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Lasell Students to Compete for Green Bragging Rights, Get Real-time Energy Data

April 14, 2010

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Smart Meter Set Up

Lasell students in a handful of dorms now can get a glimpse into the future of energy efficiency - and learn what they can do to help the environment.

With support from a $6,500 Tomfordhe Foundation grant, four dormitories on Lasell's campus received electricity meters that will enable students (and the College) to monitor their usage in real time.

"Now we can see our usage at all times of the day. This data will let us monitor our electricity use in real time. We'll be able to see when we use the most electricity and, when we don't," said Marc Fournier, Assistant Director of Plant Operations and Sustainability, and decide what rate structure best meets our needs.

Students in Butterworth, Bragdon, Forest and Woodland dormitories will be able to download the information in excel spreadsheets and compare their usage at various times of day. Then, according to Fournier, they can modify behavior in the dorms to reduce usage, and hopefully move some usage to off-peak times.

The competition will start soon - as the dorms compete against each other to reduce usage, electricity costs, and the College's carbon footprint.

"When students do their laundry - for example - if they do their laundry later in the day, it could cost the College less," said Fournier.

Environmental studies professors Michael Daley and Aaron Toffler have also gotten involved in the project. They will use the information as part of their coursework and ask their classes to analyze the data coming from the dorms.

"We can design and coordinate some educational programs for the students around shutting off lights and computers and monitors to see how much that affects our demand, costs, and carbon footprint," said Fournier.

The projects will also help school officials better determine what kind of rate structure it can use to take advantage of off-peak and less-expensive electricity.

"This will give us detailed data for some of our larger buildings. We can then work with NStar to see which rate structures works best for us in specific buildings," Fournier added.

 

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