The term “smart energy” comes from the philosophy of cost efficiency in combination with the lowest possible environmental impact to meet your energy needs.
At SmartPowerEd, we primarily endorse the use of smart sub-meter devices with a public dashboard software for schools to understand and reduce their energy use without major facility overhauls.
What are smart sub-meters?
Smart sub-meters are devices that track energy usage in more detail than conventional meters. In combination with a dashboard software, they give a school access to a live data feed of energy use per building, at any hour of the day, in various units. In contrast, normal meters only measure total use over a set period of time and do not allow as thorough of an understanding.
Where can you see the data the smart meter tracks?
Each school with a smart sub-metering system receives access to an online dashboard of energy use on campus. Access to the online data will be dependent on a school’s superintendent, but, usually, the superintendent has access to the full data set and students see a more limited view that still gives them understanding of energy use.
An example of an online energy dashboard:
Why do it? Why does it matter?
The EPA states that 40% of our energy consumption and green house gas emissions come from buildings. 30% of energy consumed in buildings is used unnecessarily. With 22,000 public high schools in the USA, imagine how much money and carbon emissions we would save these schools by reducing their wasted energy consumption levels.
Most people don’t know how much energy they are using at school, so they cannot assess waste. While the smart meters track your school’s energy consumption, the software presents the information understandably in:
- anomalies (i.e. abnormal spikes in the middle of the night or weekend)
- real time energy consumption (updated every 15 minutes)
- historical trends (you can see how much energy you’ve used since installation and compare energy usage)
- carbon tracking (shows you your school’s carbon footprint after saving energy)
Once you see how much energy you’re using during various times of the day (peak hours or expensive hours), that will trigger a behavioral change where people are more aware of how much energy they are using and they will be more inclined to conserve it (i.e turning off lights when not in use, stop charging fully charged computers, etc).