The deepest roots of Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) can be traced to a fertile combination of historical events, including:
The opening in 1825 of the Erie Canal
The establishment of Syracuse University in 1870
The invention of modern air conditioning technology in 1903 by Willis H. Carrier
The creation in 1911 of the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University (now the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry)
The relocation of Carrier Corp. in 1937 from Newark, NJ to Syracuse
The establishment of "Electronics Park" in Syracuse by General Electric in 1947
Photo: An 1874 bird's-eye view of Syracuse, showing the path of the Erie Canal.
More recently, the genesis of SyracuseCoE began in 1996 with Vision 2010, the blueprint for regional economic development that was prepared by the Metropolitan Development Association (MDA) of Syracuse and Central New York. The MDA plan identified "environmental systems, equipment, and services" as one of seven industry "clusters" in the region.
A committee was formed to evaluate opportunities for economic development in environmental systems. In 1998, the group narrowed the field of possibilities to the most promising areas, including indoor environmental quality and energy systems.
In 2000, the New York Indoor Environmental Quality (NYIEQ) Center was established as an independent not-for-profit corporation. The NYIEQ Center was conceived as a vital link between companies and academic institutions throughout the region, fostering projects that are driven by market opportunities.
In 2001, New York State invited 13 academic institutions to submit proposals to create Strategically Targeted Academic Research (STAR) centers to pursue academic research in areas of opportunity for economic development. The Environmental Quality Systems (EQS) STAR Center led by Syracuse University received $15.9 million, the largest award in the competition.
In 2002, then New York Gov. George E. Pataki created the New York Center of Excellence in Environmental Systems headquartered in Syracuse. SyracuseCoE was organized to include efforts of both the NYIEQ Center and the EQS STAR Center and other related enterprises at partner institutions, firms, and organizations.
In 2004, Pataki announced that the core mission of SyracuseCoE would expand to include "renewable and clean energy sources ... from wind and solar power to geothermal and fuel cells." In addition, Pataki directed the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create a partnership with the Syracuse CoE "to make New York's biofuels industry one of the strongest in the nation."
Since 1998, SyracuseCoE has secured awards and commitments of more than $44 million in state funds and more than $28 million from federal sources. The awards demonstrate outstanding commitment and exemplary collaboration by multiple elected officials, including Gov. Pataki, former Congressman James T. Walsh (NY-25), Congressman Dan Maffei (NY-25), and New York Assemblyman William Magnarelli.
Prof. P. Ole Fanger
On September 19, 2006, Syracuse University and SyracuseCoE lost a friend and an esteemed colleague. Dr. P. Ole Fanger was the world's leading expert on the effect of the indoor environment on human comfort, health, and productivity. He passed away while visiting Syracuse University in his capacity as a University Professor, SU's highest academic rank.
Fanger also was Senior Professor at the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy at the Technical University of Denmark. For more than three decades, Fanger conducted interdisciplinary research that contributed to identifying the prime importance of the indoor environment for human comfort, health, and productivity. His pioneering work on thermal comfort and indoor air quality provides the scientific foundation for standards across the world.