The Bruce and Phyllis Nicholas Engineering Student Projects Studio is a compact building with major impact. As part of the master plan for Rutgers University’s School of Engineering, and the university’s first net-zero building, this purpose-built, all-electric facility was a major step for the institution and SLAM as the first on-campus carbon neutral facility that celebrates its students.
The facility is a dedicated space for students to conceptualize and build fully functioning projects. The more than 1,000 students who join Rutgers University’s engineering clubs now have a dedicated, state-of-the-art facility for interdisciplinary collaboration, project and equipment management, and preparation for intercollegiate competition – including Rutgers Formula Racing, Rutgers Solar Car Team, and other student organizations with design, build, and compete objectives.
In 2019 Rutgers announced the creation of the President’s Task Force on Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience with a purpose to develop strategies for achieving global net-zero carbon dioxide emissions. The university has invested in renewable energy sources to power its real estate portfolio.
Ultimately, the School of Engineering delivered Rutgers’ first net-zero project in support of the university’s new mission with this highly technical, design and manufacturing building that is independently powered by the sun.
The programming and energy usage requirements presented a unique design challenge. Our design team worked closely with key project stakeholders, from the university president to students, to understand project requirements, including complex process loads of operating a design and manufacturing facility. Our detailed survey of club operations, a year of collected data points, and the school’s request to put the engineering process on display along a highly traveled campus road helped the building begin to take shape.
A launchpad for innovative project development that will position our students to compete with those from peer universities on the national stage. It will create an environment that fosters teamwork, originality, and the development of problem-solving and management skills, and it will create new opportunities for students to collaborate with industry on real-world technological challenges.