Symposium speakers to focus on mimicking nature in design
The Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems will host their sixth annual Syracuse Symposium on Environmental and Energy Systems next Monday and Tuesday.
This year’s theme, ‘Innovative Built Environments: Designs of Nature,’ will look at nature and ask if the ideas can be mimicked, said Mark Lichtenstein, director of operations at Syracuse CoE.
The symposium will include speakers from around the world as well as presentations by Syracuse University students and faculty.
‘We’ve got some pretty top notch speakers coming in,’ Lichtenstein said. ‘We’re really luck to have Hunter Lovins.’
Lovins, the president of Natural Capitalism, Inc., will talk about the idea of still promoting capitalism, but with the natural environment in mind. She supports the idea of sustainability, Lichtenstein said.
Peter Groffman, who has researched what types of construction best use the ecosystem, will talk about how the ecosystem is important when building, said Suresh Santanam, deputy executive director of Syracuse CoE.
The symposium will also feature two speakers from Germany, one who will discuss how to use the sunlight and rely less on artificial lighting, Santanam said.
Selected SU and State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry students and faculty will be giving presentations dispersed between the other speakers. Some of the students will present research they have done that has to do with funding Syracuse CoE has given out, Lichtenstein said.
Other speakers will address issues such as the use of wind energy, the design and manufacturing of common building materials, looking at the environment from a holistic approach and applying ideas from nature to our urban community.
The principle behind Syracuse CoE is to combine the efforts of researchers and private companies to focus on three main areas: clean renewable energy, indoor built environments and water resources.
‘The idea is to take research-innovative research-out into the marketplace,’ Lichtenstein said.
Syracuse CoE, housed at SU, represents 10 other academic institutions and over 120 private companies. It is critical for the local community to come together to translate knowledge, Santanam said.
With that community sentiment in mind, Syracuse CoE is expecting to draw architects, engineers, local businesses, construction companies, students and faculty. They are also expecting the local congressman and mayor to join.
‘We are expecting to attract a very diverse audience,’ Santanam said. Students are welcome to listen to any of the speakers for free, but there is an additional cost if students plan to stay for lunch.
Lichtenstein encourages students to come as a way to network with different businesses and explore career options.
‘I think it’s important for students to avail themselves with opportunities like this,’ he said.
Students on campus seemed very supportive of the efforts.
‘I would go. It’s good to be informed about the environment,’ said Morgan Freeman, a freshman biology and pre-med major. ‘I think it’s a good thing they’re taking initiative to make people aware of environmental issues.’
The symposium will be held Oct. 30 and 31 at the Marx Hotel. More information on registering for the symposium and a comprehensive schedule of speakers can be found on Syracuse CoE’s Web site, www.syracusecoe.org.
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