Website Puts Sustainability at Student’s Fingertips
A screen capture from the Office of Sustainability's website. Photo courtesy of bedashboard.com/Kiosk/17722.

Website Puts Sustainability at Student’s Fingertips

The interactive website run through the Office of Sustainability and McKinstry, Inc. allows students to see the energy usage of every building on campus.

The website tracks energy usage in real time, enabling visitors to compare electricity, CO2, steam and chilled water usage for each building compared to the previous the day, week, month or year chosen.

All information on the website is updated automatically through a Johnson Control Metasys system that tracks the University’s energy consumption.

According to Shelly Janowski, sustainability program and policy analyst for the Office of Sustainability, this information has always been tracked by the Facility Services department.

“By tracking and displaying our energy consumption, we can see the cumulative impact of our behaviors on campus, building by building.  Everyone has a role in our campus energy conservation effort,” Janowski said. “Our goal is to provide real-time energy measurement visualization, along with historical data, so that building occupants can change their consumption patterns.”

Every building on campus has the potential to be tracked, including dormitory buildings.

This feature allows students living on campus to see and interpret energy usage and creates a visual graph of ways that student actions directly impact that usage and the environment.

Mary Runnoe, senior psychology major, said, “I think it would be a good way to put into perspective the environmental costs of what it takes to run a building, and it would be cool to see ways that your actions can make a positive impact on that.”

Vince Helgerson, senior history major, said, “If people saw how much power they actually use, they would be more self-conscious about it.”

The website is accessible to anyone who wishes to learn more about the University’s progress towards clean energy.

This accessibility is not always put into context. The website measures CO2 output by its weight, which may be confusing for students unfamiliar with the concept of measuring gas by weight.

To put this in context, Janowski said that the average American adds 18 to 20 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere every year, while the world average is only 4.8 metric tons per year.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund one ton of CO2 is about the size of a balloon with a diameter of ten yards.

The University plans to be Carbon neutral by the year 2050 Janowski said.

The Office of Sustainability’s energy tracking  website can be found at bedashboard.com.

 

Olivia De Valk

Reporter

odeva199@uwsp.edu

About Olivia De Valk

Olivia De Valk
Senior English major. Pretty much only watches bad movies. Mediocre runner. Probably really hydrated.

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