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The Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology is located at 111 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623; visit their website and specifically the new GIS building. Watch the 2:15 video Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) Green Wall – Project of the Week 5/11/15 from on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube.

See the 4:06 RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability dedication and tour by RIT University News on YouTube and the Project Showcase from LeChase Construction Services and the Design Showcase from Education Design Showcase. Read the April 17, 2015 Top 10 Project Profile: The Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT by Christopher Gray from the USGBC and the March 8, 2013 Golisano Institute for Sustainability marks two significant building milestones by Rich Kiley in the RIT University News. For more information on the project, contact Green Living Technologies International (GLTi) at: or 1.800.631.8001.

The LEED Platinum certified Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) is a multidisciplinary academic unit at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) whose mission is to undertake world-class education and research programs in sustainability with major foci on sustainable production, sustainable energy, sustainable mobility and ecologically friendly information technology systems. These programs are led by a multidisciplinary team of faculty and researchers who collaborate with organizations locally, nationally, and internationally to create implementable solutions to complex sustainability programs.

GIS began construction of its headquarters on the RIT campus in May 2011, and the new building was completed in January 2013. RIT’s GIS was designed by FXFOWLE in collaboration with SWBR; LeChase Construction Company served as the Design-Build team leader. The design team sought to incorporate cutting-edge green technology into every inch of the 84,000-sf building which houses specialized research labs, student work areas, classrooms, and office suites. Integrated with RIT�s sustainability curriculum, the GIS Building serves as a teaching tool for courses in Integrated Building Energy Systems, Sustainable Materials and Architecture, as well as in various independent studies, theses and capstone projects.

Sustainability Institute Hall, the new world-class building for the Golisano Institute for Sustainability was dedicated on April 12, 2013. Sustainability Hall is designed to demonstrate sustainable building technologies and energy systems by incorporating a unique transparent infrastructure and Smart Microgrid Smart Computing data center. Likened to a living lab, it was designed for scientific discovery and experimental learning, a place where students could focus on developing and introducing sustainable technologies for manufacturing, transportation, energy production and construction that could serve as the Western Gateway to RIT. One very distinctive feature is the massive green wall which greet researchers, students and visitors near the building’s west entrance.

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability received the 2014 National Award of Excellence from the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA). In 2013 GIS was recognized by the Engineering News Record New York for the region’s best project in the Green Project category and received the Jeffrey J. Zogg Build New York Award in the Green Project Category. Read more from the New York Real Estate Journal. It also was the Green Judges’ Choice Winner 2013 Green Education Design Showcase, see below.

On March 7, 2013 GIS attained two important milestones: the connection of the fuel-cell power unit and the installation of the 8′ x 40′ green wall from Green Living Technologies International. Pregrown and by Plant Designs, it boasts 1,920 green plants that contribute to air quality as well as aesthetics. The living wall is a focal point for the world class building and provides a breathtaking 4-story tapestry of texture and color that can naturally remove harmful toxins, carcinogens, and volatile organic compounds throughout the entire Galleria.

“While the fuel cell plays a vital role as the 84,000-square-foot Sustainability Institute Hall’s primary energy source, it was the arrival of the massive sections of green plants that drew crowds and even spontaneous tours on Thursday, according to Nabil Nasr, assistant provost for academic affairs and director of GIS. ‘People were very excited to see the green wall go up … it’s extremely impressive. There has been a lot of anticipation for its arrival, and now that it is here, you can really see and understand why.'” (RIT University News, 2013).

The facility was designed and constructed to exceed LEED Platinum standards. Additional sustainable features include:

– A high-performance building envelope made up of several varieties of glass that allow daylight to enter with minimal heat exchange.

– A sunshade system that reduces heat gain inside the building and permits a more passive cooling system.

– 144 roof-mounted solar panels capable of generating 45,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, vertical axis wind turbines, and a micro-grid that inputs wind and solar energy into the building.

– Greenroof (2012): A 3,300 sf open-air terrace on the third floor features large areas of sedum and plantings that are part of Rochester’s Seneca Park Zoo Butterfly Beltway project. The green roof also provides some insulation value, and, most important, absorbs runoff from rain and snow. Solar panels in this area can be easily accessed for research purposes – see the Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) Greenroof project profile in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database and read Golisano Institute for Sustainability Home to Beltway Butterfly Garden by SWBR Architects.

– Water conservation: The building is designed to be 66 percent more efficient than a typical building. For instance, rainwater is collected from a 1,700 gallon water storage cistern on the roof, is filtered, and used to flush the toilets.

– Geothermal system: It uses liquid that circulates from eight 150-foot deep wells through pipes in the galleria floor, helping to keep the building warm in winter and cool in summer.

– Fuel-cell power source: Partial funding made possible by a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority incentive, it produces 400 kilowatts of continuous electric power. In addition, heat generated as a by-product of electrical generation will help warm Sustainability Institute Hall and other buildings on the RIT campus. Any excess electricity goes into the campus grid.

– Real-time energy data is displayed on a building dashboard system.

The Institute was founded in 2007 with a $10M grant from B. Thomas Golisano. The GIS Ph.D. program started in 2008 – offering the world’s first doctorate in sustainable production. A M.S. Program in Sustainable Systems was approved and begun in 2010. The first GIS graduates received their diplomas in 2011.


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