RPI launches energy institute with backing from Siemens and Lutron Electronics


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has launched an Institute for Energy, the Built Environment, and Smart Systems (EBESS).

The New York City-based institute is being formed in partnership with Siemens, Lutron Electronics, the Brooklyn Law School, building engineering consulting firm Thornton Tomasetti, and international architecture firms HKS, OBMI, and Perkins&Will. The institute will use digital technologies to drive decarbonization of urban environments at the systems level.

The announcement was made by RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson at President Biden’s Climate Leadership Summit. Dr. Jackson is a theoretical physicist and the first African American woman to receive a doctorate from MIT in any field. She has led RPI since 1999.

Plans call for EBESS to model integrated transportation, communications, and supply chain networks. It will link architectural design and engineering to create infrastructure that is both net-zero in energy use and climate resilient. It will also use new materials, renewable energy systems, and sentient building platforms to maximize human health and well-being.

The new institute will integrate research across centers and schools at RPI, including the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) and the Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA) Center.

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