Expansion (maybe) for Stony Brook’s AERTC

Expanded coverage: Bigger may be better for the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center.

There’s an overload at the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center.

With demand edging supply and its incubators overflowing, Stony Brook University’s hub of academia, research and commercial energy production is looking to expand.

The AERTC’s incubator programs now host eight tenants with next-level energy-efficiency aspirations – and they’d like to welcome more, according to AERTC Chairman Robert Catell, who this week teased the possibility of future constructon.

“The good news is, we’re out of space,” Catell told Innovate LI. “The bad news is, we’re out of space.”

Robert Catell: Keep growing.

While those eight tenants are at various points on the commercialization spectrum, most are not extremely close to commercial independence – and certainly, none are especially eager to give up the AERTC’s myriad benefits, including “facility use permits” that guarantee affordable rental space, in-house business-development assistance, access to cutting-edge SBU research facilities and a ready flow of faculty and student talent.

To that end, the AERTC is thinking expansion – as in, the potential construction of an addition to the center’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design-rated facility, according to Catell.

That’s no mean feat: The AERTC building is designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, denoting maximum energy efficiency and minimum environmental impact.

It’s still attempting to qualify – as of 2012, the U.S. Green Building Council had granted LEED Platinum certification to fewer than 1,100 buildings around the world – but even coming close puts the AERTC facility in an elite environmental class. And any addition would have to meet those same super-strict energy-efficiency standards.

That ain’t cheap, noted Catell, who described a nascent expansion process in its earliest stages.

“You have to raise the money to do it,” the chairman said. “And that takes time.”

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