Funding Opportunity Announcement – 2022 Faculty Fellows

Proposals are invited from faculty researchers for innovative research and development efforts in SyracuseCoE’s focus areas: clean and renewable energy, energy-efficiency and healthy buildings and water resources. Up to $25,000 is available. Faculty from academic partner institutions are encouraged to apply.

GEB 101: Concepts, Applications and Challenges

This presentation gives the basics of a Grid-Interactive Efficient Building (GEB) strategy, created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), aiming to optimize across distributed energy resources (DERs) to advance the role buildings can play in energy system operations and planning.

Podcast: EPIC Buildings – Project Kickoff Webinar

SyracuseCoE held a kickoff webinar showcasing the new EPIC Buildings program based on a $750,000 award from the U.S. Department of Energy to accelerate development and commercialization of innovations for energy hardware innovations, in NYS.

Podcast: COVID Safety in Schools: A New Variant for a New Year

Widespread school closings, like we’ve seen through the COVID-19 pandemic, create long-term individual and societal costs. It is in the best interest of children and families for schools to remain open. To do that, every effort must be made to keep children healthy. This podcast features Harvard researcher and exposure science expert Joseph Allen and East Syracuse Minoa School Superintendent Donna DeSiato, who describe the most valuable exposure reduction strategies and how they can be effectively implemented in schools, even with limited budgets and staff.

2021 Innovation Showcase & BBQ

SyracuseCoE warmly welcomed back friends and collaborators as we celebrated the many accomplishments of student-supported projects at the 2021 SyracuseCoE Innovation Showcase and Summer BBQ. Exhibits and posters were displayed featuring innovative projects, ideas and research, including:

  • Student summer internship projects
  • Student researchers working with SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows and in SyracuseCoE Labs
  • Syracuse University Industrial Assessment Center Projects
  • Signature research projects led by faculty

2021 Innovation Showcase Posters

SyracuseCoE – Density Collaboration Leads to Green Spaces, Big Returns

Together, SyracuseCoE researchers and SyracuseCoE Partner Density have developed a novel occupant-centric building management system using specialized sensor technologies, leading to reduced energy use and refined performance.

Click here to read the full story in The Central New York Business Journal.

Density designs and manufactures technology that measures how people use space in order to make better use of the space we have.

How Should We Set Pandemic Capacity Limits for Restaurants & Bars?

Eric A. Schiff, Ph.D., interim director of SyracuseCoE and Professor in the Department of Physics at Syracuse University, authored a brief about the capacity limits of bars and restaurants in relation to disease transmission. To learn more about other scenarios that health officials could use, including the consideration of indoor ventilation systems and further recommendations, read the full article here.

Eric Schiff Speaks with Paste Magazine on Indoor Transmission and Mask Wearing

As vaccinations rates rise across the U.S. and restrictions begin to be eased, you may be considering going out to your favorite bar or club. But as the pandemic continues, just how relaxed can we be? Interim Director Eric Schiff spoke with Paste Magazine to discuss the reopening of venues and indoor transmission of COVID-19.

“To wear a mask just for, let’s say, 10 minutes on the hour at the most, when you go to the bar or the bathroom, leaving 50 minutes of unmasked breathing—that would be almost no protection,” Schiff said.

Read the full article here.

Podcast: Reopening Restaurants: How safe is it to dine-in again?

A SyracuseCoE expert panel discussion on reopening restaurants: How safe is it to dine-in again? What should restaurant-goers take into consideration before reserving that table? What can restaurateurs do to make indoor dining safer? Podcast available.

Toward Resilience: Helping Companies and Faculty Develop Innovations Targeting COVID-19 and Healthy Environments

In 2020, the world faced unprecedented challenges, requiring governments, communities, businesses, schools and families to quickly re-think their approach to health and safety in the built environment. As it became clear that indoor air quality and aerosol spread was critical to the transmission of the virus, SyracuseCoE used its voice to promote essential and informed discourse designed to advance a more COVID-resilient built environment. Looking ahead into a post-pandemic world, SyracuseCoE will continue to be a hub for researchers and companies to drive innovation and create a more resilient built environment. Read more here.

SyracuseCoE Accepting Applications for 2021 Innovation Fund, Deadline March 11th

Proposals for up to $10,000 are invited from current SyracuseCoE Partner companies for the first round of the 2021 Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund is funded by member companies of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program to help Partners overcome barriers in the process of commercializing potentially transformative innovations. Visit the Innovation Fund Projects page to see how other Partners have used these funds.

Up to $3,000 Available for SyracuseCoE Partners to Hire Summer Intern

SyracuseCoE is now accepting applications from its Partners for up to $3,000 to fund a summer intern through the 2021 Summer Industry Collaboration Internship Program. The program supports paid internship opportunities for SyracuseCoE Partner Program companies to host a student pursuing a degree in science, engineering, or architecture. This opportunity allows the student to gain crucial knowledge, develop valuable industry relationships, and refine their technical skills by engaging in hands-on work at SyracuseCoE Partner firms related to SyracuseCoE focus areas: indoor environmental quality (IEQ), high performance/green building, clean and renewable energy, and water resources.

Trends from Wastewater Testing: Pharmaceutical and Illicit Drug Use are Higher in Places where COVID-19 is More Prevalent

Wastewater testing is increasingly used worldwide to monitor trends in pharmaceutical and illicit drug use. Between April and July of 2020, wastewater samples from six sewer systems in Onondaga County, NY were tested to assess pharmaceutical and illicit drug use patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study demonstrates the need to establish regional and national wastewater testing initiatives to monitor COVID-19 spread and its implications for prescription and illicit drug use.

Faculty Fellow Bing Dong to Chair Seminar at the 2021 ASHRAE Virtual Winter Conference

SyracuseCoE researcher Bing Dong will be chairing a seminar called “The Impact of COVID-19 on Building Energy Consumption, IAQ and Occupant Behavior” at the 2021 ASHRAE Virtual Winter Conference, taking place February 9th – 11th. Bing Dong is a Faculty Fellow researching smart building controls in the Total Indoor Environmental Quality (TIEQ) Lab and is also an Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University.

Podcast: Unexpected New Directions for the Future of Green Building

Ian Shapiro, co-author of the newly released Green Building Illustrated, 2nd Edition, joins Dr. Nina Sharifi, an Assistant Professor of Architectural Technology at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture, to talk about updates to the new edition of the book. The new edition continues to create a typology through strategy, theory and standards, while building the visual lexicon for sustainable design and construction. Students, faculty, practitioners and green building advocates – tune in to join the conversation about new directions in green building!

Good Life CNY is Bringing Job Seekers to CNY Companies Looking for Talent

With support from SyracuseCoE and others, a CenterState CEO project, Good Life CNY, aims to highlight Central New York as a region of growing opportunity for those looking to relocate. Visitors to the site, launched almost one year ago, can find information on the housing market, local schools, and job opportunities. Any individuals looking to relocate to the area or companies in the CNY region looking for skilled employees can learn more at

Four Startups Join SyracuseCoE Partner Program

SyracuseCoE is welcoming four startups to the Partner Program: Elizion Tech, IoT Right, Urbata Inc., and Well Building Controls. Visit the Partner webpage or contact Tammy Rosanio at for more information about SyracuseCoE’s Partner Program.

SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund Awards $40,000 to Companies for COVID Related Commercialization

SyracuseCoE has awarded $40,000 to four partner companies through the second round of the 2020 Innovation Fund. For this round, partners were invited to submit proposals in SyracuseCoE core focus areas that directly address the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to leverage the region’s great capabilities in indoor air quality to reduce disease transmission in the built environment. The Innovation Fund is funded by member companies of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program and aims to help companies advance product development and technological innovation.

Semi-Open Partitions: A Defense Strategy for Airborne Disease

Airborne virus-containing particles exhaled from individuals speaking, breathing, or coughing are considered a significant source of spread for COVID-19. There are several well-known measures that reduce risk: masks for all individuals, increased ventilation through the central system or windows, and portable air purifiers. This brief summarizes two more measures that work by modifying how air flows within a room. These have been studied by Meng Kong and Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang, who are Syracuse University faculty affiliated with SyracuseCoE.

Call for Abstracts for IBPC 2021

The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has announced a call for abstracts for IBPC 2021, the 8th International Building Physics Conference. The International Building Physics Conference (IBPC) takes place every 3 years and is the conference of the International Association of Building Physics (IABP). The previous conference, IBPC2018 was held in Syracuse, NY and jointly organized by SyracuseCoE, College of Engineering and Computer Science and School of Architecture.

Channel 9 Visits SyracuseCoE to explore COVID-19 Research

Channel 9 stopped by to see how SyracuseCoE is helping Partner companies create and innovate technologies that address the COVID-19 pandemic. One such partner is Acumen Detection, who has shifted from building technology to test pathogens in cows to creating a molecular assay diagnostic test for real-time PCR for COVID-19.

SyracuseCoE IAQ Expert Featured in the Wall Street Journal

SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow and air quality expert Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang was invited to discuss ways to improve your home’s air quality for the Wall Street Journal, including air filters, purifiers, fans, and, most importantly, fresh air from outside. In light of COVID-19 and wildfires burning across the west coast, keeping your home well ventilated and air clean is a critical factor in keeping yourself and your family safe.

Professor Zhang was also joined by leading IAQ experts Joseph Allen, Healthy Buildings Program director at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Max Sherman, residential team leader of the Epidemic Task Force at the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, and Jeffrey Siegel, civil engineering professor at the University of Toronto.

WAER visits SyracuseCoE to see how air handling systems can help prevent COVID-19 spread.

WAER’s John Smith interviewed SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang and SyracuseCoE Researcher Meng Kong and took a tour of the TIEQ lab to learn more about how ventilation can affect COVID-19 spread.

“This system we can set-up the conditions so that everyone gets their own filtered, clean air… which can prevent cross-contamination in the case of Coronavirus infection, we can really control that,” Zhang says.

To listen or read the full article, click here.

SyracuseCoE Interim Executive Director featured in article on efficiency of masks and air purifiers

SyracuseCoE Interim Executive Director Eric Schiff was interviewed by the publication for his recent paper on potential transmission rates in the classroom. With poor ventilation and no masks, one super-spreader, someone who is 100% more infectious than a typical carrier, has the potential to transmit COVID-19 to 80% of students in a 20 person classroom. With proper mask wearing and sufficient ventilation, that rate can drop to 5%.

To read the full article, click here. To access Schiff’s paper, click here.

Two Faculty Fellows Appointed to NYS Climate Action Council Advisory Panels

Two SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows, Robert Malmsheimer and Tristan Brown, have been appointed to New York State Climate Action Council Advisory Panels. The panels are tasked with determining possible emission reductions to help meet statewide emissions limits as well as outlining policy proposals or action plans in order to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Podcast: Air Purifiers & Airflows: Minimizing COVID-19 Risk in Classrooms

Students are heading back to classrooms. Undetected, there may be one who’s infected by COVID-19. Beyond masking, what are the options for teachers and administrators to minimize the spread of disease through the air? Join us as we talk with Central New York experts about how air can be replaced or purified to help protect classmates and teachers. When do portable air purifiers make a difference if a superspreader is in the room? How do I choose purifiers that will be effective and economical? Where should I place them? How can I understand how air moves in my room? What are the possibilities for rearranging the flow to minimize the risk of disease transmission?

Ventilation & Masks: Reducing Airborne Transmission of COVID-19 in a Classroom

We’ve calculated the number of COVID-19 infections that will be spread from a single COVID-19 “superspreader” to students and teachers in a classroom shared for 4 hours. Without masking and with a low ventilation rate, nearly all susceptible students and teachers will be infected. Neither masking nor ventilation alone is sufficient to reduce the infection rate below 10%. Careful use of surgical masks along with good ventilation reduced the estimated infection rate to 2%.

Understanding Organic Pollutants in Waterways

Teng Zeng, Ph.D., is an Assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University. In a project with Sharon Moran, associate professor of environmental studies at SUNY-ESF, Zeng is collaborating with the Upstate Freshwater Institute and New York State Federation of Lake Associations, making use of a citizen science approach to look at patterns of organic pollutants in more than 100 New York lakes. Zeng analyzes water samples collected by volunteers—typically lakefront residents—and communicates findings back to them.

SyracuseCoE Invites Innovation Fund Proposals that Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

Proposals for up to $10,000 are invited from current SyracuseCoE Partner companies for round 2 of the 2020 Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund is funded by SyracuseCoE’s Partner Program to help Partners overcome barriers in the process of commercializing potentially transformative innovations.

The COVID-19 public health emergency has had an unprecedented impact on our nation’s economic health and well-being. Companies throughout New York State are contributing to solutions addressing these challenges, from developing new applications for existing products to complete transformation of manufacturing operations to produce items most needed by frontline workers. To support these efforts, proposals are restricted for this round to innovations that specifically target the COVID-19 public health crisis and are consonant with the Center’s focal areas: indoor environmental quality, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and water resources.

Podcast: Experts Agree on Aerosol Transmission of COVID-19: How Can Schools Manage Indoor Air to Stop the Spread?


View our other Research & Technology Forums and Podcasts

Panelist Dr. Jensen Zhang is an associate editor of the professional ASHRAE journal, Science and Technology for the Built Environment. Read his recently published editorial, Integrating IAQ control strategies to reduce the risk of asymptomatic SARS CoV-2 infections in classrooms and open plan offices.

A new school year is beginning soon. Understanding the ventilation and air quality of indoor spaces is critically important. From improved ventilation modifications, to HVAC and air filtration, to physical modification of spaces, this podcast discusses the current knowledge of how to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in indoor environments.

With strong recommendations from 239 scientists from 32 countries, including faculty from Syracuse University, the World Health Organization is now acknowledging the evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through aerosol droplets. Viral particles become airborne when people sneeze, cough, sing, talk or breath.

