Institutions, specifically higher learning centers like universities and colleges use a considerable amount of energy to operate their facilities, as well as supporting the academic curriculum. The larger the square footage, and more northern or southern the climate the more interest there is in conservation. Every institution maintains rigorous sustainability initiatives which have a high impact on endowments and student enrollment. Most educational institutions provide highly visible scorecards on their performance when it comes to environmental issues and the overall success of their sustainability program. Reducing the overall Energy Intensity, meaning a monitoring and reduction of energy per student or energy per square foot of real estate has become very important.
Monitoring energy and water consumption, by building, by academic discipline and by building occupancy on a granular level is the first step to a holistic energy management system with Energy Performance Indicators (EnPI’s). The strength and effectiveness of a properly designed energy program lies in knowing your minimum energy utilization requirements and not exceeding them. A reduction program designed around institutions ultimately analyzes student and facility scheduling along with energy usage information and in turn develops a model of dynamic energy baselines and targets that play a paramount role in reducing energy costs. The energy management information system (EMIS) model, must take into consideration; time of year, weather, dynamic energy pricing, level of enrollment and facility occupancy.
Students of today could be encouraged and empowered to modify their daily behavior if they had a window into their energy & water use and its impact on the environment at their educational institution. The EMIS allows each student to monitor their energy consumption via web services or using mobile devices (Blackberry, iPad, Android, etc). A student body armed with web based or mobile, real time energy use visualization of their own personal impact to Energy Intensity, will foster the reduction strategies addressing the ever rising costs of energy and water.