Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute and Infrastructure & Sustainability Sign MOU for Joint Collaboration Opportunities

The Strategic Energy Institute (SEI) and the Infrastructure & Sustainability (I&S) unit of the Georgia Institute of Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on using campus as a living lab for deployment of clean energy technologies, reduce the campus carbon footprint, while also developing campus testbeds that can be research assets. 

With the recent passage of major federal energy and climate opportunities (both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act), one of the focus areas of this MOU is to partner on capturing federal and state resources to achieve Georgia Tech’s Living Campus goals.

The projects undertaken within this plan will provide real-time data and examples of energy systems that benefit academic and research leadership and external partners in the energy marketplace. At the same time, by promoting best in class energy management practices, the projects will enable I&S to move towards achieving the campus energy and water reduction goals and the larger goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. This effort is being led by Joe Hagerman (NEETRAC), Scott Duncan (AE), Jung-Ho Lewe (AE), and Greg Spiro (I&S), who have started mapping federal funding opportunities to campus infrastructure development opportunities, as well as engaging with national labs to promote the Georgia Tech campus as a testbed for other research projects.

"By merging academics and research with campus spaces, we have a unique opportunity to form partnerships and provide real-world educational experiences,” said Maria Cimilluca, vice president of Infrastructure & Sustainability. “Leveraging our buildings and environment as a living campus is an exciting vision as we implement the strategic plans, goals, and initiatives that guide the direction of sustainability and resiliency for the Institute.”

The MOU articulates the long-established working relationship between the two units. Projects include the Georgia Tech microgrid located in Tech Square; campus spaces for air quality research; the student-led piezoelectric sidewalk; an actionable data repository for building sensors, meters, building automation systems; and external data streams that enable integrated analytics, as well as supervisory controls of GT campus buildings.

By enhancing this relationship, SEI will better serve I&S and the campus by providing leadership, oversight, and coordination of energy related stakeholders and will provide and recommend resources as needed.

In the near term, the team will start crafting a strategy to tap into the federal funding opportunities available to decarbonize and electrify our infrastructure and campus. They will identify priorities and strategies to collaborate with federal, state, and non-government partners and turn the Georgia Tech into a living campus — and to lead by example.

“SEI is excited to partner with I&S to lower the overall carbon footprint of our campus and design and utilize our campus facilities as a living learning lab,” said Tim Lieuwen, executive director of the Strategic Energy Institute. “As a part of strategic plan, this is a great opportunity to pilot research projects in our own facilities and work together to pursue facilities-focused federal and state funding opportunities.”

About the Strategic Energy Institute
The Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute (SEI) is one of Georgia Tech's ten Interdisciplinary Research Institutes. Founded in 2004, the Institute serves as system integrator for more than 1000 campus researchers working across the entire energy value chain. SEI is deeply engaged in building community, developing resources, and projecting thought leadership, all with the aim of marshalling the full resources of Georgia Tech around tackling the tough energy and environmental problems society faces – from generation, to distribution, to use. Whether it’s commercializing a technology to address a specific challenge or designing a roadmap for focusing resources, the team at SEI understand the systems, technologies, and context of the ever-evolving nature of energy production and use.

About I&S
Infrastructure and Sustainability (I&S) is comprised of more than 600 dedicated professionals throughout 15 departments who provide operational excellence via a framework of services for the Georgia Tech campus. I&S sets the standard for how to deliver an environment that is safe, sustainable, resilient, and innovative through the empowerment of our people and stewardship of our campus resources.