Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI)
The goal of WEI is to help the University develop novel technologies to meet the pressing national need of creating renewable energy in a sustainable and economically viable manner. WEI will house research and administration functions for the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) and the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative (WBI), with space for the Nelson Institute and the UW Energy Institute. In addition, WEI will house the Center for Renewable Energy Systems, which will apply university research to industry-sponsored product development in renewable energy. When it opens, the institute will house more than 200 biologists, geologists, engineers and others, who are now spread across campus in 15 buildings.
Plans are for the building to be constructed in two phases: Phase 1, funded by the State of Wisconsin and the U.S. Department of Energy, will cost approximately $50 million. Phase 2 would be built if the university can secure another $50 million in private contributions.
The building architects, Potter Lawson Inc. and HOK of St. Louis, are pursuing LEED® Gold rating. Building features focused on sustainable, energy-efficient design include:
- Solar panels and photovoltaics
- Natural lighting
- Sustainable and locally-sourced materials and finishes
The building is bordered by the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery to the east, the College of Engineering to the south, and CALS to the north. This puts WEI at the heart of a major research corridor, and this Institute will serve as the campus focal point for energy related research, education and outreach programs.