Along Washington Street in Buffalo there sits a former medical office building that was created by joining two houses built in 1915. It's currently unused but will soon be retrofitted with energy efficient technology. It's the first project in a new partnership involving National Grid and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, known as "Energize BNMC." The building, when finished, will be opened as a model home to educate the public about ideas for energy efficiency.
"The home will be a place to showcase energy innovations taking place on the medical campus and also in the region, a place for employees, visitors and residents to learn how to implement energy efficiency in their homes and workplaces," said Jim Madej, senior vice president and chief customer officer at National Grid. "The home will also serve as a hub for the community and students locally to share information and stories related to energy innovation and savings."
So what does creating a model home have to do with growing a medical and academic center? Matt Enstice, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, says it's about economic development not just for the campus but for the surrounding community.
"Having character-type buildings like this on our campus is critical to what we're doing about creating the environment," Enstice said. "When you look at other cities and other countries, it's not just about the buildings that are put up but it's the environment that you're creating for the smartest people in the world to come live, work and play here. That's what we see as the opportunity."
Erie County Executive Chris Collins and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown spoke at a Wednesday celebration of this project. Brown suggested that Buffalo, which once showed off innovations as the "City of Light", is again positioning itself as an innovator. Collins offered similar comments, noting that this partnership is just one of several examples of Buffalo businesses offering energy efficiency solutions.