New York State Innovation Summit – Day 1: The ReWire Group
Get set for an eye-opening expedition into the world of energy and technology with Al Evans from the ReWire Group. We promise you’ll walk away understanding the indispensable contributions of this dual-division company that optimizes energy decisions in tandem with digital tech applications. Al unravels the unique operations of ReWire Group which has become a beacon for property owners, developers, and large-scale companies looking to bolster their energy efficiency.
Stay with us as we venture into the visionary project of the Advanced Manufacturing Performance Center. We dive into the role of ReWire Group in this enterprise, and the creation of CAP – a career and technology alignment platform. Hear about the Zen Career Training Platform, nestled within the state-of-the-art Zen building. This mammoth 356,000 square foot structure, armed with a four megawatt data center, is a testament to energy-efficient technologies. Michael Fancher, director of the University of Albany’s Center for Advanced Technology in Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials, joins us to shed light on the digital twin developed from the data derived from the building’s 8,000 data tags for continuous commissioning.
Steve Melito: So welcome to New York State Manufacturing Now, the podcast powered by FuzeHub, the very special edition at the New York State Innovation Summit in Saratoga, New York. We are here with Al Evans, Al welcome.
Al Evans: Well, thank you, Steve. Good to be here.
Steve Melito: Yes, and I should have mentioned Al, as with the ReWire group, one of our exhibitors, and Al. To start with, what does ReWire do?
Al Evans: Well, ReWire the best way to describe ReWires ReWire group is an umbrella entity and we have two primary divisions. We have ReWire energy, which is our energy advisory and consulting firm. They really provide guidance and advice to our customers on really how to make the best energy decisions. And we have ReWire digital. Our digital is our digital technology application and platform development and process automation arm and we build all types of technology, not just for energy related customers, but we also focus on healthcare and advanced manufacturing and other things. But we are taking those capabilities from the digital division and the energy division and merging those capabilities to help our clients embrace and transition to what we’re calling the new energy economy and, for example, the way we do that. It’s kind of a linear process in some regards. The energy advisory firm sits down with a customer and talks to them about what their objectives are and typically it’s their economic objectives how are they going to reduce their costs as it relates to energy and we talk to them about the best ways to do that and we design their solution. We don’t do installation, we don’t do the efficiency measures, we don’t install solar arrays, but we bring in a team that does it. We design the solution and we make sure it adheres and aligns with their economic objectives how they’re going to save money, primarily, but also to help them decarbonize, lower their carbon footprint, and also to be a participant and moving towards things that we can all do to save our planet from climate change.
Steve Melito: Very good. And Al, who is your ideal customer? Is it a manufacturer, a technology company, a homeowner? Maybe all of the above, even?
Al Evans: Well, we typically don’t do direct homeowner residential, but what we do is target. As for our customers, property owners and developers are two of our primary objectives. Large companies like a BBL they have a portfolio multifamily properties, municipal properties. Large multifamily residential is a good target for us. One of the reasons for that, Steve, is that there’s the Inflation Reduction Act, which was passed last year, in 2022, and that really has a lot of benefits for those type of entities, not only multifamily and big portfolio property owners, but those that are part of a disadvantage or disenfranchise are underrepresented communities. There’s dollars for them. So ReWire is really focused on this business because it’s important. We didn’t go into something that was commercial just to make money. We wanted to do something that was something of benefit and of value to humanity. Basically, so our customers can be a large municipality, it could be a large property portfolio owner, it could be an advanced manufacturing location, it could be a single building, it could be a hotel like this. Anyone who has a significant energy footprint would be our customer. It’s good, that’s a nice big market for it. It is a big market and especially mid-market. I mean a lot of the tools and system things we do and develop at the enterprise level. You can have. You have the funds, you have the resources to take advantage of those things that are very, very expensive. Right, and at the middle market they don’t have a lot of options. We feel like that’s appropriate for us in terms of who we want to serve.
Steve Melito: Got it. And so here today at the Innovation Summit, what’s your day been like so far? I heard you met somebody, maybe Kathy Hochul, for example.
Al Evans: We did meet Kathy Hochul. It’s a very interesting day and we repelled privilege that we’re asked to be part of the welcoming committee. She stopped by our booth and we had a quick chat, but it was good to chat with her. Very briefly, she was very concerned about making sure that we’re hiring and we’re growing and that’s really part of the participation that we have in the region is we’re part of workforce development, we’re part of economic development. We have a location at ETEC Innovation Center. I serve on the committee of Innovate 518 and do a lot of work in workforce development, Hudson Valley, SUNY Poly projects with them all focused on the intersection of energy, and we’re training that workforce of tomorrow. As a matter of fact, ReWire is a NYSERDA clean energy training firm. We’ve been designated as a clean energy training firm in a couple of their categories and we also are a clean energy internship program participant. We hire clean energy interns. We have about five of them.
Steve Melito: Excellent. Have you had some other folks stop by the booth today?
Al Evans: We’ve had some good conversations. We have. This event has been good. My first year was last year in Buffalo and I think there was a quote. It was one of the best events we’ve ever attended in terms of the upside and the benefits and the networking that took place. So I think as soon as registration opened, I signed up immediately and got my prime spot the choice of my booth. So people who came by were the right people. It’s not a lot, but one of them makes it worthwhile. Tom Caulfield, the CEO of GlobalFoundries, stopped by. We had Clayton from Empire State Development Fund talking to us about when we’re ready to find.
Steve Melito: Clayton Besch.
