Have you ever been on campus and wondered where the nearest bike rack is to park your bike? Or have you ever wondered which buildings on campus use the most energy? Two new online resources are available to help improve the accessibility and transparency of sustainability initiatives across the University. University students, staff, and faculty within the Rochester community can now engage with the interactive Energy Management Information System (EMIS) and utilize the Sustainability Features Map, which both provide useful information.
The Energy Management Information System is an interactive dashboard that relays information from a larger tracking system that analyzes building energy. The majority of the building energy data information for EMIS dates back to January 2017 and is updated with the real-time metering system. There is an EMIS interface for the River Campus, Eastman School of Music, and Memorial Art Gallery, and another for the Medical Center. In addition to making energy usage information publicly available, it the EMIS will help the University measure the effectiveness of energy conservation efforts.
By clicking on “locations” on the EMIS, viewers can browse through information on different buildings to learn about the area’s energy, hot water, chilled water, and water usage. Graphs help organize the information and can depict data from the last 24 hours, 7 days, 4 weeks, and year. The ranking feature highlights current energy usage and savings which are also available on the summary page.
“The first step to reducing energy usage and carbon emissions is to understand where and how the energy is being used,” says Timothy Vann Energy Engineer. “The EMIS will inform building managers, students, staff, and faculty to develop a common understanding of energy consumption across campus. This lays the foundation on which we can build energy conservation projects and strategies that will ultimately improve UR’s sustainability. Putting ‘Meliora’ into practice.”
Another new tool, the Sustainability Features Map, pinpoints the location of hydration stations, bike racks, rain gardens, and outdoor recycling bins on the River Campus and Medical Center, each with its own icon. With a simple click on an icon, viewers can learn more about the location of such resources and specific details. For example, the grey bicycle icons indicate how many racks are available at each location. The hydration stations are specified to the floor of buildings, making it easier for people to locate them. Users can toggle layers on and off depending on what they are looking for in order to improve readability of the map. By default, all four layers are on thus giving the user a comprehensive view of all the sustainability features on campus. This would be useful for people who want data for inventory or perhaps a project or research purposes, consolidated in one place in a user-friendly view. However, if someone was biking to campus and needed to park their bike near a specific building on campus, they could turn off the layers for hydration stations, recycling bins and rain gardens, and easily locate the nearest bike rack.
University Facilities and Services solicited the help of students Hanyia Fatima ‘22, Celia Konowe ’21 (T5 ’22), and Zein Tynon ‘24 to locate the features and plot them on the map. Professor Blair Tinker was instrumental in creating a user-friendly map suitable for public use. Over the recent years, the University has increased the number of sustainability features on campus with the most recent being the addition of the new solar powered bike rack on Library Road. As of now, there are a total of 135 hydration stations, 42 outdoor recycling bins, 42 bike racks and 4 rain gardens on the University of Rochester campus and associated areas; all of which are displayed on this new map. The full interactive map can be accessed through the sustainability webpage or on the direct link online.
The hope is that, by making it easier to locate sustainable features and view real time-energy data, both of these tools will help to encourage sustainable behaviors, such as using a refillable water bottle, riding a bike, and turning off the lights when you leave a room.
Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022 and Hanyia Ahmed, Class of 2022