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Energy Strategies

Strategies to reduce energy use can be active or passive.  While we would expect people to turn off the lights if they leave their room it's more of a question mark when the lights are in a hallway or a classroom.  The same applies to heating and air conditioning.  To take some of the question away the College Maintenance Department uses a variety of tools to take some of the individual actions out of the picture.


A Building Management System (alternately referred to as an Energy Management System) allows for an operator at a head station to monitor and schedule Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning (HVAC) and lighting loads. Our Siemens BMS is a critical part of our infrastructure as it allows us to reduce our energy loads to an absolute minimum as well as providing valuable feedback for trouble shooting equipment in the field. Currently we monitor 24,000 points with more points being added every year. With the system we are able to pull up individual room conditions, machine status, outside air conditions and a variety of other sensors that give us a very detailed picture of what is happening in individual buildings. We also are able to schedule spaces for occupancy or turn off the space based on campus needs. We have also found applications where rather than schedule a space for use, we simply supply a button for people. They push the button to get a few hours of heat or cooling at a time. This is especially useful in off hours or during break periods when heating an entire building would make no sense, but the individual needs to use their office in reasonable comfort.


Just as critical as a control system is a meter system which can measure the actual energy requirements of an individual building. We have main meters in the Heat Plant for monitoring fuel and electric use for the campus as a whole as well as a series of submeters for individual electric and water monitoring in many of the campus buildings. They can be found under Real Time Meters.

Lighting Sensors

One of the under appreciated devices is the humble motion sensor for turning off lights. Manufacturers have made great strides in refining and improving these simple tools. It has one job; turn off the lights when no one is there and they have many applications from broom closets to bathrooms and halls. We have installed them in all of our newest buildings and are finding new locations all the time.

Lighting Technology

Lamp technology is making huge strides in finding more efficient methods of turning electricity into light without the accompanying waste heat that was the hallmark of the incandescent lamp. One of the promising areas is Light Emitting Diodes. LED's are very efficient at converting electricity into light, but it tends to be a very cool and directional light. Some would describe the light quality as glare, but in the proper application it is both effective and efficient in providing light. We have experimented with good results in street lighting and as a replacement lamp for special purpose incandescent bulbs. One of the most visible projects was replacing one thousand fifty six 6 Watt incandescent lamps with an equal number of 2 Watt LED lamps saving 15,375 kilowatt hours annually. Equally important are the advances in ballasted fluorescent lighting systems which has cut the kWh for the average fixture in half. We are currently engaged in changing out several thousand of our remaining T-12 40 watt lamp systems to new T-8 28 watt systems.