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UB RENEW advances environmental, energy projects in Buffalo and beyond

Installing solar panels at the Cazenovia Park ice rink. Making streetlights more energy efficient on Genesee and Niagara streets. Curbing pollution in Scajaquada Creek.

All are examples of how the University at Buffalo’s Institute for Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water (RENEW) is working with the city of Buffalo to help create a smarter, cleaner and more resilient community.

The projects are just a few of the growing portfolio of initiatives being co-led by RENEW Fellows, a small group of UB engineers, urban planners and scientists, in conjunction with city officials.

“One of the goals of the innovative partnership between the city of Buffalo and the RENEW Institute—wherein RENEW Fellows are embedded within the city to help implement the city’s energy plan and to build connections between university faculty and the city of Buffalo—was to provide experience to the fellows to conduct impactful work,” said Amit Goyal, PhD, director of RENEW.

In addition to the efforts of the fellows, RENEW’s ongoing seed investment projects enlist faculty teams from across the university to address new areas of specialized investigation.

Keeping with RENEW’s sustainability focus, many of these projects center on clean water and the environment, like tracking microbial pollution in Lake Erie or studying the combined effects of environmental air pollution caused by traffic on the Peace Bridge and genomic susceptibility to predict autism in children. Other projects look at developing next-generation materials and devices for clean energy and electronics, evaluating the performance and ecological impact of Great Lakes wind farms, and exploring the potential to produce renewable energy on the region’s farmland. Another seeks to improve on climate models to more accurately predict precipitation, giving policymakers—and commuters—a leg up on extreme weather events.

But just as the environmental, energy and water crises extend beyond Western New York, the work done by RENEW has global significance. From designing consumer electronics with an eye toward encouraging green behavior to developing the next generation of high-efficiency materials for clean energy generators to identifying the regions most susceptible to extreme temperature events, RENEW is fostering leading-edge ideas to tackle today’s most pressing problems.

For more information on how UB is addressing environmental and energy issues through the RENEW Institute, visit buffalo.edu/renew