Center for Energy & Environmental Education Energy Monitoring Project

Grant #06S-01
Principal Investigator: Patricia Higby
Organization: University of Northern Iowa, Center for Energy and Environmental Education
Technical Area: Energy Efficiency

In the fall of 2004 The Iowa Energy Center Resource Station requested assistance in monitoring the energy use of the Center for Energy & Environmental Education (CEEE) at the University of Northern Iowa.  When designed by Kevin Nordmeyer in 1993 and constructed in 1994, the CEEE was recognized as the first modern “green” building in Iowa.  At that time it was projected to use one third as much electricity as other buildings on campus, and cut total energy bills in half (Solar Today, March/April 1996).  These energy savings were expected to be achieved through basic design to promote daylighting and passive solar heating, lighting controls, and energy efficient HVAC systems.

The objective of this project is to monitor the building’s energy use to determine whether the original projections are being met, and to compare the energy use at the CEEE to other buildings at UNI, ISU, and some schools and office buildings.  The CEEE will also be compared to the Iowa Municipal Utilities Association (IMUA) building at Ankeny, another energy efficient building designed by Kevin Nordmeyer.

Work to Date
Between September 2004 and February 2006 the following was accomplished:
1. A UNI student. Chuck Pelton, was hired to begin analyzing data

2. Pat Higby arranged a meeting with Curt Klaassen, Chuck Pelton, and Bob Bellman, engineering technician at the UNI Physical Plant, to discuss the project and request data from the Siemen’s control system be sent to the CEEE.

3. Pat Higby arranged a work space with computer for the project, and arranged with the College of Natural Sciences Computer System Manager to allow computer file sharing between the project computer and the Physical Plant. Basic data, such as electrical meter, electrical demand, steam meter, well water use and return began to be collected in October of 2004.

4. The steam meter originally installed was known to be faulty, and data had been collected from it intermittently. The [Iowa Energy Center] provided funding to install a new steam meter, and Higby requested its installation by the [UNI] Physical Plant. This was installed on October 21, but only manual readings were taken for October through February. In April the new meter was connected to the Siemen’s control system, and data was collected for six days while steam was supplied to the CEEE. Comparing data from the two meters seemed to indicate a linear relationship exists, but more data needed to be collected before readings from the old steam meter could be adjusted.

5. Chuck Pelton created annual Building Energy Utilization Indexes (BEUIs) for 1995 through 2004 based on data received from UNI Physical Plant and heating and cooling degree data from the Waterloo airport. These will need to be adjusted for the faulty steam meter readings when a relationship is found.

6. Chuck Pelton also created monthly BEUIs for October 2004 through May 2005. Both monthly and annual BEUIs were included in the June 2005 Status Report.

7. Data was acquired over the summer, but was not analyzed. In the fall Chuck Pelton was unable to continue with the project because of a heavy class schedule. AshrafAl-qassab was hired to continue the work. Pat Higby worked with Ash to familiarize him with the steps needed to prepare data for constructing BEUIs.

8. While reviewing the work done by Chuck Pelton, Higby discovered that his data was taken over a 23 hour, 50 minute time period instead of a full 24 hour time period. Ash has been correcting the monthly BEUIs made by Chuck, and creating new ones for the remainder of 2005.

9. Pat Higby and Chuck Pelton created a building occupancy log of the CEEE. It includes daily class schedules, number of students, and special evening and weekend events. An inventory of computers used in the building during spring of 2005 was also made.

10. During the fall of 2005 the Science Education office and classes were moved to McCollum Science Hall, and the Physics Department began using the CEEE for classes and laboratory space. In December of 2005 the Physics office was moved to the CEEE and a computer lab was moved out, making room for more Physics classes in the CEEE. A new computer inventory will be taken, and the building occupancy log will be updated for spring 2006 classes.

11. In May of 2005 a 900 Watt photovoltaic array was activated at the CEEE. The energy from the array is connected to the grid through an electrical box at the CEEE. A monitor records energy generated, but an automated system, connected to the building’s Siemen’s controls, was needed to effectively determine the amount of energy generated by the PV system. A sub-meter was installed using funds from the original allocation for this project that will provide energy information every 10 minutes, to match the other readings being taken by the Physical Plant.

12. In the fall of 2005 construction began next door to the CEEE on a new building. Higby noted that power was being supplied from the CEEE. Upon investigation, it was found that the construction power was being drawn after the CEEE meter, and was included in the data being analyzed. Additional effort was needed on the part of Pat Higby to determine how to assess the extra energy being used for construction. A sub-meter was proposed, but after a meeting with Dean Shoars, head of the Physical Plant, it was decided to reroute the power line in front of the meter. This was done in the early morning of January 5, 2006.

Since February 2006 the following has been accomplished:
1. Compiled data received from the UNI Physical Plant and Waterloo airport to create monthly and annual BEUIs of the CEEE.

2. Updated CEEE building occupancy log and computer inventory.

3. Compared steam data from old and new meters and determined that the old data was erratic. It cannot be used to establish a relationship with the new meter.

4. Compared CEEE energy use with Latham Hall, Biology Research Complex, and the Physics buildings on the UNI campus. The Physics building comparison was prior to January of 2006, when renovations began.

5. Determined comparison with other buildings using the CBECS and Energy Star Portfolio Manager programs was not practical due to the unique nature of the CEEE. Its use as a combination classroom and office complex does not allow good comparison in either category.

6. Reported findings to Curt Klaassen, [Iowa Energy Center].

Proposed Work
Funding is requested to continue the work begun. Specifically this will include the following:

1. Compile data received from the UNI Physical Plant and Waterloo airport to create monthly and annual BEUIs of the CEEE.

2. Update CEEE building occupancy log and computer inventory.

3. Compare CEEE energy use with Latham Hall, Biology Research Complex, and the Physics buildings on the UNI campus. The Physics building comparison will be after the building is re-occupied in the fall of 2007.

4. Assemble information required for a Building Performance Report as a possible pilot project under the New Buildings Institute – Post Occupancy Evaluation program.

5. Make status and final reports on the project to Curt Klaassen, [Iowa Energy Center].