Utilities and Energy Management Group Increases Energy Conservation Efforts

Utilities and Energy Management (UEM) continually strives to increase energy efficiency and make other improvements to help the University reduce its carbon footprint. The group recently created an Energy Conservation and Assessment plan that is now available on their website. In order to assist with its energy conservation efforts, UEM welcomed a new member to the team in December 2021: Vivash Karki, process and energy engineer (pictured above).

Vivash has been working closely with Tim Vann, energy engineer at UEM, on various energy conservation projects. He assisted Tim in presenting the Energy Conservation Assessment and Plan to the management level of the University. Vivash also recently worked on a qualitative analysis of energy data of buildings served by the UEM. The energy data was obtained from eSight Energy, an energy management software upon which simultaneous heating and cooling, schedule optimization and energy load duration analyses were performed.

Tim  and Vivash are currently working on an installation and commissioning report for EMIS, the Energy Management Information System that was launched in Fall 2021. The two engineers are also planning to develop a model that can process the real time data from the University’s powerplant and track all of the incoming and outgoing energy data. The model is expected to ease the process of greenhouse gas reporting. About this upcoming project Mr. Karki says, “we expect that the model would provide better visualization of the energy conversion process and help us to better communicate information to the concerned authorities and the community”.

The UEM group has some recommendations for the University community to keep warm this winter while keeping energy consumption low within buildings. With the winter season in full swing, heating systems can cause higher energy consumption in buildings. According to the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) units account for about 44% of the energy usage in a typical commercial building and are also the largest greenhouse gas emissions source. UEM recommends members of the University avoid using space heaters unless absolutely necessary, in which case it shouldn’t be placed anywhere near the zone thermostat. This is because space heaters are not designed to work alongside commercial HVAC systems; they might trick the thermostat into sensing the area is hot which causes the HVAC system to switch to cooling, resulting in the area ending up colder and creating the need for more space heaters.

Some alternatives to space heaters in the office are layering up in clothing and using a heating mat. Heating mats use a tenth of the energy a space heater consumes and provide more localized heat thus making it less likely to interfere with the HVAC system. Another way to keep an area comfortable is to utilize the thermostat sliders to adjust the temperature to a comfortable level. If the thermostat does not seem to be working or a heating adjustment is required, put in a work order with Facilities; oftentimes the fix is as simple as redirecting the airflow.

UEM is currently testing two pilot Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) systems which provide building analytics that can help the University buildings’ HVAC systems run more efficiently. These analytics will help reduce costs and carbon footprint. UEM plans to evaluate the two different vendors, Clockworks Analytics and CopperTree Analytics on three buildings each which, if successful, will be rolled out to more buildings.

Read more about the Utilities and Energy Management Group’s energy conservation efforts on its updated website which now includes a brand new sustainability section.

 

Written by Hanyia Ahmed, Class of 2022

 

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