High Profile: 'Academia Driving Deployment of Digital Twins for Zero Energy Market Adoption'
by Michael Fancher
Successful deployment of Zero Energy Buildings (ZEBs) will not only require innovation in the design process, but also the deployment of process-grade facility monitoring and control systems (FMCS) capable of tracking in real time the performance and energy use of highly integrated systems. With recent advances in energy modeling, data analysis, and continuous commissioning data platforms, minimizing climate impacts from the built environment can be realized if academia can leverage ZEBs for technology innovation through demonstration, and for workforce education through experiential learning, that are both necessary for market adoption.
Located on the Albany Nanotech campus is the largest net-zero energy capable, mixed-use facility at construction completion in the United States that was conceived, designed, and built as a partnership between SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and EYP/Page as a “living laboratory” for mission critical facilities. The goal for the Zero Energy Nano (ZEN) facility was to demonstrate that an integrated design process – leveraging powerful design tools and affordable technologies – can lead to net-zero capable energy performance, providing a test-bed in technology innovation and workforce development for data analysis, clean energy technologies, and mission critical facility operations.