Dashboard confessional: Green gadget keeps it's eye on energy use

Mandee Jackson/Sun Star Reporter
Nov. 15, 2011

The Building Dashboard debuted last week as a new website where anyone can view the energy, heat and water usage for 20 buildings on the UAF campus. This website was financed by a funding proposal paid for with funds from the $20 per semester SIREN fee. The proposal, submitted in the spring of 2011, requested $129,712 to get it started.

The employees of the Office of Sustainability want to inform students of the energy being used and cut down on the costs for water, electricity, and steam.

According to the Office of Sustainability, there are about 130 universities in the continental United States using this same program through California-based company  Lucid Software Design.

Garrett Evridge, an employee with the Office of Sustainability, maintains UAF’s  Building Dashboard.

“Each building has a sensor installed and it measures how much electricity, water and heating is being used. The sensors are also in real-time, therefore the information is updated every few seconds,” Evridge said. “So if you turn off a light, you could potentially see the difference right away,” Evridge said.

The user can view and compare the electricity, water and heat used in each building for the day, week, month or year.  Clicking on the building name tells the reader about that building and its history. There’s a graph measured by hour and the user can view how much electricity is being pulsed through the building, how much Co2 is being exhausted from the building, and how much money is spent powering the building  total or  per individual.

“It’s totally 100 percent accurate,” sustainability director Michele Hébert said, “The site was created with the intent of, if you give people access to information, it could change their behavior.”

The main goal of Building Dashboard is to educate students and save money. The Office of Sustainability is preparing a competition to see which buildings can reduce the percentages of energy used.

“If we could just get a 10 percent reduction that would be very profitable,” Evridge said. This information will be displayed on interactive touch screens in the Moore-Bartlett-Skarland complex, Wood Center and the West Ridge Café.

This information is available at http://buildingdashboard.net/uaf/

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2 Responses

  1. Andrew says:

    Hi Mandee, thanks for the great article.

    One quick correction to the cost of the Dashboard quoted in the first paragraph.

    The number use used was a bit older, the final cost, including all the metering instillation is more accurate quoted in the article in News Miner, published November 9th by Jeff Richardson.


    Andrew deCoriolis
    Director of Engagement
    Lucid Design Group

  2. Mike E says:

    Doesn’t it seem laughable to anyone else that while people are bitching at the thought of an independent student press, one of the more important aspects of a democracy, no one is marching with torches and axes to rid the University of the “Office of Sustainability,” which has to be one of the more obvious boondoggles around? At least 100K so that we can look at a web site and see consumption of resources. Really?

    Someone should look into the cost of this useless office and see how those dollars could be better spent on, you know, education and stuff.

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