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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Dashboard gives inside look at UA energy

Facilities Management is trading in the standard metering system for an online dashboard that shows the energy usage for a number of buildings on campus.

Buildings include the 21 residence halls as well as the Park Student Union and the Chemical Sciences building. The software for the dashboard system totaled to around $200,000, said Chris Kopach, the assistant vice president of Facilities Management.

Users can see how much energy the building has used so far that day, by the hour, or that week, month or academic year. The dashboard also provides data on the hall’s usage of electricity, cooling, heating, water and carbon dioxide emissions.

According to Kopach, the eventual goal is to get every building on campus on the system, tentatively within the next year. This means putting more than 700 energy meters online.

Kopach said that the ability to read energy use in real-time is beneficial for Facilities Management, as it makes maintenance of the meters easier and makes the process much more efficient.

“The entire campus continues to be conscious regarding sustainability efforts,” he said. “Everybody is really into making sure we’re being as efficient and sustainable as possible.”

Natalie Lucas, an environmental science and philosophy, politics, economics and law senior and the executive director of Students for Sustainability, emphasized the importance of the dashboard for sustainability efforts on campus.

“I think it will be good because we can understand more where our energy is coming from and more directly attack the problems that we’re having with energy usage,” she said. “It gives us a really clear sense of what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong, and then how we can remediate some of those things.”

According to Jill Ramirez, coordinator of Sustainability Education for Residence Life, the dashboard has also aided her office’s efforts. The Battle of the Utilities, an energy usage competition in the residence halls, will run from Oct. 1 to Nov. 1 this year. With thwe new dashboard, students will be able to check their hall’s progress throughout the month.

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