The Mapping Challenge

Guest blog post–by Seth O’Bryan

The net zero challenge is a major goal in the Commons. We hope to generate at least as much solar energy as electrical energy we use in the Commons. Ideally, we would have a surplus of energy that can be used to help offset energy use on the rest of the campus. There is an energy monitoring device by Veris Industries in the Commons that measures how much energy we use in each circuit in the building. The circuits are labeled as “channels” on the readout. The Commons has three circuit breakers, two of which are low voltage and one is high voltage. While the circuit breakers are fairly well labeled, some circuits are labeled generically and do not specifically indicate which object or what set of outlets correspond to the output on the monitoring device.

An example of the Veris readout is below…

Veris sample

The Veris monitoring device generates a great deal of data. For each circuit, we know the current, power, cumulative energy use, power factor, and many other relevant and useful pieces of information. Users of the Commons will collaborate about how to maintain the building in a more energy efficient way, but one tool for the conversation will be knowing patterns in our energy use and where we use the most energy. Also, identifying areas in the building where we use energy at times when no one uses the spaces will help us cut back on energy use. Mrs. Rivers’ 8th grade science classes attempted to map the circuits in their classroom. They effectively identified some of the channels, but it is still unclear what the energy using device or outlet is for some channels. The Commons team is always looking for volunteers to participate in work that will help map all of the circuits in the building. The mapping process does not require any knowledge about the building or the science involved. It is also the type of thing one can participate in one time or many times for a short time period or a long time period. If you are interested, feel free to contact either Seth O’Bryan or Terry Smith!




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