It could be called a living, breathing monument to sustainability. The Training and Education Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies — TEC-SMART — is the college’s new 42,000-square foot, state-of-the art education facility in Malta and will open in January 2010. It’s a building that’s cleaner and healthier for the environment and represents major advances in uniting energy awareness and high-tech education. There, in more than a dozen classrooms and laboratories, the college will be educating and training workers in a range of green technology fields.
A shared vision led to the creation of this innovative place of learning. The college partnered with the New York State Environmental Resource Development Authority (NYSERDA), architecture firm Perkins+Will and LeChase Construction. The resulting design represents the college’s and NYSERDA’s commitment to education and investment in the future of sustainable technology. Funds for the $13.5 million project came from New York State, a direct result of former State Senator Joseph Bruno’s commitment and support for the TEC-SMART concept.
A teaching tool in itself, the building is a showcase for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly technologies, design, and building techniques and tools. Among the highlights:
- Accessible photovoltaic panels and wind turbines energy and tools will provide hands-on training. The panel arrays will supply up to 30 percent of the building’s energy during the summer.
- Roofing materials will reflect solar energy to reduce the absorption of unwanted heat.
- Narrow “clerestory” windows at the top of the highest walls will maximize the amount of sun that reaches the interior during winter months. A sun-facing wall collects solar heat during the winter. Eaves and overhangs work to block the sun from the wall in the summer, when the heat is not needed.
- A “ground-source” heat pump will draw out heat from the ground to provide additional renewable heating energy.
- Sustainable materials incorporated into the building include salvaged wood and stone from a local quarry.
The net result of these choices will be an approximately 40 percent reduction in energy consumption compared to a typical power usage. In fact, TEC-SMART qualifies for LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED, or Leadership in Environmental Design, is a nationally recognized benchmark certification program for high-performance green buildings.
TEC-SMART’s location in the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park (STEP®) also indicates its function. Developed by NYSERDA, STEP offers office, laboratory and light manufacturing space for clean energy and environmental technology companies looking for strategic locations to build and grow.
TEC-SMART and STEP are next to the Luther Forest Technology Campus, a 1,350-acre campus designed for nanotechnology manufacturing and research and development.
The teaching focus at TEC-SMART will be the theory of design and green energy, along with practical applications such as installation of renewable-energy technologies. The college also will offer related courses there in business and the liberal arts and sciences areas, including English, psychology, math and more.
Ultimately, TEC-SMART’s goal is two-fold: Firstly, to become the premier center for hands-on education and training for semiconductor manufacturing and alternative and renewable energy technologies for schools, business, government and the public at regional, statewide and national levels. To that end, during the next decade, the college will be training 500 to 600 technicians that the Capital Region’s growing Tech Valley is expected to need.
Secondly, to grow community awareness and knowledge around the need for — and availability of — alternative and renewable energy sources. For that reason, TEC-SMART also will be home to an interactive Community Education Center, where school groups, community organizations and businesses can take courses, learn about energy issues and emerging technologies and host meetings and seminars.