Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Great meeting with Josh Stoffel

Got to meet with Sustainability Coordinator Josh Stoffel this morning. As was expected he knows many of the key players at the University and has already done a great deal of work around these issues. In fact he has a proposal - which he'll be sending along - that he's already presented at the Vice Chancellor level that we can get involved with piloting. He's excited to have a student group on board and especially at Isenberg because it turns out we seem to be wasting more energy than almost anyone else on campus!

On the energy side we can begin to accumulate ideas for user behavior changes as well as system changes. We can then funnel these ideas through Josh and his team to create a program and then help implement it in the building.

In terms of trash and recycling, there's a different set of stakeholders but still an opportunity to make improvements. Josh also has a proposed program for this that we can base our efforts around. Again much of the systems are already in place, it's just a matter of connecting the users with them in some way.

By the way, the seemingly unrelated picture is of the bike rack being installed right now outside the window of rm 210 - green all over!

Overall very encouraging and we continue to make progress in leaps and bounds!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Second Meeting [Communications]

Last Thursday, we held a second meeting of the whole Service Corps group to check in on progress made over the last two days. The major points of progress were the establishment of the blog (everyone made their first blog posts during the meeting), stats about energy usage at Isenberg (detailed by Tom Mazzarino here), and information about how energy is metered on campus.

Bill Killough-Hill informed the group that he had made a contact with Jason Burbank, the Campus Energy Engineer at the Physical Plant, who informed him of an audit that had previously been conducted at Isenberg. He also gave Bill some valuable information about meter readings for steam, water, and electricity on campus. More on that here.

Finally, Pete Brown is putting us in touch with Josh Stoffel, the Sustainability Coordinator at UMass. Bill will meet with Josh early next week, armed with questions from Elaine Mak and Pete. He will report back with his findings.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Energy Star Government Averages / Quantifiables [Research]

This past week I looked a little bit into what standards and measurements are used for "efficiency" according to the federal government. Specifically, I investigated the Energy Star website and found out a few key pieces of information. For one, the average university campus building utilizes 280 source / 120 site kBtu/Sqft, with kBtu being kilo-British thermal units (the amount of energy required to heat 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit = 1 Btu). Also, 63% of the average university campus building's energy use is electric.

As a quick note, the above qualifiers source and site denote the difference between source energy and site energy. Source energy is the total energy utilized to provide a given amount of site energy, and accounts for the inefficiency of certain kinds of energy delivery. Site energy is the amount of energy reflected in utility bills, which is the total amount of energy that actually is used on-site in a given location (this does not account for energy lost due to inefficiency or byproducts from the production of that energy).

I imagine we will be measuring the amount of site energy used in Isenberg, as it will be the easiest measure to observe through utility bills, but it is worth noting also the efficiency or lack thereof inherent in certain kinds of energy production. Most notably, as the Energy Star site notes, electricity purchased from the grid accounts for as much as three times the source energy as other forms of energy production, which makes a decent case in my eyes for focusing strongly on reducing electricity usage or searching for alternative methods of obtaining electricity (e.g. solar panels).

For the documents that I drew this information from, please see the wiki site.

UMASS Physical Plant Info [Energy Use/Providers]

This week, we did some research on the UMass Physical Plant. Below are some good places to find information online about the plant, and energy usage on campus.

Physical plant website is: http://www.umass.edu/physicalplant/resources/index.html

Electric meter readings: http://www.umass.edu/physicalplant/documents/MeterReadings.pdf
This outlines energy usage by building and shows where the electricity comes from (UMASS generation vs. Western Mass Electric Co). Currently, the University is buying approximately 40% of its electricity from Western Mass Electric (it pays 167% more for this versus producing its own).

Also, this is a good article on the UMASS green initiative

And the UMASS green page

First Meeting [Communications]

Greetings from the second official meeting of Service Corps. On Tuesday, we had a great first meeting, establishing interests and identifying the primary points of research that needs to move on. Basically, we are starting from scratch. Thus, we are taking an exploratory approach to this project and will roll it out in two phases:

I. Research and Discovery
II. Campaigning

Our initial mission is to increase energy efficiency at Isenberg. This may be refined or adjusted as we learn more. We have split into four groups:

1. Research
2. Marketing
3. Energy Use
4. Auditing Investigation

As we move on, we may include materials use as part of our plan. However, we want to make sure that we start with investigating ways we can make the biggest initial impact in relation to energy and sustainability. We also want our efforts to be quantifiable and to manifest in a way that has longevity.

We have some initial contacts at UMass, some general points where we can find more information. Thus, we will allow the plan to form around our investigation. We have a great group of people, spanning from those with experience in engineering, marketing, library science, public policy, and finance. We even have a representative from the undergraduate business program. So, I am excited to seeing what our diverse and enthusiastic crew will come up with! Cheers to a new year of connecting business to sustainability!

Contact at the Physical Plant [Energy Usage]

Had a great conversation with Jason Burbank at the Phys Plant this morning. He is the Campus Energy Engineer and is very open to being helpful on this project. He directed me to the spreadsheets available on the Phys Plant web site linked here.

Turns out a company called Johnson Controls has already done an energy audit and is under contract to make energy usage improvements. I'll need to continue the conversation but Jason looks to be a great contact point for our project.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Isenberg Service Corps Blogging Guidelines [Marketing]

 Before you start blogging, please read the following blog guidelines that the marketing team has established for this blog.

- Blogs must be updated with a Google username, so if you do not have a Google account, please sign up for one for this purpose.

- Blog should be updated at least once per week by each team.  We are currently allowing anyone to update the blog, but we may cut back to one person per team if it gets too confusing.

- Do not post anyone's contact info on the blog.  A separate Google Doc has been created specifically for contact info.  Also, do not post any other sensitive information on the blog.  If you're unsure about whether or not something should go on the blog, please ask the moderator before posting.

- Each blog post should have a title that is short, but also gives a good summary of what your post is about.  If the blog post is about something that your specific group did, the title should end with your group name in brackets - for example:  Meeting With I.T. To Discuss Computer Lab Printers [Materials].

- At least one photo is strongly recommended to accompany each post.  The photos can be of people, buildings, classrooms, or anything else relevant to your post.  Photos may be taken with cell phones or point and shoot cameras.  If you do not have a camera to take photos, you can search through the photos already uploaded to see if anyone else has taken and uploaded a photo that is also relevant to your post.  A main photo should appear at the top of the post.  If you have additional photos, you may put them in between text in the body of your post.

- The first paragraph of each post should summarize what the post is about.

- If you mention another website in your blog post, link to the site you are referring to by putting the link in the text within the post.  

- Make paragraphs!

- Use the default font so that all of the blog posts look uniform.

- Make sure you tag your posts with relevant tags - some examples of tags are as follows: Marketing, Energy Saving, User Behavior, Heating.

- Please make sure you proofread your work before publishing.  

Please note these are just preliminary guidelines.  If you have any questions, or see anything that you feel should be included in this guidelines list, please leave them in the comments.

How To Make A Blog Post [Marketing]

Greetings Isenberg Service Corps team members! This is a brief tutorial of how to make a blog post. Keep in mind that this tutorial is very basic. There is much more that you can do with this tool, but this how-to will be a good place to start. After you're done going over this tutorial, feel free to poke around the blogger tool to learn more.