Diversifying the Tech Industry

In this week’s #TalkingCities, hear from Holberton School cofounders Julien Barbier, Sylvain Kalache, and Julien Cyr, pioneers changing the way education is delivered. Just named one of Business Insiders 19 Hottest San Francisco Startups to Watch in 2018, Holberton is a project-based college alternative for the next generation of software engineers seeking to diversify the tech industry.

Clean Energy Microgrids for Hospitals Make Electricity More Reliable

Clean Energy Microgrids for Hospitals Make Electricity More Reliable

November 6, 2017 By

Microgrid Knowledge

This is the second post in a Microgrid Knowledge series and focuses on why clean energy microgrids for health care and hospitals make sense.

In most businesses, costs are a paramount concern. Hospitals are not most businesses.

At a hospital, loss of electricity can lead to loss of life. So for hospitals, reliable electricity has a very high value. That makes hospitals prime candidates for the installation of clean energy microgrids.

That was brought home in 2013 after the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. Area hospitals were pushed to their limits, and that changed the perspective of many administrators. One area hospital was contemplating the installation of a CHP plant as part of a new facility. Typically, the decision to move forward with such a project would be heavily weighted on the economic benefit. But after the attack, this particular hospital “saw things in a whole different light,” says Michael Bakas, senior vice president at Ameresco. Economics were no longer the primary driving force. Instead, the first concern was the ability to act as a last line of def ense for the city in a crisis. The hospital could not lose its power; it had to be able to “island” or operate independently from the surrounding grid should disaster strike.

Unfortunately, that is a lesson that has been driven home several times in recent years—whether it is the Boston terrorist attack, the record flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey, the devastation in Florida from Hurricane Irma, the destruction of Puerto Rico’s grid from Hurricane Maria, or the near shut-down of New York City from Hurricane Sandy. Hospital administrators have had ample chance to gain firsthand experience of the importance of uninterrupted electrical service.

Hospitals are one of society’s pillar organizations turning to clean energy #microgridsCLICK TO TWEET

Existing safety regulations already require hospitals to have some form of backup generation, such as diesel generators. But when Sandy slammed into New York City in 2012, backup generators and other electrical systems failed at Bellevue Hospital, New York University’s Langone Medical Center, and at Coney Island Hospital, resulting in the evacuation of hundreds of patients during the storm. More recently, Hurricane Maria left hospitals in Puerto Rico unable to operate on patients, and undertake other critical procedures, because generators ran out of diesel fuel.

Backup generators may fulfill regulatory requirements, but they do not always perform when they are needed. In the 2003 Northeast blackout, half of New York City’s 58 hospitals suffered failures in their back-up power generators, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Part of the problem is that backup generators sit idle most of the time. Despite regular testing, they can fail when needed. Hospital microgrids, on the other hand, include some form of generation that operates on a regular basis, avoiding surprises when an emergency does hit.

Heat and power from one fuel

Hospitals that use a lot of steam, hot water, air conditioning and heat often benefit from CHP, which allows them to get two forms of energy from one clean fuel. CHP plants use the waste heat created in power generation, a byproduct typically discarded. This makes CHP a highly efficient form of energy.

Those were among the motivations when the New York State Research and Development Authority instituted the NY Prize, a program to aid the implementation of microgrids for critical facilities in the state. More than half of the 11 communities that were finalists in the $40 million program included hospitals in their projects.

The Town of Huntington on Long Island, one of the award recipients, is building a microgrid at Huntington Hospital with a 2.8-MW fuel cell and a battery storage facility that will enable the microgrid to island from the grid. The Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus, another NY Prize recipient, is strengthening its existing backup generators with a new CHP system, solar panels and battery storage to enable islanding.

Environmental and monetary benefits of hospital microgrids

clean energy microgrids

Because of their software intelligence, microgrids are able to manage a hospital’s energy resources, so that the cleanest generation is used first.

While resilience and reliability may be compelling reasons, they are not the only motivation behind hospitals’ adoption of clean energy microgrids. According to a 2013 survey conducted by Johnson & Johnson, nearly 90 percent of hospitals reported that they were incorporating sustainability into their planning process. Because of their software intelligence, microgrids are able to manage a hospital’s energy resources, so that the cleanest generation is used first.

Being a good citizen is part of the rationale, but the falling prices for solar panels and battery storage makes choosing a microgrid a wise economic decision, as well.

That is particularly true as hospitals face growing budgetary concerns. Hospitals are heavy energy users, making them particularly vulnerable to rising energy costs. Even though hospitals account for less than 1 percent of all U.S. commercial buildings, they account for 5.5 percent of commercial building energy usage.