As students return to campuses and classrooms, how can faculty, teachers and building managers optimize ventilation and filtration strategies to help keep students and faculty healthy?


Cliff I. Davidson, Thomas C. and Colleen L. Wilmot Professor of Engineering, Environmental Engineering Program Director of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University

Cliff Davidson is the Thomas and Colleen Wilmot Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY. He also serves as Director of Environmental Engineering Programs, and Director of the Center for Sustainable Engineering. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering Science from California Institute of Technology. Following his PhD, he joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty where he stayed for 33 years in the Department of Civil Engineering (currently Civil and Environmental Engineering) and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. He moved to Syracuse University in 2010.

Davidson’s research background is in the area of air quality, especially aerosol interaction with surfaces, including surfaces of fibers in a face mask or filter. He has also worked on environmental sustainability in other areas, such as the design of sustainable cities, the effectiveness of green roofs in reducing urban stormwater runoff, educational innovations for teaching sustainable engineering, and identifying the preferences of individuals and organizations for strategies to adapt to climate change. He has published over 130 papers in refereed journals and another 100 papers in peer-reviewed conference proceedings and book chapters. He has served on the editorial boards of four scientific journals, and is a Fellow in three national organizations, including the American Association for Aerosol Research, where he also served as President. He has recently been chosen as the 2021-2022 Distinguished Lecturer by the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors.

Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University and Visiting Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Nanjing University, China

Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang is Professor and Director of Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University (SU), New York, USA, and a Visiting Professor and Chief Researcher of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Nanjing University, China. He received his Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked at National Research Council of Canada for 8 years before he joined SU.

Dr. Zhang is a co-leader of the SU-wide research cluster in Energy and Environment that promotes and coordinates multi-disciplinary research on the campus. He is an expert in room air and contaminant distribution, material emissions, air purification, building enclosure performance, and combined heat, air, moisture and pollutant simulations (CHAMPS) for integrative design and intelligent controls of buildings. He has authored/co-authored over 200 technical papers and 3 American national standards. He is Associate Editor of Journal of Science and Technology for the Built Environment (STBE, formerly ASHRAE HVAC&R Research Journal) and The International Journal of Ventilation, and serves as a Member of the Editorial Boards of Building Simulations—an international Journal, International Journal of High-Rise Buildings, and the International Journal of Architectural Frontier Research. He is Fellow of ISIAQ and ASHRAE, and current Chairman of the International Association of Building Physics. 

Mike Wetzel, PE, President & CEO, Air Innovations

Michael Wetzel is President and CEO of Air Innovations, a SyracuseCoE Partner firm that specializes in the design and manufacture of environmental control systems. Wetzel is a graduate of Clarkson University where he received a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and is the holder of seven US patents.

Prior to Air Innovations, Wetzel was based in Strasbourg, France for four years working for a multinational company building cleanrooms in Europe and the Mideast. Previously he worked stateside as an engineering manager in the HVAC construction industry.

Occupancy Sensors to Regulate Energy Use

Senem Velipasalar, Ph.D., Associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University.

“This kind of technology could have many other energy-saving applications.”

Project: Developing a low-cost, high-accuracy sensor platform that detects human presence inside buildings to reduce energy use in residential settings by as much as 30 percent.

Backstory: About 13 percent of all energy produced in the United States is used to heat, cool and ventilate buildings. Much of this energy is wasted by heating, cooling and over-ventilating unoccupied or partially occupied spaces. Existing building automation systems rely mostly on motion detectors and are limited in their reliability and ultimate ability to substantially reduce HVAC energy use.

Nuts and Bolts: Through a $1.2 million ARPA-E grant, Velipasalar is leading a team that partners faculty from SU’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with SRI International, a leading nonprofit research center with expertise in embedded vision and machine learning. Their goal is developing a sensor platform using an infrared sensor, a visible-range camera, microphone and low-power processor to detect human presence— including in low light conditions and when people are static—and to develop algorithms to analyze and combine data from these sensors to enable occupancy sensing that would be impossible by each sensor alone. “We are making use of off-the-shelf components to develop a battery-operated, stand-alone platform that can perform occupancy detection in an efficient and reliable way on site,” she says.

SyracuseCoE Impact: Velipasalar, who has a strong record
of securing NSF support, credits former SyracuseCoE executive director Ed Bogucz with informing and motivating the team about this funding opportunity, as well as guiding them through the ARPA-E proposal preparation. “The ARPA-E proposal and budget preparation is different from NSF,” she says. “SyracuseCoE was very helpful every step of the way, especially in helping us develop and manage the budget.”

Practical Application: While the ARPA-E project is designed specifically to reduce HVAC energy consumption, Velipasalar says, “This kind of technology could have many other energy-saving applications,” including lighting and sound systems.

Intellectual Collision: Velipasalar’s research is at the intersection of embedded smart cameras, computer vision and machine learning. Her focus on questions related to energy is a more recent development, an outgrowth of her connection with SyracuseCoE. In addition to the ARPA-E project, an ongoing project with Tarek Rakha, former SU assistant professor of architecture and SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow, investigates heat loss in buildings using thermal cameras on drones. Velipasalar and her Ph.D. student have developed an algorithm that autonomously detects heat leakages from thermal images of building structures. 

Led by Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE engages students, faculty, and collaborators at 200+ firms and institutions to catalyze innovations that improve energy efficiency, environmental quality, and resilience in healthy buildings and cleaner, greener communities.

Start-up tkFabricate joins the Clean Tech Center

The Clean Tech Center at The Tech Garden is a NYSERDA-funded initiative focused on developing clean energy technology companies in Central New York. Clean tech is an emerging sector of products, services and processes that harness renewable energy sources, reduce the carbon footprint and advance sustainability. The Center offers support for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies through incubation, acceleration and retention. Company’s needs are evaluated and customized assistance is provided with funding, technical support, and commercialization. 

One new venture, tkFabricate (tkF), that has joined both the Clean Tech Center and SyracuseCoE Partner Program is aiming to help New York State achieve its goal of a carbon-neutral economy. tkF is partnering with a Dutch initiative, EnergieSprong to develop and implement feasible, affordable and market-driven deep energy retrofits for multifamily residencies. By taking precedent from existing advanced manufacturing processes used in Europe, tkF’s innovative approach promises to minimize tenant disruption by implementing 3D scanning and modeling tools that facilitate design and installation. The construction industry will have increased productivity, resulting in a reduction of installation costs of mechanical systems and building facades via vertical supply chain integration design for manufacturing and assembly.

Acumen Detection: From Cows to COVID-19

Acumen Detection, Inc., is an agtech start-up member of SyracuseCoE that is commercializing its innovative technology for detecting the pathogens causing disease in dairy cows. Operating its R&D and manufacturing out of SyracuseCoE, Acumen’s main technology is based on a DNA early-detection system developed over the years as an SRC, Inc., subsidiary. Originally envisioned during Operation Desert Storm to save the lives of troops that were subjected to chemical or biological attacks, Acumen adapted this technology to revolutionize the dairy industry by helping farmers protect the health of their herds from the spread of mastitis through early detection. 

