President Johnson speaks to university’s commitment to energy efficiency through new facility

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Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson attends the ground breaking ceremony for the Energy Advancement and Innovation Center located on West Campus. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State University

Ohio State is moving one step closer to its sustainability goals with the creation of the Energy Advancement and Innovation Center in the university’s Innovation District.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the project took place Nov. 12 and is part of an ongoing contract signed in 2017 with Ohio State Energy Partners , which operates energy systems across campus, Dawn Larzelere, associate vice president for the Business Development and Innovation District, said. The facility is intended to bring people of different disciplines together to solve complex energy issues.

“It will be a hub for Ohio State researchers, local entrepreneurs, industry experts to work together on the next generation of smart systems, renewable energy and sustainability solutions,” Larzelere said.

The center will focus on research that will impact the future of the planet, University President Kristina M. Johnson said at the ceremony .

“The Energy Advancement and Innovation Center will be an opportunity generator that provides the tools necessary for us to be effective global citizens of the 21st century and make the earth a better, healthier and more sustainable place to live,” Johnson said.

Larzelere said energy efficiency will be both studied and used in the construction of the building. There will be a rooftop photovoltaic array –– a solar power system –– that will provide some of the building’s energy.

The facility will have 700 solar panels and remain grid tied — meaning it can use either solar power or the university energy grid for power, university spokesperson Dan Hedman said in an email. He said the building will also have a variable refrigerant flow heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, a multi-split system which will cut down on energy usage and increase efficiency by allowing control of separate zones.

The building will also have a cafe, an event hall, a public gallery and classroom space that will teach a variety of disciplines, Larzelere said.

“There are certain things we want to make sure we have in these buildings to make it usable not just for our research community but for others to access science and make science more accessible,” Larzelere said.

Johnson said the building holds a lot of promise for the future and she wants it to demonstrate the university’s commitment to energy efficiency.

“Where there’s a Buckeye, there’s a way,” Johnson said. “And that way is taking the size, scale and scope of this incredible institution and the Energy Advancement Innovation Center and maximize our efforts together.”

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