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Save Your Energy

  • Graphic displays can foster a sense of progress and competition among building occupants.
    Graphic displays can foster a sense of progress and competition among building occupants.
July 08, 2013
A new metering system will soon enable Washington College to monitor–and reduce– energy consumption in 16 buildings.

CHESTERTOWN, MD (June 21, 2013) — A $90,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund will support the creation of a broad new energy monitoring system for the Washington College campus. The College’s Energy Programs Manager, Briggs Cunningham, says electric sub-meters will be installed in the 16 largest and most-used College buildings to provide real-time electricity usage data to a central monitoring database. He anticipates the sub-meters will be installed by the start of the fall 2013 semester and that data monitoring will commence later in the year. 

The software that will receive and analyze the data from the sub-meters is called “Building Dashboard” and is produced by Lucid Design Group, a California-based company that specializes in computer-based systems for measuring consumption of energy and water. The dashboard system is currently used by dozens of schools, from private secondary schools to Ivy League campuses, although Washington College is the first Maryland campus to use the system campus-wide. 

Building Dashboard can show energy consumption in real time through charts and graphs, making it easier to identify problem areas and measure progress in reducing consumption. Via a public website, the dashboard displays electricity use from building to building and tracks use over time. It can facilitate spirited competition among building occupants to prove who can lower consumption the most.  

The Jessie Ball DuPont Fund has awarded more than $318 million in grants since 1977 to a defined universe of organizations that Mrs. duPont identified in her will. Funding for the Washington College project is part of the Fund’s Small College Energy Conservation Initiative, launched in 2009 to help private liberal arts colleges reduce energy consumption, cut costs and reduce carbon footprints.   

In expressing gratitude to the duPont Fund, Washington College president Mitchell B. Reiss predicted that the energy dashboard project will be a tremendous boost to the school’s conservation efforts.  “Thanks to the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, it will soon be much easier to see how our habits and behaviors affect our energy consumption,” said Reiss. “That increased awareness will definitely lead to more sustainable outcomes: a smaller carbon footprint and lower utility bills.” 

In a related program called ShorePower, a $150,000 grant from Easton-based Town Creek Foundation will enable the Center for Environment and Society (CES) at Washington College to help county seats on Maryland’s Eastern Shore monitor and reduce energy consumption in their municipal facilities. The regional initiative will build on work the Center has already conducted for Chestertown. By assessing energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions, and recommending energy-saving measures, CES has helped the Chestertown government cut its electricity consumption by 10 percent, its greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent, and its expense for electricity by 30 percent.

Established in 1981 by retired printing industry executive Edmund “Ted” Stanley, Town Creek Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation dedicated to a sustainable environment.

A computer screen shot from the Agnes Scott College website shows how Energy Dashboard displays electricity use in metered buildings on campus. 

Last modified on Jul. 16th, 2013 at 3:25pm by .