Students start program to monitor UTEP's energy efficiency
January 16, 2012 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
Originally posted on UTEP Prospector.
In a meeting that took place November of last year, three engineering students presented a plan titled the "UTEP Energy Dashboard System." The plan involved setting up dashboards on each building across campus that would monitor energy consumption.
The plan will now take effect this year with the help of UTEP's Green Fund, which provided the students with a grant worth approximately $30,000.
There is already a prototype in place on the University Library. Students can read the amount of energy consumption through the energy dashboard website, energydashboard.utep.edu. The site will show a graph that displays how much energy is used each day at different times of the day.
The project began with electrical engineering graduate students Stephan Hempel, Ryan Price and Pablo Rangel.
"Since we were all electrical engineering majors, we found this idea feasible," Hempel said. "The university does not have a project like this yet and we felt we could apply all of our research."
Price said that this project gives students a chance to put the knowledge they gained in class to work.
"Most students don't actually get to practice what they learn until they start working," Price said. "But we had the lucky opportunity to gain experience while we were still in school."
Hempel, the project manager and systems engineer, along with Price and Rangel as research assistants began the proposal for the Green Fund in the summer of 2011. The Green Fund Grant Making Committee approved and awarded them the grant.
"It was everything the GF had in mind," said Kris Johnson, Green Fund founder. "This is our first official project from the GF so we want this to be a success and we have every hope that it will."
The Green Fund raises up to $40,000 a year through a fee that charges each student $3 per semester as part of their tuition. The money is then awarded to students who create proposals for environmental innovations on campus.
"I think it is so great that students now have the opportunity to put their ideas to practice," said Ricardo Pineda, faculty advisor and director of the Systems Engineering Program.
Theresa Provencio, systems engineering graduate student, hopes this project will encourage the UTEP community to be conscience of the amount of energy they use on campus.
"I think this idea is really great," Provencio said. "This will keep people accountable for the amount of energy they use and maybe it could be an incentive for them to cut back."