Lighting the Way to Energy Savings

September 1, 2015

Cory Welch

The campus Energy Incentive Program and myPower dashboard were designed to help raise awareness of energy use in our buildings.  Earlier this summer it had a chance to do just that with the help of Cory Welch (pictured to the right) – a building manager who happened to be observing the electricity use profile of his Gardner Stacks and Bancroft Library. Welch, who started in his position a little over 6 months ago, relied on the energy data feedback to understand how well the largest complex of buildings on campus are doing on a daily basis. According to Welch, “the energy dashboard tool and daily efficiency feedback helped me better understand the energy patterns and usage in our buildings.”

The graphs below show a large step increase in electricity in both Gardner Stacks and Bancroft Library. This is also noticeable with the difference between the blue "Target Usage" and purple "Actual Usage" lines. The availability of this information, along with technical support from the Energy Office allowed both Welch and Facilities Services to help resolve this issue. As it turns out, the cause of the problem was a failed Watt Stopper lighting controller, one that may share the same vintage as the building itself, that left all of the lights on. While the lights were running 24 hours a day, the Library and Facilities Services did not receive any calls, since occupant productivity, comfort and safety was not affected.

Frank Carter, an electrician from the Energy Office worked closely with Daryl Winn from the Electrical Shop on this repair. Carter also worked with the lighting manufacturer to ensure comprehensive training and controls documentation were made available to campus. Without their combined efforts, the lights running continuously would have cost the university approximately $130,000 per year in electricity cost alone.