Technology to monitor energy consumption has sparked Colorado Mountain College (CMC) to take a closer look at its own utilization.
At Colorado Mountain College’s locations throughout the High Country, 25 buildings are now on the Clean Energy Economy for the Region(CLEER)’s Energy Navigator, a software system that tracks energy use online and also displays it on kiosks around the community.
The navigator tracks utility bill data and live energy data from many buildings across the campuses. The website can display the annual energy use at each location based on utility bills, and also show energy use in 15-minute intervals to compare day-to-day usage.
In a prepared statement, Phil Meadowcroft, operations supervisor and energy manager for CMC, said he believes the program can be used in college curriculum, as well as benefit the community.
“[It] moves us down the road toward our goal of being carbon neutral,” he said. “It encourages people in the community to watch it so that they can see we’re using tax dollars and tuition in a responsible way.”
CMC is just now beginning to roll out the Energy Navigator, and plans to have it fully operational by spring 2014, according to the press release. The program could also be included in future sustainability studies programs. Summit School District is also on the Colorado Energy Navigator, as well as Alpine Bank and some buildings in Eagle County.
Pete Waller, CMC facilities director, said in a prepared statement the addition of the Energy Navigator to the campus resources is really about improving operations.
“We think we might get more ideas from our sustainability students than anyone else, and then we’re going to have to figure out which projects we want to go after to make improvements,” he said.
The Energy Navigator tracks the energy at buildings at every campus except in Buena Vista, as well as tracking the administrative offices in Glenwood Springs. The goal, Waller said, is that facility managers will be able to adjust operations and save money on energy costs, using this tool to gauge energy management. It reports both energy consumption and renewable energy generation.
The building energy usage is visible at www.garfieldenergynagivator.org and www.coloradoenergynavigator.com, and CMC is also installing touch-screen computer kiosks, which will allow staff, students and visitors to interact with the Energy Navigator website in campus lobbies.
CMC also has three campus locations with residence halls — Steamboat Springs, Spring Valley and Leadville. Campuses around the country host energy competitions for residence halls, something Waller and Meadowcroft also think this program might bring to CMC. The competitions motivate building residents to consume the least energy, including natural gas, electricity and water.
“Other colleges do it and they’re having a lot of fun with it,” Meadowcroft said. “We are now in a position to do it with the [Energy] Navigator. We’re pretty excited about the residence hall competition.”
The CLEER technology works directly with the college-wide building automation system server, integration which allowed for reduced hardware and installation costs by 95 percent. The college hopes the Energy Navigator will raise awareness of energy use, and how to best manage it.