Al Evans: Yes, when we’re ready to find a private investor or a high net worth individual investor, they would be ready with matching funds. So all these types of conversations have been beneficial. And then people just entities, companies that would be in our supply chain, that would provide components to what we do, because a lot of our technology is going to be built on what we call an integration platform. So it’s an ecosystem, it’s participants. We don’t develop every piece of the technology. We plug those pieces of technology into our platform, which is part of what helps us monitoring the energy activities, the building consumption activities, building performance at our clients location.
Steve Melito: Good, and Al, for all those companies that aren’t here today, we wish that they were. How can they get a hold of you after the event?
Al Evans: Well, there’s certainly a number of channels in which they can get a hold of us. We have a number of websites. We have a website for ReWire Digital, which is ReWire-digital.com. The energy division is ReWireEnergy.com. Hello, Michael Fancher! And you can always call me directly, 518-365-0431. I’m not a big Twitter guy, but LinkedIn is a good location which to reach out to me as well, and look forward to talking to people who are part of this merging energy ecosystem and that can use our help.
Steve Melito: Very good. Al Evans from ReWire Group, thanks for being on New York State Manufacturing Now.
Al Evans: Thank you for having us. It was a great experience.
Steve Melito: Excellent, thank you. All right, so very good. You know, sometimes serendipity happens. If that’s the right word, we have one of your customers with us, al. So this is Mike Fancher. And Mike, tell us about yourself your job title. I can’t keep up with them. I think you’re on a couple of different things these days.
Michael Fancher: I’m the director for the University of Albany’s Center for Advanced Technology in Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials, and then also help drive the Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnology. Also within that role, I’ve launched a program with funding from the Department of Commerce for the Advanced Manufacturing Performance Center, and I’m also the principal investigator on most of our clean energy projects, including the Zero Energy Nano facility, or Zen facility.
Steve Melito: So great, and so you’re obviously a great fit for the services Al’s company provides. How did you two meet?
Michael Fancher: So we, our relationship, began with the award of the funding by the Department of Commerce to create the Advanced Manufacturing Performance Center, and the goal of that grant was to kind of leverage all of the enormous kind of capabilities that we have at the Albany Nanotech complex and harness that for technology innovation and workforce training and one of the things that we saw was lacking was an ability or an application that could help give visibility into the career pathways in the semiconductor industry and as well as give visibility into the enormous technology portfolio of capabilities within the Albany Nanotech complex. So I reached out, selected ReWire group to assist and building applications that allow for an organization of all of an enormous amount of information across the enterprise, across the Albany Nanotech enterprise, for both workforce training and career pathways, as well as for technology innovation resources. And so we created a career alignment platform and the technology alignment platform, cap, and then concurrently we I also was the principal investigator on a large department NYSERDA grant focusing on the analysis of the zero energy nano facility, the Zen facility, where we had to do a complete a measurement, verification of the of the entire building and kind of all the design documents and everything. And so ReWire helped me basically undertake the analysis, but also organize the output of that analysis in a way that would be used as an archive resource for what has now become the Zen career training platform that we have today, so what we call the partner-aligned training hub, the Zen partner line training hub, or Zen pack.
Steve Melito: Great and for those who aren’t familiar with Albany, we’re gonna be talking to people statewide, maybe even nationwide. Tell us about the Zen building a little bit more.
Michael Fancher: Well, it’s an amazing building 356,000 square foot building that was designed, conceived, designed and built as a living laboratory for energy efficiency, which meant that the design process was radically changed, and the reason they could do that was that they used a building energy model to evaluate all the different options and approaches that you can take in the building. What was unique about it was that it includes New York State’s Excelsior Cloud Tier 3 data center in the first floor, new York being the only state in the nation that actually consolidated all of its state data centers into one located in the first floor of the Zen. That means it has to run as a mission critical facility, and that mission critical facility means data, lots of data, and we track in that building 8,000 data tags, and we’ve working with ReWire. We’ve developed a data warehouse that has allowed a number of different analysis platform companies to come in with their technologies and demonstrate, or, let’s say, harness, this data for a variety of different outcomes.
Steve Melito: That’s excellent and I would imagine the energy loads on a data center are pretty high in terms of cooling especially.
Michael Fancher: Yeah, it’s a four megawatt data center, designed for maximum load of four megawatts, so it’s a it’s a you know large data center. What’s unique about it was the heat harvesting from the data center that we use to heat the building in the winter. Ah good, so you’re using that waste heat essentially, that’s right, and it also incorporates several other, I would say not GWIS technologies, but more cutting edge established technologies, for example, an enthalpy wheel that extracts the waste heat from the change out air in the building, or 250 variable air volume units that allow for delivery of cooling and heating at microzones within each floor plate and so it’s given us this rich real world data that you can use for a variety of different applications, such as continuous commissioning where you can evaluate every system in the building every 10 minutes, see where it is in its performance, to even now where we’ve been developing a digital twin using that building energy model, replacing the estimated data that was used in that model with real world data from the data warehouse. So it’s pretty exciting things, I’d say unique, at least in the state, probably in the country and it’s a perfect platform for not only workforce training which is what we’re really doing a lot of work with ReWire on, with NYSERDA funding on these workforce training grants to develop next generation facilities, operations and management training that’s more data driven right but also for technology innovation for the design architecture world, for data science world, for clean energy world, where you want to evaluate a new clean energy technology within the integrated system of systems of an advanced building.
Steve Melito: Exciting stuff happening right here in New York state, right here in the Capital Region. Mike Fancher, Al Evans, thanks for being on New York State Manufacturing now.
Michael Fancher: Pleasure to be here. Thank you, happy to be here.
Al Evans: Happy to be here.
Steve Melito: Thanks for being here.