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.

1 comment:

  1. it would be incredible if we could get more robust data on building energy usage. 120 kBtu/sqft is good to know but it is for all types of buildings in all climates, presumably. it might be difficult to measure against this. i wonder if there is good data on this out other universities also publish their energy usage?