To strengthen its entrepreneurial and environmental missions, the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering recently appointed Pat Sapinsley, a noted figure in New York City’s green-tech community, to head the school’s sustainability-focused incubator and related initiatives.
As managing director of Cleantech Initiatives, Sapinsley will oversee the NYU School of Engineering’s Urban Future Lab (UFL), which was founded in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and which focuses on innovations in energy, sustainable urban infrastructure, water, transportation, waste and air quality. The UFL houses the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Resilient Economy (NYC ACRE), which helps clean-technology companies in New York City grow and which now also will come under Sapinsley’s purview. In addition, she will be instrumental in NYU’s role in PowerBridgeNY, a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)-sponsored proof-of-concept center, which leverages clean-energy innovations emerging from university and institutional research labs to create more and stronger businesses in New York.
“This is a very exciting moment in the energy sector in New York,” Sapinsley said. “There is a very strong market pull created by the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative that was recently implemented to reform New York state’s energy industry and regulatory practices. The Urban Future Lab and NYC ACRE — with our focus on smart cities, smart grid and energy efficiency — will be well-situated to address these issues, surrounded as it is, by the deep bench of engineering, business, legal and software talent from NYU.”
In her new role, Sapinsley reports to Kurt Becker. Becker, the School of Engineering’s vice dean for research, innovation and entrepreneurship, is charged with increasing private sector collaboration and developing a closer relationship between the incubators’ entrepreneurs and the faculty and students in the NYU community.
“The NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s incubator system has long been one of the most vibrant and forward-thinking in the country,” Becker said. “It continually provides irrefutable proof that public, private and educational partnerships can foster incredible heights of innovation and entrepreneurship, and I welcome Pat Sapinsley as an ally in that mission.”
Sapinsley is a LEED AP architect who is co-chair of the Committee on the Environment of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. She is also a member of the board of Building Energy Exchange, which provides support to the building industry to achieve Mayor’s 80×50 energy efficiency goals. She is a frequent lecturer and industry panelist and has been an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council and Urban Green. Sapinsley has been working in the environmental and energy efficiency field more than 15 years.
Sapinsley founded Build Efficiently, a consulting firm that worked with young companies to develop building-related energy efficiency technologies. Through her former company, Watt Not, she had experience working with real estate owners to decrease their lighting energy consumption. She is also a former venture partner of Good Energies, one of the largest independent investors in renewable energy and investments with investments in 35 portfolio companies. She brings to the new job years of experience connecting startups to sources of funding, customers and business mentors.
Sapinsley has a master’s degree in architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and has served on their Alumni Council. She has held faculty appointments at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute. From 1982 to 1993, she was principal of Sapinsley Architecture, where she was named one of the Emerging Voices by the Architectural League (1988).