Sustainable Facilities Lab officially opens with ribbon cutting ceremony

Members of Rowan's College of Engineering’s Sustainable Facilities Center inaugurate new facility - Editor-in-Chief/Miguel Martinez

On Tuesday, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held in the atrium of Rowan Hall to celebrate the establishment of Rowan’s Sustainable Facilities Laboratory.

Housed in the Rowan College of Engineering’s Sustainable Facilities Center, the lab was founded in 2018, but the ceremony celebrating its opening was not held until Tuesday. 

The lab’s focus is to cut the environmental and economic impacts of buildings, while also giving students practical experience in the field, Sean Fischer, the associate dean for external affairs for the engineering department said.

One service the lab provides is “building audits, to make sure buildings are operating as efficiently as they can, with respect to energy usage,” Fischer said. “The program has a direct impact on the National Guard’s ability to manage its facilities. It’s a great way to engage the students in research where there is a visual outcome… we think that’s a great way to bring research experience into the undergraduate missions.”

$6.8 million have been committed to projects in the Sustainable Facilities Center by New Jersey’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Army National Guard. 

The projects are extremely important in helping both groups more efficiently manage their large properties says Major Jeanne Falchek, the Planning and Programming Branch Chief for the Construction Facilities Management Office of the New Jersey Army National Guard.

“The Rowan engineering department internship programs are instrumental to our success in providing sustainable facilities for our soldiers to train in,” Falchek said.

Falcheck went on to speak about why Rowan was chosen to be in charge of such projects, and what being able to contribute to these projects can do for Rowan engineering students.

“We chose Rowan because Rowan is an outstanding engineering university,” Falchek said. “We have a great opportunity here for the students to gain industry knowledge that they might not otherwise get.”

On their website, Rowan’s Sustainable Facilities Center lists its services. The center offers assistance in building energy and water audits, 3D laser scans of building interiors and exteriors, building information modeling, BUILDER SMS implementation, facility management, energy outreach and planning, and solar and wind assessments.

The facility gives Rowan engineering students and researchers the opportunity to perform those services for real clients. Around 40 Rowan engineering students work in the center as part of their engineering clinic, along with paid interns during the summer.

One student who is currently working on projects for real clients such as the Army National Guard through the program is Beau Burris, a senior civil engineering major who has been with the program for the past two years as part of his engineering clinic.

Burris had this to say about the Sustainable Facilities Lab’s opening, along with some of the work he has done through the program.

“The NJDMAVA (New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs) recently just opened this facility up on the second floor [of Rowan Hall] for us to use…It’s a nice setup for us to do work in,” Burris said. “I’ve been on this program for the past two years. Last year, I was part of the sustainable facilities clinic, where we looked at the BUILDER SMS… Currently I am on the building information modeling team, where we are building 3D models of these specific buildings of study, which are these armories for the Army and National Guard.”

Burris also said that through the program, students “[help clients] overall be much more efficient, and look at ways that we can reduce their effect on the environment and how they handle business.”

The $6.8 million committed to projects at Rowan between the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Army National Guard has earned recognition as one of the top five Army community partnerships in the nation.

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