Left to right: Prof. Alan Rossner, Janessa Scott, New York State Senator Joseph A. Griffo, Clarkson President Tony Collins, New York State Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, Shannon Robinson, Prof. Susan Powers, Prof. Martin Heintzelman, and Ian Hazen.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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