Every year, the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE) recognizes projects that “celebrate innovation in sustainable design that thoroughly integrate architecture, natural systems, and technology to protect and enhance the environment.” Included in the 2014 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects is the 54,000 square-foot Gateway Center at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry (SUNY-ESF), in Syracuse, New York.
A stellar example of innovation, the project’s “green centerpiece is a lower-level, 7,000-square-foot combined heat-and-power plant fueled by waste wood pellets. The century-old SUNY-ESF, the nation’s oldest college dedicated solely to the study of the environment, was previously heated entirely by fossil fuel–generated steam. The new model plant, which is also connected to four adjacent academic buildings, provides 60 percent of the campus’ annual heating needs and 20 percent of its annual power usage, reducing energy costs by 64 percent and carbon emissions by 25 percent.
The biomass system within the combined heat-and-power plant includes a state-of-the-art electrostatic precipitator that eliminates combustion particulates and ensures the air quality of chimney emissions. Biomass fuel is produced from regional post-industrial waste and regenerated on SUNY-ESF’s 25,000 forested acres. Waste ash is collected in 50-gallon drums and recycled as soil nutrients on a nearby SUNY-ESF forest property.” Learn more.