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College to monitor, reduce energy

Beloit College

Beloit College

When you hear about sustainable living, you often hear the same things about energy conservation, like turning off the lights when you leave a room, or unplugging devices. But other than checking the energy bill every month, it’s difficult for the average consumer to determine how much energy they’re actually using. That’s where sub-metering comes in.

Electrical sub-meters allow people to monitor the amount of electricity they’re using. A current transformer circles wires of the electrical load to record the pulses produced from use of electricity. A Watt Node then receives those pulses, recording them as kilowatts and Kilowatt-hours. A machine called a Maverick receives the information from the Node and stores it for analysis. Users can access the information from a computer using an IP address.

Jere Bower’18 spent part of his summer on campus as a Sustainability Fellow installing sub-meters in Aldrich, Chapin, and Maurer. Each building, and each of its floors, has its own sub-meter, as well as a meter for the entire building. Bower finished installing the sub-meters in late July.

Bower also worked with Sustainability Office Coordinator Lindsay Chapman and Computer Science faculty member Steve Huss-Lederman to create a way for students and faculty to view the information recorded by the new sub-meters. The page shows graphs of the floor-by floor and building-wide energy usage of each sub-metered building,

To raise awareness of the sub-meters and promote a responsible energy lifestyle the Sustainability Office is currently holding an Energy Saving Competition for residents living in Chapin, Maurer, and Aldrich. The floor that uses the least energy will earn a pizza party, courtesy of the Sustainability Office. The competition ends on Oct. 2.

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