Now, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Acumen is adapting its testing technology again to address the critical need for diagnostic reagents. Identifying asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus from droplets that settle on surfaces has the potential to significantly improve our indoor air quality and public health. Acumen is working to develop a fast, point-of-use test that would dramatically assist efforts to mitigate the virus as we return to work and school.

To support the company’s activities in these efforts, SyracuseCoE and Syracuse University are providing additional lab space for their immediate use to continue their timely development. A recent SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund grant will help Acumen manufacture and distribute test kits, once FDA Emergency Use Authorization is received. In addition, SyracuseCoE is working closely with the company’s CEO to help identify additional potential laboratory collaborators that can help speed their path to market on this critical effort.

The Good Life CNY Job Portal Attracts 3,000+ Prospective Applicants Over Last 6 Months

CenterState CEO continues to lead TEC Innovates’ workforce development efforts and, in partnership with Advance Media NY, has formally launched a talent attraction and retention initiative called The Good Life CNY. A branded website connects CNY companies’ open positions with job seekers. The all-in-one resource helps sell the region as a great place to live, work and play in order to attract talent for many of the region’s industries with the highest demand for skilled workers. The website weaves a narrative of the high quality of life available in CNY through diverse culture, seasons and activities, the availability of good education and all within an affordable, central location in the Northeast. 

The majority of funding for this campaign is coming directly from the companies with the highest demands for talent, many within the TEC regional cluster. Syracuse University and SyracuseCoE have also invested in the effort, given the direct benefit to companies within the TEC Innovates cluster.

There has been a significant amount of traffic showing early success. In the past 6 months over 30,000 unique users visited the main site, mainly from nearby cities such as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Columbus, and Detroit. Promisingly, the job portal has had over 3,000 unique users seeking to learn more about 7,600 CNY jobs.

CenterState CEO and Advance Media NY continue to elevate promotion of this effort within CNY and to communities with large populations of the talent our company’s demand. This effort is expected to run through the end of October 2020 with a possible continuation into 2021.

SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund Awards $20,000 to Local Companies

SyracuseCoE announced that two Upstate New York companies have been awarded funding through the SyracuseCoE 2020 Innovation Fund amounting to $20,000. The Innovation Fund is funded by the SyracuseCoE Partner Program and is designed to help companies commercialize products and technologies that have the potential to innovate and transform the market.

Acumen Detection is a Startup Partner operating out of the SyracuseCoE headquarters building that is transforming the way dairy producers across the globe monitor the health of their herds by providing pathogen detection at the point of need – on the farm. Acumen Detection joined the SyracuseCoE Partner Program in 2019 soon after its spin-off from SRC, Inc.

Acumen Detection’s 2020 Innovation Fund Project: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Acumen has applied its work to address the critical need for diagnostic reagents. Identifying asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus from droplets that settle on surfaces has the potential to significantly improve our indoor air quality and public health. Acumen seeks to develop a fast, 4-hour, point-of use test that would dramatically assist efforts to mitigate the virus as we return to work and school. The grant will help Acumen manufacture and distribute test kits, once FDA Emergency Use Authorization is received.

Northeast Green Building Consulting (NGBC) is a SyracuseCoE Affiliate Partner and longtime collaborator. NGBC designs, teaches, and builds in Nature’s Image™ making use of their deep experience in the design sciences of biomimicry, resilience science & theory, and building science. 

Northeast Green Building Consulting’s 2020 Innovation Fund Project: This project synthesizes innovative research in resilience science, healthy buildings and passive strategies into a Resilience Audit and Standard‚ the “Assessment for Developing Adaptation, Persistence & Transformability for Buildings” (ADAPT for Buildings). The goal is to provide the design, development, engineering & construction industries, and building owners, with a state-of-the-art framework and tool containing quantifiable, verifiable metrics to use to analyze the performance of healthy and resilient buildings. Ultimately, the ADAPT for Buildings tool will take form as a virtual, interactive App and workbook for multi-industry use.

“The Innovation Fund Awards are a great example of how members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program can use their membership resources to take advantage of meaningful opportunities and overcome potential barriers to commercialization,” said SyracuseCoE interim executive director Eric Schiff. “The awards, based on technical merit and sound principles, have tremendous potential to strengthen each company through the success of their projects.”

After an initial review by SyracuseCoE staff, selected applicants were invited to participate in a digital proposal pitch to a panel of judges, including members of the SyracuseCoE Industry Partners Council, collaborators and others. Eligibility forawards is extended to all current members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program. Proposals may include collaborations with non-Partner Program firms and academic partners; however, proposals must be submitted and led by members of the Partner Program. Since 2014, more than $487,000 in project funding has been awarded under this program to support 45 projects conducted by 28 companies.

A call for proposals for the second round of the 2020 SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund Awards will be announced in the fall.

Congratulations to Wex Energy for Winning Impact Prize

Congratulations to WexEnergy, a SyracuseCoE Start-Up Partner and actively engaged TEC Innovates firm, on its receipt of The New York Community Trust Impact Prize at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering’s Urban Future Prize Competition. The award includes a $50,000 cash prize and membership in the clean energy-focused ACRE incubator, located at NYU Tandon’s Urban Future Lab in Brooklyn, New York.

Battery Storage Systems for Buildings

Bing Dong, Ph.D., Associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University.

“The facility is a fabulous test bed, unique in the United States, that provides me unprecedented capability to conduct the work I want to do.”

Project: Integrating battery systems into buildings to improve energy efficiency and reduce demand on the electric grid.

Backstory: Dong joined Syracuse University from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) in August. An expert in intelligent building operation, he was recruited as a signature hire to bolster SU’s priority research cluster in energy and environment, bringing nearly $1 million in research funding with him. Dong says he was specifically attracted to SU by the opportunity to work at SyracuseCoE. “The facility is a fabulous test bed, unique in the United States, that provides me unprecedented capability to conduct the work I want to do,” he says.

Nuts and Bolts: Dong is developing and integrating a battery storage system lab at SyracuseCoE to explore ways to manage peak energy offset and smart grid to server interaction in commercial properties. The system will store energy at times when energy demand is low (such as the middle of the night), then at high demand times can provide 20 to 30 percent of building energy needs, offsetting energy costs and demand on the grid. Dong hopes to have the system operational by spring 2020 and then will begin collecting data and fine-tuning control systems to work optimally with building systems and National Grid signals. “The battery can last for 20 to 30 years,” he says. “Over time, this kind of system can save a lot of money for building owners.”

That’s Not All: Dong holds a prestigious five-year National Science Foundation Career Award that supports research on optimizing building-to-grid integration to server for better smart and connected communities. The goal is to better understand human use and energy demand in individual buildings in an attempt to stabilize the grid as a whole, creating smart cities. He also holds a U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E grant to test and validate protocols to quantify HVAC energy savings from occupancy sensing in buildings. One year into his three-year ARPA-E project, Dong plans to use SyracuseCoE as a test bed to collect data—installing occupancy sensors that will automatically adjust HVAC set points based on the occupancy of a particular space to save energy.

