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CSE to Install Energy Dashboard

Jules Struck ’19, Associate Managing Editor

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The Center for Sustainability Education (CSE) is tentatively scheduled to replace the red and green energy indicator light located in the HUB lobby with an interactive Lucid Energy Dashboard over spring break. The touchscreen will clarify the energy usage levels of Dickinson College’s buildings.

The Lucid Energy Dashboard is an online program that displays an energy consumption graph for each building on campus. It is updated continuously throughout the day, and can be viewed by day, week, or month. As of Feb. 15 it tracks 23 buildings, mostly residence halls. Users can view total or per-person consumption in Kilowatt-hours, pounds of CO2 or dollars. The site displays each building’s green features, building plans and number of occupants.

The online site can be found at buildingdashboard.net/dickinson, and is available to the public. One physical dashboard can be found in Kauffman.

Lindsey Lyons, assistant director for CSE said the current red-green light in the HUB is a source of confusion for the office.

“The red-green light, we’re not exactly sure [what it indicates] – is that total campus use is up and down? Is it HUB use? And up and down against what?” Lyons said. The dashboard is “more technologically advanced and can communicate on a more relatable level to the student body and the Dickinson community in general.”

The funding for the installation of the screen will be shared by the climate action budget overseen by Ken Shultes, associate vice president for Sustainability and Facilities Planning, and CSE’s budget.

“[We] two are sharing the funding for buying the physical kiosk to put [the dashboard] on. But the CSE has the infrastructure and the team to get people to use it,” Lyons said.

The Dashboard has been online for two years, yet Lyons thinks the majority of students are not aware of the program. She thinks that during Dickinson’s annual Energy Challenge, the dashboard will come in handy by helping students conceptualize energy usage. In addition to displaying the rankings from last year’s energy challenge, the dashboard includes a competition mode, which will be active during the challenge. Students will be able to monitor their building’s rank during the competition.

The Dashboard is part of CSE’s effort to raise awareness for their office and inspire conservation efforts in the student body.

“That’s kind of our main reason for getting something in the HUB, is if we put a snazzy new touch screen on a pedestal, [lots of people] have something to look at that they can interact with,” said Lyons.

Communications and Outreach Intern for CSE Jackie Geisler ’17 wants the dashboard to “communicate the fact that [Dickinson has] a carbon neutrality plan,” something she thinks, “a lot of people don’t know.”

Broadly, Geisler anticipates that the dashboard will work “ultimately to shift behavioral change.” Lyons hopes the dashboard will pique interest in the office’s sustainability programs, such as the one hour Sustain It workshops “designed for student, faculty and staff.” The workshops focus on sustainability education, “talking about how we practice things at Dickinson, and coming up with action items.”

Dickinson’s energy consumption levels for the 2015 – 2016 school year are above the office’s projected goals, but this is unsurprising for Lyons, who attributes the energy levels to an increase in people and square-footage on campus after construction in 2015.

“Behavior change is definitely going to play a role [in cutting emissions],” Lyons said. “But there are also big projects in the pipeline that have the potential to cut our emissions by ten to 20 percent each. People need to know about this!”

“The hope is that if we can get people to think about their behaviors, it’s for life,” Geisler added.

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CSE to Install Energy Dashboard