In addition to providing resiliency and reliability, an intelligent hospital microgrid can monitor grid electricity prices throughout the day and switch to its own lower cost energy when grid prices spike. By shaving the top off those energy peaks, a hospital can also lower its demand charges because those charges are based on peak usage.

Taking the first step in installing a microgrid could impose a hefty financial burden on a cash strwp-contented hospital, but the rising popularity of microgrids has spurred financial innovations that can ease that burden.

By signing a power purchase agreement with a microgrid developer, for instance, a hospital pays only for the energy it uses from the microgrid and shares any savings while the developer handles installation and operation and maintenance.

Hospitals are just one of society’s pillar organizations turning to clean energy microgrids. Higher education is another. We explain why in the next post.

Over the next few weeks, the Microgrid Knowledge series on clean energy microgrids will cover the following topics:

  • Why Choose a Clean Energy Microgrid?

  • Clean Energy Microgrids for Colleges and Universities

  • Clean Energy Microgrids for the Military

  • Clean Energy Microgrids for the Commercial and Industrial Sector

  • Parris Island Microgrid Case Study

Download the full report, “The Rise of Clean Energy Microgrids: Why microgrids make sense for hospitals, higher education, military & government and businesses,”  downloadable free of charge courtesy of Ameresco.

Games Create Change

Matt talks with Asi Burak, CEO of Power Play NYC, about the growing popularity of e-sports over traditional sports among millennials and women; Asi’s role as the producer for the largest industry-facing gaming festival in NYC, the Games for Change Festival and how games impact education, healthcare, research, civics, and social issues;  and new research on neurogaming and the ways in which it can improve health, fitness and cognitive skills.

The Future of Medicine Book Inspired by the Jacobs Institute

Western New York may seem an unlikely place to invent the future of medicine. But in fact, Western New York—and the many communities like us around the country—are where the real battle over the future will take place.

While we are not home to the biggest pharmaceutical companies, nor are we the home of famous biotech and healthcare unicorns, we are where their creations are inevitably headed. Silicon Valley may be their pilot market, but places like Western New York are their proving ground. As you’ll see in Trickle-Up Innovation (p. 28), breakthroughs can—and, increasingly, will—hwp-contenten everywhere. But no matter where an innovation originates, until it works on Main Street, under our constraints, the future of medicine hasn’t really arrived.

Our challenges in Western New York are typical of so many other places around the country. With 2 million people, we are plenty big—so we’re no small challenge. Few in our community have the wealth reserves to pay for super-premium care; the vast majority have to accept what their insurance alone can cover. The health of our population shows the wear and tear of long winters, lives spent working on our feet and a steady diet of hearty but not heart-healthy comfort food. We’re aging, and presenting the typical signs that go hand in hand with aging—higher rates of stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

L. Nelson “Nick” Hopkins, MD, FACS Founder & Chief Scientific Officer The Jacobs Institute

Those of us who take care of this com- munity feel deeply invested. We care not just for our patients, but for the greater community and the healthcare system itself, across all providers. We’ve built the Jacobs Institute on the premise that fostering innovation is the most important thing we can do to ensure improved quality of care for current and future generations. We commissioned this report to rally and prepare local medical communities for the impending future. Our hope is that this report brings the stakeholders in our community and yours to the table to form long-term strategic innovation plans.

The report accurately describes the current state of affairs in major cities, and it wp-contentlies here. Providers are swamped with new mandated reporting requirements and are competing at too many levels, from primary care through specializations, rather than focusing on what they do best in the market, and getting ever better and more efficient at it. Our brands lack clarity, so patients feel confused and uninformed. All this accomplishes is slowly leaking market share to outsiders. Today, it’s patients choosing to get care down in Pittsburgh—or at Walmart. Soon, as the report warns, it’ll be national and global health brands reaching out to our patient population with virtual care. The same way Amazon has run roughshod over retailers’ business models, it—or Google, or Apple—could suddenly turn healthcare on its head by digitizing medicine at scale.

As mighty a challenge as it was to gaze into the years ahead and envision med- icine’s future, the even harder work will be done here, locally. It’s somewhat like solving a Rubik’s Cube—you understand what it’s supposed to get to, but it’s a puzzle to get there, one twist at a time. As you read this report, we encourage you to ponder how the future depicted creates new opportunities and might shape our strategic development plans for the years ahead.

Download the Report

BNMC Partners with Lyft

The BNMC is pleased to announce our partnership with Lyft to provide mobility solutions for employees who work on the Medical Campus, including services such as our guaranteed ride home program for employees using alternative transportation. Haven’t used Lyft before? Try it for free with promo code BNMC2017.
The code is only valid for new users and is worth one free ride, up to $10. The coupon will expire 21 days after it’s added to a Lyft account.