Real-World Application: Dong is looking for entrepreneurial opportunities with plans to form a startup company that uses artificial intelligence to control buildings connected to renewable energy.

SyracuseCoE Impact: In addition to projects designed to use SyracuseCoE headquarters as a test bed, Dong works from an office on the fourth floor. “There is no better place for me on campus than at SyracuseCoE,” he says. 

Led by Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE engages students, faculty, and collaborators at 200+ firms and institutions to catalyze innovations that improve energy efficiency, environmental quality, and resilience in healthy buildings and cleaner, greener communities.

Mass Timber for Sustainable Buildings

Paul Crovella, Ph.D., Assistant professor of forest and natural resources management, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

“Studies show that using wood in interior spaces has measurable health and well-being benefits. People feel comfortable in a natural environment. Their heart rates are lower.

Project: Researching wood species suitable for mass timber construction to replace concrete and steel in commercial buildings.

Backstory: Steel and poured concrete production are two of the largest contributors to greenhouse gasses. By contrast, building out of wood has a carbon reduction impact. For many years, wood has been limited to residential construction using 2-by-4 or 2-by-6 lumber boards. New techniques allow construction using much larger pieces of timber that can be used as columns, beams, walls and floors, and can be used in structures up to 18 stories high.

“Performance is similar to concrete and steel in terms of strength and fire safety,” says Crovella. “While small pieces of wood burn easily, once wood is large enough in size, it is actually very difficult to start burning.”

Nuts and Bolts: Most research on mass timber construction has been conducted in Europe and North America. Crovella, who has been testing different species of wood for six years, has turned his attention to South America, where forest resources are abundant but little effort has been made to understand whether the wood is appropriate for mass timber construction. With support from a Faculty Fellows grant, Crovella is testing wood species from Brazil, finding they are more than twice as strong as current mass timber products in use. “The wood in South America grows under much different conditions, and because of that, the types of wood that grow are much denser than what we have in North America,” he says.

SyracuseCoE Impact: Funding from SyracuseCoE allowed Crovella to purchase the wood and build panels in his lab at ESF to do strength testing.

Added Benefits: In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, mass timber construction offers health benefits if the interior wood is left exposed and unfinished. “Studies show that using wood in interior spaces has measurable health and well-being benefits,” says Crovella. “People feel comfortable in a natural environment. Their heart rates are lower. Their stress hormone levels are lower.”

Extra Credit: Crovella has been on the advisory council for the New York State Green Building Conference for the last decade, helping plan the theme and structure of the event and to select speakers. He’s also served as technical advisor to two ESF/SU teams competing in the Department of Energy Solar Decathlon to design a net-zero building. Both teams he advised, in 2014 and 2019, were divisional winners in the national competition.

Led by Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE engages students, faculty, and collaborators at 200+ firms and institutions to catalyze innovations that improve energy efficiency, environmental quality, and resilience in healthy buildings and cleaner, greener communities.

A Celebration: 150 Years of Environmental and Energy Innovation in Central New York

Based on a presentation by Associate Professor Ed Bogucz, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Syracuse University

Written by Renee Levy

When SyracuseCoE headquarters opened in 2010, it became a pioneering building in the city, the region and, perhaps, New York state. One of Syracuse’s first LEED Platinum buildings, SyracuseCoE was built as a showcase of green building technology; a living lab where such technologies are developed and tested; and a hub for technology transfer, connecting student and faculty researchers at Syracuse University, SUNY-ESF, SUNY Oswego and Upstate Medical University with local industry to develop technologies and commercialize innovative products for market.

One hundred years earlier, at the same location—on the corner of East Washington and Almond streets—Lyman C. Smith built the L.C. Smith and Bros. Typewriter Company. Smith was an innovator, local industrialist and benefactor of engineering education at Syracuse University. That symbiosis is no aberration. Syracuse University’s 150-year history is deeply intertwined with innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.

When Syracuse University opened its doors in March 1870, Syracuse was a boomtown and the 29th largest city in the United States. The city’s growth had been fueled by the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, which along with construction of multiple rail lines, established Syracuse as a thriving hub for advances in civil engineering and canal-to-rail intermodal transportation.

A Cradle of Industry and Innovation

Syracuse’s first known industrial incubator was the C.E. Lipe Machine Shop, established in 1880 by mechanical engineer Charles Lipe. At the 20,000-square-foot Lynch Building on South Geddes Street, Lipe worked on his own inventions and rented space to others, including Herbert Franklin, Alexander Brown and Smith, originally known for the L.C. Smith shotgun. The Lipe Shop became recognized as the “cradle of Syracuse industry” with a prowess for precision manufacturing: the ability to make small parts accurately.

Lipe and Brown invented the Hy-Lo Bi-Gear for bicycles. They later turned their attention to gears and transmissions for the auto industry. Franklin was experimenting with automobile design, and the first Franklin automobile was built at the Lipe Shop. Brown also teamed with Smith on improving the design of the typewriter. Along with Smith’s brothers, Wilbert Smith and Hurlburt W. Smith, they established the Smith Premier Typewriter Works and L.C. Smith and Bros. Typewriter Company, which later became Smith Corona.

In 1901, Lyman Smith donated $75,000 to Syracuse University to build Smith Hall and establish the L.C. Smith College of Applied Science. He later gave $40,000 to build Machinery Hall, all an effort to bolster engineering education.

View the full-color PDF with all historic photos and timeline

By the 1920s, Syracuse’s largest employer was Franklin Automobile, with 5,000 workers. The company’s founder, Herbert Franklin, endowed the Franklin Chair in Transportation at Syracuse University (now known as the Franklin Chair in Supply Chain Management). The company had developed a new type of air-cooled engine that made its product lighter and more responsive than other automobiles at the time, which used conventional water-cooled engines. The air-cooled engine offered a significant reliability advantage in cold climates, given that antifreeze had not yet been invented.

Despite its technological sophistication, discounted pricing and the Great Depression led to Franklin Automobile’s demise, and the company declared bankruptcy in 1934, leaving behind a technologically skilled workforce with no jobs and a large, empty factory.

Local business leaders raised a $250,000 incentive to attract a manufacturing company to Syracuse. Investigating the possibilities, they were successful in recruiting the rapidly growing Carrier Air Conditioning Company. Willis Carrier had invented air conditioning in Buffalo in 1902 to solve the challenge of humidity control in printing plants. When Carrier’s employer ended production of the novel technology in 1914, Carrier started his own company in Newark, New Jersey. In 1922, Onondaga Pottery in Syracuse became the first customer to use Carrier’s new centrifugal chiller.

In 1937, Carrier consolidated its manufacturing from four locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the former Franklin Automobile factory in Syracuse. The company grew quickly.

