The Energy Dashboard
The Energy Dashboard and how to use it
The energy dashboard provides students, faculty, and community members with historical energy consumption, and cost data for each building on campus. It informs us of campus wide utility usage, providing information for anyone to study the trends, and track individual building data.
On the current home page of energydashboards.wwu.edu, you will first see the mission statement, followed by a campus summary, and six pie charts. The charts represent residential, academic, and student buildings, comparing electricity and steam as a whole. This allows students or faculty to see how much electricity compared to steam different areas of campus use. It also shows what percent of their costs come from steam or electricity. Make sure to mouse over the graph to see the percentages. The reason why steam costs appear much smaller in comparison to electricity, is because natural gas is much cheaper than electricity, and using natural gas to run the steam plant is overall cheaper and more efficient.
On the left side of the homepage, there are tabs titled Resident halls, academic buildings, and student buildings. Click one, and a list of individual buildings will appear. Once an individual building is chosen, you will see background and unit information, five charts, and an option to look at electric or steam (choose one and click generate).
Tracking Energy Use
Tracking energy use in campus buildings
The first chart you will see is a pie chart that compares the individual building usage to all other buildings on campus.
The next four charts provide current and previous year cost and usage data: monthly and yearly
This allows tracking of consumption trends and associated costs over the year. Costs may not increase in a direct relationship to usage, because utility rates can fluctuate. So, if the costs look like they stayed the same, but usage in electricity dropped, then electricity prices may have increased this year, and vice versa.
When looking at steam data, which requires you to click “steam”, and then “generate” on the top of the page, remember that steam is powered by natural gas. Since natural gas prices fluctuate heavily based on seasonal demand (among other things), it can make the cost/usage comparison confusing at first. For example, the Biology building used more natural gas in 2016, as compared to in 2015. However, the total cost was less than the total cost in 2015. This is due to market fluctuations in natural gas prices.
One example of why natural gas price may fluctuate: If we have a very cold winter, then demand for natural gas for heating will increase, the available supply will decreases, and the prices will be higher.
The Energy dashboard makes it really simple, clear, and accessible to track utility usage and costs of any individual building on campus.
**Be careful to pay attention to units when comparing data, some units may be different on the current dashboard. This discrepancy will be fixed in future.
Kailey MacLeod, Energy Dashboard Educator
The goal of the Energy Dashboard is to bring access, awareness and education to campus about utility usage, promote efficient behavior, and reduce energy use on campus.
The Energy dashboard is a new tool for WWU, and has lots of exciting updates ahead!
- The total utility usage and costs for the entire campus.
- Top 5 buildings on campus that use the most energy (quarterly)
- Top 5 buildings that have reduced the most energy (quarterly)
- integrate environmental data, such as carbon emissions, and EPA equivalencies.