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Campus News

The Real Time Utility Monitoring Project

Nathan Gower, Staff Writer

While on sabbatical in 2008, Cambrian College Professor John Moon worked with recent Warren Wilson College graduate Gideon Burdick to develop a utility monitoring system across campus, now known as Real Time Utility Monitoring.

The project, as originally intended, aims to provide the college with real-time access to water, gas and electric use by way of monitoring boards in- stalled in the 20 residence halls. Each board has input devices for the three utilities, though electricity monitoring is the only functional component of the three at this time.

Real Time Utility Monitoring was devised in accordance with Warren Wilson’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce overall energy consumption on campus with specified short- and long-term goals.

Immediate goals of the project work toward providing the college’s facilities management and technical services crews with a better understanding of what, when and how energy is being used in individual residence
halls. The long-term goals are intended to give insight into energy use patterns on campus, allowing for implementation of reductive measures influencing energy consumption. An emphasis is being placed on behavioral patterns in the student body, as well as education regarding how students can lessen their consumptive load, a direct response to the Climate Action Plan.

The project is being carried out entirely by students of the Energy Services Crew, particularly junior Ilona Carlson. Taking the reigns from Gideon Burdick, Carlson constructs circuit boards and their ap- propriate enclosures from the ground up.

The circuit boards and their respective components are being funded almost entirely by grant funds, nearly $20,000 of which Burdick applied for.

The monitoring boards are being installed across campus, with the goal of all 20 residence halls being populated by the end of the academic year.

At a cost of nearly $900 per pulse meter, the water and gas components have had to be temporarily shelved, while the electric meters are currently functional in Sage, Sutton and ANTC.

In order to construct one board from start to finish, Carl- son gathers the necessary materi- als and begins soldering accord- ing to a standardized plan. From there, the board is placed in an enclosure with specific input and output devices so that the raw data can be communicated to Network Systems Administrator Sloan Poe and the Simple Network Management Protocol interface, a system set in place to track and plot data to the appropriate outlets.

The Real Time Utility Monitoring project was devised in collaboration with facilities management technical services work crews, primarily Energy Services. The project is a direct response to the existing Climate Action Plan and the recently developed Strategic Energy Management Plan. For more information on the project, check out Energy Services’ Real Time Utility Monitoring board near the rest rooms outside Cowpie.

Discussion

One Response to “The Real Time Utility Monitoring Project”

  1. I am amazed. I hope this project would be successful and long term as well.

    Posted by valerie guinto | March 11, 2011, 12:39 pm

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