Center for Sustainably Integrated Buildings and Sites (SIBS)

SIBS_Logo_GreenEstablished in 2012, SIBS is led by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the City College of New York (CCNY) of the City University of New York. At the beginning of the Center’s fifth year, industry partners include:

Wells Fargo ◊ Bank of America ◊ Ingersoll Rand ◊ New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) ◊ New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS)  ◊ Concept3D

The I/UCRC Model

The National Science Foundation’s Industry/University Collaborative Research Center (I/UCRC) model is well established and has resulted in research advances in many sectors that have been brought to market and made impacts on a national scale. The model brings together representatives of industry, government, and universities to design and execute research defined by industry partners that has direct routes for market uptake and use. Another major benefit of the I/UCRC model is that students play crucial roles in the research, developing a pool of talent and experience that industry can tap into.


CIUS Director Dr. Robert “Buz” Paaswell addresses a SIBS IAB meeting.

SIBS is the only center in the I/UCRC network that focuses on building sustainability topics. SIBS’s current areas of research include:

  • Building performance analytics; interval energy data analysis, visualization, and modeling
  • Real time building energy management; operational effectiveness; “re-tuning” in buildings with and without Building Automation Systems
  • Building skin optimization, integrating daylighting opportunities with thermal loadings

At CCNY, SIBS is led by Dr. Robert Paaswell, Director of the CUNY Institute for Urban Systems. Researchers include Michael Bobker, Honey Berk, Marco Ascazubi, Paul Reale, and Da-Wei Huang of BPL as well as Nicholas Madamopoulos, Associate Professor in the Grove School of Engineering and Director of Optical Communications and Photonic Systems Laboratory. Past SIBS sponsors include Vornado Realty Trust and Johnson Controls.

EDL interns Katiushka Freeman and Marcus Henderson review findings at the June 2015 SIBS Center meeting.

BPL interns Katiushka Freeman and Marcus Henderson review findings of the DCAS energy dashboard project at the June 2015 SIBS meeting.

Example Success Story: CCNY researchers are funded by DCAS to create an energy information dashboard for its municipal building portfolio – and not only is the tool used by DCAS in hundreds of City of New York facilities, but in FY17, Wells Fargo and CCNY researchers will begin experimentation with adopting the tool for the bank’s commercial property portfolio.

Example Success Story: Concept3D, a technology startup, brought its digital energy auditing tool to the Center for development with CCNY. In partnership with DCAS, researchers customized the tool for use with NYC’s municipal agency energy managers, providing new features that other customers have found highly valuable.

How It Works

Industry/government partners contribute annual membership fees ($50,000 for a full membership, $15,000 for a small business membership) which go directly to fund research projects that are defined between the industry/government member and university researchers.

Members participate in an Industry Advisory Board (IAB) that meets regularly to define and monitor the Center’s projects. IAB members have the right to royalty-free licensing of any patented product or software application. Participating universities agree to limit their indirect rates to 10%, compared to normal rates of 50% or more, providing more “research bang for the buck.”

The Value Proposition

At the close of FY16, the Center’s independent evaluator interviewed IAB members and found that their organizations consider the investment in SIBS to be paying off, not only by measures of networking, collaboration, and hiring of new talent, but also in research cost avoidance, savings, and stimulation within the organization (calculated as research stimulated by SIBS membership that wouldn’t otherwise be undertaken). IAB members report they’ve saved more than a $1 million in research costs and more than $500,000 in research cost savings.