The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) presented the first-ever Pioneer Award to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center (LRC) at a ceremony commemorating NYSERDA's 25th anniversary. The award recognizes the LRC for "excellence in energy innovation in the public interest."
The award was presented to LRC Director Dr. Mark Rea by NYSERDA President F. William Valentino at a reception held at the Crowne Plaza in downtown
Albany, New York. The ceremony was hosted by NYSERDA Chairman William R. Howell, Valentino, and NYSERDA Vice President William M. Flynn. Howell and New York State Lieutenant Governor Mary O. Donohue delivered keynote speeches to a packed crowd of NYSERDA supporters and collaborators, including New York State Assemblyman and Chairman of the Committee on Energy Paul D. Tonko and New York State Senator and Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Telecommunications James Wright.
Pioneer Awards were presented to ten New York State organizations for their leadership in energy-efficiency and environmental development, with most awards going to corporations that market environmentally-friendly technologies, like SunWize Technologies and ECR International, or to organizations that have successfully implemented such technologies throughout their facilities, including the Shenendehowa Central School District and the Office of Mental Health.
"We are honored to have been selected for this competitive award from among the hundreds of distinguished organizations that have collaborated
with NYSERDA," Dr. Rea said. "We are especially pleased to be the only university to receive this award."
In his presentation, Valentino paid respect to the late Jim Barron, who, as NYSERDA's lighting research and development project manager, originally conceived establishing a world-class center for lighting research and education in New York State. In 1988, Barron and NYSERDA sponsored a statewide competition for funding to start such a center, which was won by Rensselaer's School of Architecture.
In the 12 years since, the LRC has grown into an interdisciplinary center of 40 professionals devoted to lighting excellence. Their research
has transformed the lighting industry, driving the acceptance of such innovations as L.E.D. traffic signals and exit signs, high-efficiency
fluorescent lighting systems, improved visibility for snowplows, and certification for lighting professionals.
As Valentino remarked, "Unfortunately Jim Barron is not with us today to witness the success of a dream he first conceptualized and convinced
NYSERDA management to support, a Lighting Research Center in New York. It is with pride, congratulations and thanks for a job done better than
even Jim dreamed of that I award this Pioneer Award to the Lighting Research Center."
The other Pioneer Award winners were:
Rupprecht & Pataschnick of Albany for air quality monitoring devices.
Steven Winter Associates for energy efficiency services and green building leadership.
SunWize Technologies of Kingston for leadership in developing and marketing photovoltaic products.
Goulds Pumps ITT Industries for developing a process to reduce the volatile organic compound content of their industrial painting operation.
Lockheed Martin/NYC-MTA for developing and successfully operating the hybrid-electric drivetrain for transit buses now in operation in New York City.
ECR International for work conducted through it subsidiaries Dunkirk Boiler, Utica Boiler, and EnviroMaster International to develop energy-efficient
and environmentally sound heating and cooling systems for the residential and small commercial markets.
Shenendehowa Central School District for its efforts to promote and advocate for energy performance contracting in schools as well as leadership
in building the largest natural gas-powered school bus fleet in the State.
Energy Investment Systems of New York City for leadership in promoting energy efficiency in low-income, public housing using advanced metering
technologies throughout New York City.
The Office of Mental Health for its efforts to incorporate energy efficiency throughout its statewide network of facilities, reducing energy use
at these facilities by a remarkable 40%.