The Stony Brook University Office of Sustainability, the Department of Energy Management and Division of Campus Residences have worked together to implement a Building Dashboard system that allows the university community to view energy consumption for each campus building.
The system gives information on electricity, solar electricity, steam, chilled water, natural gas, recycling statistics and sustainability for each of the more than 120 building energy meters.
“Last spring, we partnered with an outside company in order to help us display a few different things specifically utility and energy consumption information as well as sustainability information in order to get that content from building meters and try to get that information out to the general public,” James O’Connor, the director of Sustainability and Transportation Operations, said.
The Building Dashboard system offers users an easy-to-navigate and interactive system.
“It’s really easy to interpret, and that was something we talked about that we wanted because not everyone’s an expert on this,” Gregory Monaco, the Sustainability coordinator, said. “For our community to be able to look at it and understand exactly what it’s saying is huge. So no matter where you are if you are able to look at the dashboard and take the information and then hopefully change some things to make it better. Everyone wins.”
The system also allows users to change units of measurement. In January, Stony Brook consumed 15,450,479 kWh of electricity, which is equivalent to 458,416 gallons of gasoline, 4,075,836 hamburgers cooked or 540,767 laptops powered.
“It has very user-friendly icons on it its very graphic intensive, so it’s made for really anybody who’s not a energy professional to be able to look and view energy consumption and recycling as well as sustainability,” O’Connor said.
Last April, Stony Brook finished second in the Campus Conservation Nationals event against the University at Albany, SUNY IT and SUNY New Paltz. SBU saved a total of 41,081 kilowatt-hours and over $6,500 in utility savings during the “Wolfie Unplugged” event.
“We run a competition for a month and we get the building occupants engaged in conservation measures so what that means is maybe they’ll turn off lights for that month in their office, maybe they’ll choose to recycle more in their office, maybe they’ll also do other things if they’re living on campus, like take shorter showers,” O’Connor said.
The Office of Sustainability organized another “Wolfie Unplugged” competition between 13 campus buildings last November.
The competition resulted in Melville Library reducing its energy consumption by over 21.6 percent to earn first place among academic buildings.
“When we met with student organizations for the “Wolfie Unplugged” competition they seemed to like the way it operated and looked and the feel of it,” Monaco said.
The Office of Sustainability intends to add incentives to the next energy competition happening in October.
“Maybe students would receive incentives or the buildings would receive incentives, something like a sustainability makeover to a winning building. So that a building might receive additional water bottle filling stations, they may receive a bike share station outside of the building, or they may receive electric hand dryers in the restrooms instead of using paper towels,” O’Connor said.
The Building Dashboard system will help Stony Brook achieve “a New York State requirement that we have to lower our energy by 20 percent between the years of 2010 and 2020. We also have to lower our carbon footprint by 25 percent starting from the year 2008 to 2020,” O’Connor said.
The Office of Sustainability also plans to increase awareness of the Building Dashboard by displaying it on the LED boards across campus.
“We’re starting to tailor displays for specific buildings so you’ll see a lot more of this service on the LED boards,” O’Connor said. “The campus has over 200 boards total. And our goal is to continue to add the Building Dashboard to these boards. We also want to better promote and engage the community.”
“We need to have these types of services, which is why the building dashboard is here, so that now people are aware of it think about it and then apply it their behavior,” O’Connor said.