During World War II, the federal government built a factory in DeWitt, a Syracuse suburb, for General Electric to build jet engines. After the war, the site was auctioned off. There were two bidders: Carrier Corporation—which needed larger manufacturing facilities—and Syracuse University—whose enrollment had tripled with Chancellor William P. Tolley’s strategic decision to open the doors to returning veterans on the G.I. Bill. Ultimately, the site was divided between the two.

In 1947, Carrier moved to the larger manufacturing complex off Thompson Road. (When a traffic circle was built in front of the plant in the 1950s, it was named Carrier Circle.) The L.C. Smith College of Engineering moved from Smith and Machinery halls to buildings adjacent to the Carrier Corporation. Engineering students from that time period recall being bused from the main campus to Thompson Road, where engineering classes were held from 1948 to 1952.

By the late 1970s, Carrier had grown to become the world’s largest air conditioning company, with more than 7,000 employees in Syracuse, in research and development, manufacturing and administration. In 1979, Carrier was acquired by United Technologies Corporation (UTC). By 2004, UTC moved Carrier’s headquarters to its own headquarters near Hartford, Connecticut, ending manufacturing in Syracuse. Approximately 1,300 research and development employees remained, and more importantly, so did much of the engineering brain trust that would become crucial to the creation of SyracuseCoE.

Responding to Industry Needs

But Carrier was far from the only innovation industry in town. Beginning in the 1960s, long before Silicon Valley, Syracuse developed as a hub for electronics and instrumentation, with key firms including Welch Allyn, GE Electronics Park, Anaren, Inficon, Martin Marietta and Thomson Consumer Electronics. At the same time, there were parallel developments at Syracuse University in the creation of related academic programs to meet the needs of emerging industries. For example, Syracuse University has the second oldest computer engineering program in the country, due to a longstanding relationship with IBM. Other innovative programs included a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering, a minor in energy systems and a master’s degree in energy systems.

Central New York was also home to a cluster of successful engineering firms, most prominently O’Brien and Gere, founded by William Stanton Gere, a 1917 graduate of Syracuse University and son of one of Syracuse University’s first known civil engineering graduates, William Anson Gere, who earned his degree in 1884.

Ed Bogucz, founding director of SyracuseCoE, came to the L.C. Smith College of Engineering as a young faculty member in 1985, attracted by the University’s proximity to Carrier Corporation and the possibility of research collaboration through SU’s newly established Center of Advanced Technology in Computer Applications and Software Engineering (CASE) Center. It was a good move. His first sponsored research project was a project for Carrier funded through the CASE Center.

In the early 1990s, Syracuse University Chancellor Kenneth Shaw led a process to reduce the University’s budget and better respond to market demands. As part of the restructuring effort, the University combined the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and the School of Computer and Information Science to create the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS). In 1995, Bogucz was named ECS’s interim dean, charged with developing a strategic plan for the college as it completed its downsizing.

Bogucz’s vision was to strengthen ECS by hiring faculty members in areas that aligned with strengths in the local economy and to strengthen collaborations with local firms. At the same time, the Metropolitan Development Association (MDA) was developing Vision 2010, a blueprint to strengthen the CNY economy. The regional blueprint identified seven key CNY industry clusters, including environmental quality and energy systems. In 1996, the College of Engineering and Computer Science adopted a strategic plan that included investments in faculty and facilities aligned with Vision 2010 priorities. In July 1996, Bogucz was named ECS’s dean, charged with implementing the plan.

To advance Vision 2010, the MDA organized working groups for each industry cluster. The working group for environmental and energy systems was co-chaired by Cornelius B. Murphy G’70, chief executive officer of O’Brien & Gere. In 1998, the group invited Bogucz to facilitate a brainstorming of possible areas for collaboration among Central New York companies. What emerged was a plan to develop new technologies for green buildings, an idea being developed by the fledgling U.S. Green Building Council and supported strongly by Carrier.

Planting Seeds for SyracuseCoE

From there, things moved quickly. In 1999, the College of Engineering and Computer Science recruited Jensen Zhang, the first faculty member hired to build capacity in areas related to indoor environmental quality. The following year, the MDA, now known as CenterState CEO, launched the New York Indoor Environmental Quality (NYIEQ) Center to promote regional university-industry collaborations. In 2001, Bogucz led efforts on a successful proposal to the state to establish the Environmental Quality Systems (EQS) Strategically Targeted Academic Research (STAR) Center, led by Syracuse University in collaboration with the NYIEQ Center, MDA and 10 academic and research institutions. H. Ezzat Khalifa, director of Carrier R&D programs at United Technologies Research Center, was hired to lead the EQS STAR Center.

Later that year, New York State announced a new Centers of Excellence program to foster collaboration between the academic research community and the business sector to develop and commercialize new products and technologies. In 2002, SyracuseCoE was established by New York State as one of the first five statewide Centers of Excellence, leveraging activities of the NYIEQ and EQS STAR centers, with a mission to encourage and fund collaborative projects that develop new environmental and energy systems products and services, serving as a conduit between university researchers and industry.

Since its creation, SyracuseCoE has supported more than 200 projects that assisted more than 70 local companies, which report creating or retaining more than 1,100 jobs to date. In addition, SyracuseCoE has supported more than 50 Syracuse University faculty members in seven schools and colleges through its Faculty Fellows Program, which provides competitively awarded funding for seed projects.

In 2009, SyracuseCoE hosted the ninth International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate Healthy Buildings conference and exhibition, which attracted more than 1,700 attendees from 44 nations. The following year, SyracuseCoE opened its LEED-Platinum living laboratory headquarters in downtown Syracuse, on the brownfield that was the site of the L.C. Smith and Bros. typewriter factory. A thriving hub for industry-University collaboration and an anchor to Syracuse’s Innovation Crossroads, SyracuseCoE’s unique facilities have attracted international research teams, including the groundbreaking COGfx Study on the impact of indoor environmental quality on human cognition led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2014.

Last year, leading researchers from 33 countries gathered in Syracuse for the seventh International Building Physics Conference, hosted by SyracuseCoE and chaired by Zhang, Syracuse University professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. It was the first time that the triennial meeting, the world’s premier building science conference, was held in the United States, attracted to Syracuse by the cutting-edge research and innovation related to indoor air quality, energy efficiency and high-performance building technologies.

Syracuse University and the Central New York community are undisputed leaders in the field, all because Syracuse University had the foresight to build programs, hire faculty and invest in facilities in areas relevant to local industry. The result: significant impact on our regional economy, our built environment and natural environments and our water resources.