While we’re on promo codes, the Reddy Bike fleet will be downsizing for the winter in the next couple of weeks, so if you haven’t had a chance to sign up for your annual pass, there’s still time! Use promo code GOBNMC2017 for a free membership.

Curiosity Driven Innovation

Matt talks with Sam Marrazzo, the BNMC’s new Chief Innovation Officer. Sam talks about why he sees himself as a connector of technology, people, and places. He also touches on how being stationed on the U.S.S. Independence kicked off his career in technology; the importance of strong university alignment to drive innovation within cities; his longtime partnership with Topcoder; and why we should all “run to math”.

Innovation Summit at TCO17

The Innovation Summit on Tuesday, October 24th will bring together business and thought leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs from across the country, and the event is set against the backdrop of the Topcoder Open Finals — the ultimate programming and design tournament for elite members of the Topcoder Community.
You’ll get to witness live, on-stage competition between top designers, developers, and data scientists, and speakers from organizations such as M&T Bank, Illuminare Group, and Visionware Solutions will lead discussions on topics including:

  • Digital transformation and customer experience
  • Agile and the art of mindfulness
  • Blockchain, AI, and the next wave of digital
  • Finding the right tech talent in the gig economy
  • Changing work styles for millennials and remote teams

Get all the details here and reserve your seat here

BNMC STEM Video Challenge Powered by AT&T

STEM Video Challenge for Students in grades 5 – 12!

How will advances in technology lead to a better future for Western New York?

This video challenge, powered by AT&T, is an opportunity for students in grades 5-12 to create a video to show how they predict technology will lead to a better future for Western New Yorkers. It can be anything you can imagine, as long as it’s improving the future of our community. Utilize technology (mobile devices, drones, animation, special effects) to make your video as impactful as possible – just make sure it’s wp-contentropriate for all ages and less than 60 seconds long.

Ideas include technology that:

  • Improves the health of our community;
  • Advances our school systems;
  • Provides better connectivity among neighbors;
  • Improves transportation options;
  • Any technology advancements that you think will create a better Western New York.

Eligibility

  • Must be in grades 5-12 and under 18 years of age
  • Middle school contest is for students in grades 5-8
  • High school contest is for students in grades 9 – 12
  • Entries accepted in both the individual and group categories
  • Must be a resident of Erie & Niagara County

Timeline

  • September 11, 2017 – Challenge Opens
  • October 6, 2017 – Deadline for video submission
  • October 17, 2017 – Finalists announced
  • October 24, 2017 – winners announced

Prizes

  • Individual winners in middle & high school (1st, 2nd & 3rd places)
  • Group winners in middle and high school (1st, 2nd & 3rd places)
  • Cash prizes of up to $500 for all finalists.

Competition Guidelines:

There will be two categories of video competition: Individual and Group for both middle & high school

  • There is no limit to the number of members of a group in the group video category, however all participants must be supervised by their school teacher, principal, or club leader
  • Video should be wp-contentrox. 45 seconds in length, no more than 60.  Any video exceeding 60 seconds will be disqualified.
  • Students should use the video to showcase their creativity.  There are no restrictions on video content however video should not contain any nudity, vulgarity, or other offensive language or images.

Criteria for Judging

  • The video must explore how technology advancements will improve the Western New York in the future. The video must demonstrate an idea and its impact. For example, the video may look at how autonomous vehicles may reduce the need for the number of parking spaces currently available in the city, and offer ideas for what that space could be used for instead.
  • Videos will be evaluated based on the following areas:
    • Creativity
    • Originality
    • Technical skills used to create & edit video (meaning, how difficult was it to make)
    • Clear message that sticks to the theme
  • Videos will be judged by a panel of judges to be announced soon.
  • Email accompanying the video should include:
    • Student’s name/s
    • Parent or legal guardian names
    • Supervising teacher/adult name
    • School name and contact information including address, phone number and email address
    • Grade level of student/s
    • Each entry must be the original work of the student(s).

By submitting a video, each student confirms that he/she has received all relevant and wp-contentropriate permissions from all individuals who wp-contentear in the video, and their parent/ guardian, and that he/she has obtained all necessary permissions to use all material such as images, text, voice, music, and any other content.

Video Submission Requirements:

Complete the submission form and upload your video. This wp-contentlication is required for all submissions. Please fill out the form with a parent, legal guardian or school representative – they will need to accept the terms and conditions.

