SUNY Poly gets $397K to train techs in efficient building and energy management

— Photo from the SUNY Polytechnic Institute

The Zero Energy Nano building, known as ZEN, at the Albany NanoTech Complex, will soon have a digital twin.

The Zero Energy Nano building, known as ZEN, is a “smart” building on the SUNY Poly campus that will soon have a “digital twin” for its building-management and energy-management systems.

Michael Fancher, who directs the Advanced Manufacturing Performance Center, has received a $397,000 state grant that will be used to train on-site workers and to serve as a regional training hub for building operations and maintenance of “mission critical facilities,” using the digital twin, according to a release from the school.

Combined with SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Partner Aligned Training Hub model, known as PATH, the “ZEN Smart PATH” project will build upon millions of dollars in prior investments in technician skills training capabilities, the release said.

“As New York continues its clean energy transition, training like this is essential to support high-demand career pathways and ensure that building and maintenance systems run smoothly now and well into the future,” said Doreen Harris in the release. Harris is president and chief executive officer of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which awarded the grant.

The  ZEN building, completed in 2015 at the Albany NanoTech Complex, the release said, is a 356,000-square-foot facility that serves as a living laboratory for smart building technology innovation and workforce development in data science, facility operations, and clean energy technologies.

ZEN Smart PATH is a multi-year project that will train more than 100 on-site and regional partner employees by using multiple data science platforms tailored for careers in facility operations.

These educational efforts will be organized into four skill levels: custodian, technician, engineer, and manager. This initiative will also work to train an additional 175 facilities operations workers as a regional training hub serving co-located industry partners, in addition to regional chip fab operators and transitioning Fort Drum veterans.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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