The energy crisis is not only an American problem but also a global problem. What will happen when fossil fuels run out? Can our planet and its inhabitants even survive the constant burning of these fossil fuels? The University of Wisconsin-Madison doesn’t want to wait around to find out. Their skilled energy researchers and scientists are scattered around multiple colleges and in more than twenty campus buildings to find an answer to these questions.
In order to bring all of these researchers together, the university and the state of Wisconsin decided to construct a state-of-the-art Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) building to serve as a central sustainable and clean energy research hub on campus. Exciting, innovative research in advanced fuels, renewable energy and energy storage systems are among the various activities taking place in the new structure.
The building was strategically positioned between the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering, yet it also brings together scientists from other colleges and even the private sector. When the new WEI building opened its doors in April 2013, many architects and clean energy enthusiasts couldn’t wait to take a tour of the structure. The building itself was built with many sustainable features in mind. Approximately 95% of construction waste was recycled, and the building is projected to use 48.8% less energy than code minimum. Additionally, more than 35% of the building’s electricity is provided from green power, and the structure uses chilled beam technology for cooling, which doesn’t necessitate air movement and increases energy efficiency.
Furthermore, WEI was constructed with visual connectivity in mind. Each research floor contains sightlines to promote more opportunities for conversation and collaboration between researchers from various disciplines. The new, sustainable WEI building is a shining light for the future of renewable and clean energy research in the state of Wisconsin.
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Credits: Images by Kaylie Duffy. Data linked to sources.