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Binghamton University breaks ground on new smart-energy facility

VESTAL, N.Y. — Binghamton University today announced the start of construction on the school’s smart energy research and development (R&D) facility.

Binghamton sees the new facility as part of its “pursuit of path-breaking research” on energy-efficient technologies, according to the school’s news release.

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy joined Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger and other state and local officials at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new $70 million, 114,000-square-foot building at the Innovative Technologies Complex in Vestal.


With a direct economic impact of $78.5 million on Broome and Tioga counties during its construction phase, the Smart-Energy project will support more than 500 local jobs, including about 200 construction jobs, the school said.

After construction, new employees will generate $2.5 million of economic impact annually in the local economy, it added.

The smart energy R&D facility is a “direct result” of the NYSUNY 2020 plan that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature approved in 2012, the school said.

The state intended the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program to “help New York’s public universities become a leading catalyst for regionally-focused economic development while maintaining affordability and improving academic quality for all students,” according to an Aug. 9, 2011 news release from Cuomo’s office.

NYSUNY 2020 allowed the university to implement a “rational” tuition program, which enabled the campus to pursue a plan for “significant” growth and the new research facility, it added.

“Our faculty members and graduate students are developing technologies that will change the way energy-efficient vehicles, devices, and buildings are constructed in the future,” Stenger said in the university’s news release. “Our researchers need world-class facilities to conduct their work, and that is what this Smart Energy R&D facility provides.”

The smart energy R&D facility will house the physics and chemistry departments of the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences.

The research in the new building will focus on energy-efficient technologies; making solar power economically competitive; reducing and using the thermal energy that computers and other electronic devices generate; and developing mechanisms for the storage and transmission of energy through high-capacity batteries, fuel cells, and ultra-capacitors, according to the news release.

The building is scheduled for completion in 2017, the school said.

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