Sustainability Fellow Update

I recently submitted an update to the anonymous funders who are supporting the work of our Sustainability Fellow through the RMI campus program.  They wanted to know about some challenges and some successes that we’re facing as a result of their financial support.  Because we took a little longer to get started than the other grantees, I didn’t have a whole lot to share.  But I thought readers might be interested in my response; it does offer a little insight into the sustainability happenings on campus.

Our greatest challenges to date are related primarily to record-keeping. The kind of energy and cost modeling work that we’re asking our Sustainability Fellow to do requires detailed analysis of historical use records.  Many different staff members have collected utility data on campus over recent years and in several different formats.  Stephenson is working diligently to reformat and collate this information, laying the groundwork for modeling that she’ll do throughout the remainder of the year.  It’s tedious work that leads to a lot of questions, but we’re doing our best to address them one by one.  In doing so, we are creating a template for record-keeping on campus that will make us think of energy use in terms of both cost and emissions.

A welcome success on our campus has been the cooperation from so many community members.  Stephenson has called upon staff in facilities, the sustainability office, the business office, and residence life for program and building information necessary for this project.  Staff, faculty, and students seem to recognize the great benefit of her work to the College, and continue to be very helpful by providing information, time, and other resources.  Annie has made herself a quick member of the Unity College community, touring boiler rooms with our facilities director, sitting in on the staff association meeting, and joining the faculty/staff intramural floor hockey team in her second week on campus!

Annie’s certainly been doing a lot of number crunching.  But she’s also doing some “ground truthing” — tracking energy use in buildings with watt meters, counting fixtures, and getting thermal images to reveal heat loss .  This picture shows Constable on a cool evening.  As you might expect, there is some heat loss through windows and doors.  We could certainly gain some efficiency around the foundation by insulating portions of the basement, and we may even need to plug holes around the chimney chase (something our students can probably do after their weatherization training).  Annie will be using Arch Energy software to model cost and energy savings of a variety of efficiency projects in campus buildings

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About Jesse