The Wisconsin Energy Institute, which represents the sustainable and collaborative research it houses to find new ways to reduce and conserve energy, will open to the public in early April.
The institute is a metacenter, connecting energy researchers from across campus and multiple disciplines, WEI spokesperson Ben Miller said in an email to The Badger Herald. He said the center brings together scientists from two different colleges and nine academic apartments.
“WEI provides a new approach to tackling large-scale societal challenges,” Miller said.
Miller said challenges like energy are not necessarily recognized in the traditional university boundaries like departments or colleges.
The institute can be described in two different ways, according to WEI spokesperson Falicia Hines. The first, she said, is that it is a sustainable facility that is home to labs researching groundbreaking new ways to conserve energy.
The second, Hines added, is the aspect of the facility. She said this includes what occurs beyond the bounds of the building and connects faculty and students with new sustainable energy research.
Hines said the facility contains multidisciplinary research from different colleges and different parts of campus, and is a collaborative space for researchers that would have otherwise been separated.
The goal of the facility, according to Hines, is to connect various existing energy-related research so the WEI can be a hub to people in the state and throughout the nation.
“The WEI contains cutting-edge research and game-changing energy discoveries,” Hines said.
Of the many sustainable features of the building, Hines said one is that it utilizes natural lighting through wall to ceiling windows as a way to harness lighting and reduce energy usage.
Other interesting features of the building, Hines said, include the bioenergy reservation gardens on the outside of the building. She said these gardens serve as a miniature model for some of the research taking place in the building.
Hines said the institute is a state-funded building that will be dedicated back to the state and to the university.
The dedication of the facility and grand opening to the public will take place from Friday, April 5 to Saturday, April 6, according to a University of Wisconsin statement.
“The dedication is a way to recognize the investment that Wisconsin taxpayers have made in this facility and to showcase how our work will positively impact the communities, companies and citizens of the state,” Miller said.
Hines said the dedication of this facility is to celebrate energy research in the building and on campus.
The WEI is currently pursuing LEED Gold Certification, Hines said. She said the LEED certification is given by the U.S. Green Building Council and there are a number of requirements that must be met and brought into the design of the building.
Recycling 95 percent of construction waste, using natural daylight and using low-flow plumbing fixtures and reclaimed and recycled materials throughout the building, according to Hines, are just a few of the efforts to reduce energy consumption in the building.