  • Must be in grades 5-12 and under 18 years of age.
  • Open to youth in grades 5-12 in Erie or Niagara Counties.
  • Middle School contest is students in grades 5-8; High School contest for students in grades 9-12
  • Entries accepted in both individual and group categories

The deadline for submissions is on or before October 6, 2017

Finalists will be announced October 17, 2017 and winners will be announced on October 24th at the TCO Finals at the BNMC. 

See press release to learn more!

 

BNMC to Host Algorithm Competition for Students and Professionals to Build Skills in Data Science, Other Tech Fields

BNMC to Host Algorithm Competition for Students and Professionals to Build Skills in Data Science, Other Tech Fields

Coders of all levels encouraged to participate in the online competition during the 2017 Topcoder Open in Buffalo

 

Buffalo, N.Y., September 11, 2017 – The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) is seeking participants for the Algorithm Competition powered by Topcoder, for aspiring and professional coders that will be held in conjunction with the 2017 Topcoder Open (TCO) hosted by the BNMC in October. TCO is a prestigious programming, design, and data science competition that attracts some of the world’s most talented design and technology experts.  The event is sponsored by Google, Booz Allen, Praxair, University at Buffalo, and Superior Group.

The Algorithm Competition is a Single Round Match (SRM) virtual coding competition aimed at aspiring and current coders with a focus on college and graduate students. The online competition will begin on October 10th at 6 PM. Participants will compete to solve the same problems in the time allotted. Participants will be awarded points for submitting solutions that successfully compile, and points are based on the total time elapsed from the time the problem was opened until the time it was submitted.  Participants can also challenge the functionality of their opponents’ code submissions, which can result in earning or losing points, and automated system tests are wp-contentlied to all code submissions.

The top 10 scorers will win an all-access, VIP badge for the Topcoder Finals that will be held in dig at the Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus on October 20-24 in addition to other prizes. Interested participants can learn more about the competition through blog posts, tutorials and other member guides prior to the competition. Also planned is a live chat with the Algorithm Competition Manager on September 21 at 11 am. Details can be found at http://topcodr.co/BNMCAlgoTourney.

Mike Morris, CEO of Topcoder added, “Ever since Topcoder was founded in 2001, part of our core mission has been to provide opportunities for individuals of all ages and skill levels to learn and improve their technical skills. Hundreds of thousands of students from around the world have joined Topcoder to get hands-on experience with the technologies that drive our digital world – and to help them prepare for the STEM jobs of tomorrow.”

According to Matt Enstice, President & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., “Hosting the Topcoder Open in Buffalo is only one part of a larger strategy to build interest and capabilities in the tech sector throughout Western New York.  We are actively pursuing new ways to develop and promote the advancement of technology on the Medical Campus and coding is central to this focus. The Algorithm competition is designed to give aspiring coders an idea of what Topcoder is all about while encouraging more young people to get involved in tech fields and the coding field in particular. This competitions is just one of many events and activities that will be part of the Topcoder Open event this fall.”

TCO was launched in 2001 and is now recognized as the world’s premier competition for the most talented minds. Many of the world’s most respected tech companies keep a close watch on the competition and often hire top performers immediately. Past winners have gone on to successful careers at Google, Facebook, Blizzard Entertainment and Cisco. Buffalo was chosen as the 2017 site due to its leading edge hospitals and health care providers, world renowned research and banking institutions, socially innovative private companies as well as its concentration of colleges and universities, most notably the University at Buffalo, home to the academic supercomputing center and significant science and engineering programs.

 

About Topcoder and the Topcoder Open

Topcoder is a workforce marketplace with 1.1 million developers, designers, and data scientists around the world. For more than a decade Topcoder has helped customers ranging from startups to Fortune100 companies accelerate innovation, solve challenging problems, and tap into hard to find skills. Enterprises distribute work to our global network through the Topcoder Marketplace, where individuals with the right skills participate in competitions to win money, build skills, and earn recognition. Topcoder Open is the flagship event of the community. The best performers qualify to enter the Topcoder Open finals through accumulating points on the platform and in regional competitions around the world. Previous finals have been held in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Learn more at www.topcoder.com.

 

About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.    

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) is a self-sustaining social enterprise successfully combining innovation, job creation, and urban revitalization. It serves as the umbrella organization of the anchor institutions that make up the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus located within the 120-acre campus bordering Allentown, the Fruit Belt and Downtown. The BNMC Inc. fosters conversation and collaboration among its member institutions, its partners and the community to address critical issues impacting them, including entrepreneurship, energy, access and transportation, workforce and procurement, neighborhoods, and healthy communities, with the goal of increasing economic development and building a strong community. www.bnmc-old.local.

 

For more information, contact:

Susan Kirkpatrick, BNMC, skirkpatrick@bnmc-old.local

716.866.8002(m)

 

 

 

 

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