Innovation Fund Call for Proposals

2020 Innovation Fund Call for Proposals Now Open to Partner Firms!


SyracuseCoE invites proposals to the Innovation Fund from current SyracuseCoE Partner companies for up to $10,000. It is anticipated that there will be five awards. The Innovation Fund is funded by SyracuseCoE Partner Program and is designed to help companies commercialize products and technologies that have the potential to transform and innovate the market. You must be a member to apply, but it’s not too late, you can join the SyracuseCoE Partner Program today! Projects must be aligned with one or more of SyracuseCoE’s three core areas:

  • Indoor Environmental Quality and Building Energy Efficiency
  • Clean & Renewable Energy
  • Water Resources

Previous companies who were Innovation Fund winners include:

Visit the Innovation Fund Projects page to see how other Partners have used these funds. The application deadline is 5:00pm EST, Friday, March 20th, 2020.

Industry Partners Innovation: Innovative Air Handling

Technology transfer from a Syracuse University lab to local business could revolutionize the residential HVAC market.

When Upstate Parts & Supply needed engineering help to develop a new HVAC unit, it turned to SyracuseCoE, which connected the company to faculty members in Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS). With assistance from SyracuseCoE and ECS faculty, Upstate successfully developed and commercialized its NuClimate Chilled Beam, which was subsequently licensed by Carrier, sold to Zehnder Group and has been installed all over the world.

If we’re successful, you could see new residential HVAC products on the market using this technology by 2025, not to mention the possibility of adapting the technology to retrofit current units. This is potentially a billion-dollar market.

John A. DiMillo

That track record is one reason ECS faculty members Thong Dang and Mehmet Sarimurat are partnering with Upstate Parts & Supply to pursue development of a concept developed in their SU lab that could revolutionize the residential HVAC market. Dang and Sarimurat envisioned developing a compact, high-efficiency air handler for residential HVAC systems that they believe will use 35 percent less energy than current models.

SyracuseCoE staff members assisted Upstate Parts & Supply and Syracuse University in developing a successful proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy for Phase 1 small-business technology transfer (STTR) projects. The $200,000 grant was the first federal Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding the firm has received in its 33-year history and one of only 12 awards the DOE’s Building Technology Office funded nationwide, demonstrating strong promise for the concept.

“The collaboration between SyracuseCoE, SU faculty and Upstate Parts & Supply is a model example of what SyracuseCoE does—providing a bridge to transfer SU technologies to a small company to aid commercialization that will eventually benefit the regional economy, consumers and the environment,” says Tammy Rosanio, associate director of partner programs.

The project seeks to develop a novel air handling unit for residential heating and cooling systems that synergistically integrates its fan and heat exchanger. This innovation, if successful, could produce an air handler that, compared to conventional units, is 30 percent smaller and uses 35 percent less energy, all while improving the overall performance of its HVAC system by at least seven percent.

Upstate Parts & Supply received the STTR grant July 1. According to John A. DiMillo, a company vice president, the Phase I grant supports advanced computational fluid dynamics studies performed by SU faculty and students to evaluate and refine feasibility of the concept. SyracuseCoE helped jump-start the project through work done this summer by students and faculty in SyracuseCoE’s Analysis and Design Center under the TEC Innovates program. A team of students will also be working with Upstate Parts & Supply during the academic year under a mechanical engineering capstone project to design and build a test stand that is capable of measuring the performance of an air-handler unit, work also supported by the TEC Innovates program.

The goal is to demonstrate feasibility by the end of June 2020 and pursue a Phase 2 grant. A successful Phase 2 grant of $1 million would support building and testing a prototype unit.

SyracuseCoE Awards Funding for 8 Research and Innovation Projects Led by Faculty Fellows

Projects engage 15 faculty members from 4 universities and a local startup partner

SyracuseCoE announced today that eight research and innovations projects led by its Faculty Fellows were competitively selected to receive awards totaling $109,368. The new projects engage 15 cross-disciplinary faculty members from Syracuse University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), SUNY Oswego and SUNY Upstate. In addition, Density, Inc. a SyracuseCoE industry partner company, is a co-investigator on one project.

The SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program supports seed projects that strengthen faculty scholarship in clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality, and water resources. The program brings together a diverse community of faculty members from many disciplines. Researchers from four schools and colleges at Syracuse University, two at SUNY ESF, one from SUNY Oswego and one from SUNY Upstate received awards.

The goal of Faculty Fellows program is to bolster collaboration and discovery, strengthening Syracuse University’s growing research portfolio. The program is critical to SyracuseCoE’s core mission to create innovations in environmental and energy technologies. In addition, projects are encouraged to strategically target research topics that contribute to economic development of local and New York State businesses.

“We are extremely proud of the momentum that the SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program has had in the past 4 years, growing to nearly 60 researchers,” said Laura J. Steinberg, SyracuseCoE interim executive director. “These awards can lead to a significant “next step” for faculty by fostering further exploration, allowing them to publish new findings or even by helping them to win additional funding.”

The projects, principal investigators (listed first), and their collaborators are:

A High-throughput Analytical Workflow for Identification and Quantification of Cyanobacterial Toxins in Environmental Water Samples

  • Teng Zeng, Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

A New Approach to Evaluate Energy Savings, Thermal Comfort and IAQ from Occupant-Centric Building Controls

  • Bing Dong, Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
  • Meng Kong, Research Assistant Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
  • Steven VonDeak, Co-founder and Chief of Staff, Density, Inc
  • Jianshun Zhang, Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

Development of Improved Poplar Lines for Biofuel Production

  • Heather Coleman, Associate Professor, Biology, Biotechnology, College of Arts & Sciences, Syracuse University

Establishment of Initial Exploratory Research for the Mycelium Research Group

  • Daekwon Park, Assistant Professor, Syracuse Architecture, Syracuse University
  • Jeongmin Ahn, Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
  • Zhao Qin, Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
  • Nina Wilson, Assistant Professor, Syracuse Architecture, Syracuse University

Measuring the Vertical Profile of Air Pollution and Noise Near Interstate-81

  • Jamie Mirowsky, Assistant Professor, Chemistry, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Judy Crawford, Visiting Researcher, SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • John Hassett, Professor, Chemistry, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Meng Kong, Research Assistant Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

Net Zero Retrofit Campus Housing Pilot Project

  • Nina Wilson, Assistant Professor, Syracuse Architecture, Syracuse University
  • Bing Dong, Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

Production and Evaluation of Activated Biochar from Shrub Willow for Water & Wastewater Treatment Applications

  • Nosa Egiebor, Professor, Environmental Resources Engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Tao Wendong, Associate Professor, Environmental Resources Engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Synthesis of Silicon, Tin and Phosphorus Nanoparticles as Anode Materials for High-Performance Sodium Ion Battery for Grid Scale Energy Storage

  • Mohammad Islam, Associate Professor, Physics, SUNY Oswego

Projects were selected based on responses to a request for proposals issued by SyracuseCoE earlier this year. Each faculty member who is involved in a project is appointed as a SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow for a three-year term. Eight new faculty members have been appointed. The program has supported nearly 60 researchers to date.

SyracuseCoE is New York State’s Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, which is led by Syracuse University in collaboration with SUNY ESF, SUNY Oswego, CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity and dozens of industry partners.

New York’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Featuring FuzeHub and Ducted Wind Turbines

A SyracuseCoE Research & Technology Forum

It is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in Central New York!  This forum offers guidance on how businesses can use resources like FuzeHub and SyracuseCoE.

