Congressman John Sweeney Secures $750,000 for Alternative Energy Project Being Developed at Rensselaer
At a press conference held at Cambridge Valley Machining
Inc. (CVMI) in Cambridge, N.Y., Sept. 25, Congressman John
Sweeney announced that he has secured $750,000 in fiscal year
2006 Energy and Water Appropriations for an alternative energy
project being developed by Rensselaer researchers.
During the event, Anna Dyson, lead project researcher and
associate professor of architecture, and Michael Jensen,
professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering,
presented the latest updates on the “intelligent” building
façade being developed by their team, which also includes
Rensselaer alums and researchers from other universities.
Unlike conventional blinds, the modules actually
capture direct light and heat (above), providing a new
solution to the problem of interior glare. The
daylighting technology is integrated into the design of
the transparent module, which has a lens on its underside
that diffuses glare and scatters excess light.
The façade is composed of focusing lenses that track the
sun’s movement across the sky and concentrate its rays onto
miniature photovoltaic (PV) cells, commonly called solar cells.
The PV cells are then projected to convert 30 percent of the
light to electricity, which will support the interior lighting
and other systems in the building.
“The intelligent building façade we are constructing could
potentially save commercial buildings — some of the biggest
consumers of energy – significant utility costs and reduce
their dependence on fossil fuels,” said Dyson.
CVMI has been contracted to manufacture the needed solar
cells for the project. Once completed, the façade will be
installed on a building at Syracuse University.
“This is a great relationship between researchers at RPI and
manufacturers to address one of our most pressing global
problems and I am proud to have helped by securing these
federal funds. With energy prices as volatile as they are, I
feel it is vitally important that we invest in trying to find
alternative sources,” said Congressman Sweeney. “I have worked
for a long time to advance the research and development of
alternative and renewable energy sources, and I feel there is
no better place to ensure it’s done correctly than here in
upstate New York.”