In the northwest corner of the Environmental Studies Building’s third floor, a new interactive energy dashboard has been installed by Western’s Facilities Management team. It’s a collaborative effort between Facilities Management, Institute for Energy Studies and Office of Sustainability and was paid for through Associated Students’ Sustainability, Equity and Justice Fund.
This display is a physical station that students can go to and access Western’s energy dashboard, which can also be found online through the Office of Sustainability website, Sustain.wwu.edu, under the “Sustainability at WWU” tab.
The energy dashboard organizes and catalogs the university’s energy usage, utility cost and types of waste for all 44 buildings on Western’s campus. This dashboard allows users to look up detailed information of specific buildings, campus-wide trends and historical data.
Wyatt Catron, a senior at Western and a student employee in the Facilities Management office, discussed all the things the dashboard could do.
“This is part of the transition to make information and resource usage more transparent,” Catron said.
As Western works to make its campus more energy efficient by renovating buildings and creating opportunities for sustainable solutions, the dashboard can be used to track these changes and show their benefit as well as shed light on places where improvements can still be made.
“If you know about what things are going on you can find some really cool data about how past projects impacted WWU’s energy consumption,” Catron said.
An example of this is the Biology building, which was renovated in 2016. To see how these changes impacted its energy expenditure, you can visit the energy dashboard to track the decline of its energy usage since the renovation.
Before the creation of the energy dashboard, students or staff interested in gathering information about campus spending or energy consumption would have to send in a request to Facilities Management, after which they would receive copies of utility bills that they would have search through and catalog.
The dashboard’s data also helps Western show utility companies the energy Western has saved, which in turn helps Western apply for rebates. The money received from the rebates are then placed into a revolving fund that Western uses on future sustainability projects on campus.
This new level of accessibility has opened the door for the campus to easily work with real statistics and issues, possibly leading to new ideas that can be applied directly to specific issues.
To learn more about this dashboard contact Wyatt Catron at firstname.lastname@example.org, see it in person on the third floor of the Environmental Studies building, or go to sustain.wwu.edu.