New York State offers a host of resources designed to enable new and existing businesses to become more competitive through manufacturing improvements and help with the development of innovative technologies and processes. Centers and programs that are supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) emphasize the importance of working with industry as a way to leverage New York State’s technology strengths to produce new products. The state also offers other innovation development support resources, including financial incentives to foster university collaboration, research and innovation.

Learn more about one of those ecosystem resources, FuzeHub, who provides programs and resources for manufacturers in New York State. Julianne Clothier, FuzeHub’s Industry Engagement Manager, shared information about FuzeHub’s suite of programming designed to ignite growth and prosperity in New York’s manufacturing sector, one manufacturer at a time! 

We were also joined by Joe Dickson, CEO Ducted Wind Turbines, Inc., a SyracuseCoE Start-up Partner company based in Potsdam, NY. He shared how NYS supports and programs like the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund give companies like Ducted Wind Turbines new opportunities for growth and success. Joe also shared sage wisdom from his broad 30-year experience working with six diverse startups within NYS’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Julianne Clouthier Industry Engagement Manager, FuzeHub

Julianne oversees the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund which is comprised of manufacturing grants, a commercialization competition and an innovation challenge. The Fund provides $1M annually to not-for profits, manufacturers and early-stage technology companies in New York. Julianne has over ten years of economic development experience and has worked on numerous microenterprise, business expansion, and infrastructure projects. She is a member of the Tech Valley High School Business Alliance and serves as a mentor, judge and panelist for numerous innovation and entrepreneurial programs.  Julianne received her MBA from the University at Albany, a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Mercyhurst College and is a recent graduate of AlbanyCanCode -Front End Web Development.

Joe Dickson CEO, Ducted Wind Turbines, Inc.

Joe Dickson, currently the CEO of Ducted Wind Turbines, Inc. and also recently served as a co-founder and the CEO of Pelitex, is a veteran entrepreneur who has served as the founder and/or senior C-Level executive of seven high-tech start-up firms across multiple industry and technology sectors during his 30-year career. His first start-up, a spin out from GE, achieved a 100X ROI in 3 years.  Since then he has been a part of 6 other start-ups across industry areas as diverse as advanced materials, IT, renewable energy, microelectronics, medical devices, and biotech.  
Mr. Dickson has helped raise over $50MM in venture and private equity capital, and also has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions. He is an expert in business and financial modeling, market validation, strategic positioning, and business plan execution. Mr. Dickson has taught entrepreneurship at both Cazenovia College and Syracuse University, and was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Syracuse Citizen’s Foundation in 1992. Mr. Dickson has a BS in Chemistry from Syracuse University and an MBA from the University of Rochester.

Up to $3,000 for SyracuseCoE Partners to Hire an Intern this Summer

SyracuseCoE helps companies provide students with invaluable “real-world” experience

SyracuseCoE is seeking applications from its industry partners for funding available through the 2020 Summer Industry Collaboration Internship Program.  The program supports paid internship opportunities for SyracuseCoE Partner Program companies to host a student pursuing a degree in science, engineering, or architecture. Throughout the course of the internship, the student will increase his or her knowledge and technical skills by engaging in hands-on work at SyracuseCoE Partner firms related to indoor environmental quality (IEQ), high performance/green building, clean and renewable energy, and water resources.

In addition to providing experiential learning, the program also aims to give students the opportunity to establish valuable relationships with local industry leaders and increase post-graduation retention in the Central Upstate region of New York. Interns will be invited to SyracuseCoE networking events throughout the summer, and they will develop and present an end-of-summer poster showcasing the project(s) on which he/she worked.

To date, 32 companies and 99 students have participated in this program, which is supported by annual fees paid by companies that participate in the SyracuseCoE Partner Program. This year, SyracuseCoE intends to fund up to 8 summer internships at Partner firms, with each commitment providing up to $3,000 per company. The deadline to apply is February 28th.

Learn more about the member benefits of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program.

Occupant Behavior Driven Smart Building Controls

In the US, people spend 87% of their time in buildings. Understanding dynamic occupant presence and thermal comfort needs is crucial to ensuring that building design and operations provide healthy and productive living and working environments. Occupant behavior is becoming a leading factor for building energy use, but there are challenges to studying occupant behaviors, as they are complex and ever changing. Privacy issues and the high cost of sensors can make data collection difficult. The constant changes in the built environment caused by occupant behavior also result in both physiological and psychological effects on the occupants.

Professor Bing Dong’s presentation covered various research projects related to behavior driven controls and optimization of smart and connected buildings, from behavior-driven individual building energy optimization to urban scale energy management, from equipment level optimal controls to large scale buildings-to-grid integration. Professor Dong concluded with a research vision on behavior-driven urban energy infrastructure planning and management within a smart and connected community. 

Steven VonDeak presented the people count sensor platform, Density, Inc. To put it simply — Density counts people. Understanding how many people are in a space helps organizations improve building performance by making them safer, more efficient and more productive. Density’s people counting system places a premium on three key functionalities: anonymity, accuracy, and real-time data availability. This real-time room occupancy provides insight for a variety of use cases including intelligent demand-controlled HVAC operation. Organized in 2014, Density has grown to a 50-person startup and their proprietary hardware/software system is all assembled, tested and packaged right in Syracuse, NY.


Laura J. Steinberg
Interim Executive Director, SyracuseCoEExecutive Director, Syracuse University Infrastructure InstituteProfessor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University

Dr. Steinberg’s research focuses on environmental phenomena’s effect on infrastructure, including how climate change is impacting infrastructure and environmental disasters. Her areas of expertise include environmental modeling and policy, diffusion of innovation, and critical infrastructure protection.


Bing Dong
Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse UniversitySyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow

Dr. Dong has more than 15 years experiences in building energy performance simulation, building controls and HVAC FDD. He is also actively involved in the projects related with occupancy behavior modeling in buildings, machine learning for sustainability, wireless sensor network in buildings and building information modeling. He has published more than 50 peer reviewed papers. His papers are cited more than 400 times by other researchers around the world. He specializes in Occupancy Behavior Modeling, Energy Performance M&V, Model-based Building HVAC Controls; Energy Performance Simulation, HVAC FDD and BIM. 

Steven VonDeak
Co-founder and Chief of Staff, Density, Inc.

Steven VonDeak is a co-founder and Chief of Staff at Density Inc, a 50-person venture-backed enterprise IoT company. Incorporated in 2014, Density helps organizations improve the performance of their space by making it safer, more efficient, and more productive. From 2014 to 2019, VonDeak has been responsible for supporting the varied operational needs of Density, including: finance, legal, and human resources. He is also the general manager of Density’s Syracuse office, where the company was founded and continues to run significant operations today. From 2008 to 2014, VonDeak founded and operated a digital consultancy specializing in web and mobile application development. He holds a JD from Syracuse University College of Law ’08 and a BA from the University of Rochester ’05.