November 15, 2012
ZEN plans move ahead
By: Larry Rulison
Source: Times Union
ALBANY — The construction season never ends at Albany NanoTech.
week, the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and
Engineering will release bid documents to developers, architects and
construction companies for the school's latest undertaking — a
200,000-square-foot facility dedicated to clean energy technology.
NanoCollege has been planning the new facility — known as the ZEN
building for "zero-energy nano" — for years now. It will be just east of
the school's $365 million NanoFab X building that is expected to be
completed by the end of the year.
will be available next Tuesday for qualified businesses that sign
confidentiality agreements. Responses to the RFP, in which architectural
firms and developers outline their ideas and specifications for the
building, are due back to the NanoCollege on Jan. 4.
spokesman Steve Janack confirmed that the new building would be the ZEN
building, although he said additional details are not available, except
those previously revealed by the school.
Construction of the ZEN
building has been envisioned to begin after completion of the $18
million project to move Washington Avenue Extension to the north of the
11-acre parcel where NanoFab X has been built. In renderings, both
NanoFab X and the ZEN building appear to be connected.
NanoFab X and the ZEN building were designed for research and
development operations for large consortia of companies in the
NanoFab X, which is 280,000 square
feet, will house the Global 450 Consortium, a group of the world's
largest computer chip makers that are working to transition the industry
to using larger, 18-inch, or 450 millimeter, silicon wafers for
manufacturing. The current industry standard is 12-inch wafers.
ZEN building is expected to house clean-energy research coming out of
the NanoCollege, including the new U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing
Consortium, which the school was able to launch with a $57 million grant
from the U.S. Department of Energy. Previous estimates have put the
cost of the ZEN building at between $75 million and $85 million. The bid
documents being released next week call for not only lab and office
space, but also classrooms and state-of-the-art information technology
Presentations by college officials to various
industry groups indicate that the ZEN building will be a living
laboratory and demonstration project for buildings that have a net
energy consumption of zero. The building would also allow researchers to
analyze the "interplay" between energy, water, light, ventilation,
temperature and waste, according to these presentations. Researchers
would also test new building concepts through simulation software.
the NanoCollege is seeking bids on a building that would be at
"minimum" 200,000 square feet, the size of the ZEN building has been
previously listed as only 100,000 square feet of space in documents
submitted to the state last month for funding through the Capital Region
Economic Development Council. However, school officials have said in
the past that some of the operations originally located in the NanoFab X
building could find their way to the ZEN building, which could account
for the additional space.