ET Students Perform Energy Audits

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The trips are part of the Energy Management technical elective course that instructors Nan Byars and Dan Hoch are teaching to a full classroom of juniors and seniors in spring 2009. In the class, students learn about energy auditing, energy management and energy cost analysis. Electric rate structures are analyzed and techniques to minimize energy consumption are discussed.

Divided into teams, the students take their new knowledge to local businesses where they perform full energy audits by measuring the energy usage of lights, machines, HVAC and entire building systems. Based on the data collected, the teams develop energy saving recommendations and cost-saving estimates.

The monitoring equipment the students are learning to use and its purpose include:

  • anemometers to measure airflow velocity from HVAC systems,
  • light meters to measure light intensity in rooms,
  • digital tachometers that measure the speed of motors, fans and pumps,
  • infrared thermometers to determine surface temperatures,
  • Kill-a-Watt meters to measure power consumption of machines,
  • hand-held temperature and humidity meters to measure air temperature and moisture level both inside and outside of buildings
  • digital cameras to document what is found in the field,
  • data loggers that monitor various parameters over time such as when lights and motors are on and off, and the temperature and humidity inside of a building. The loggers are set and left for a period of time. Students then collect them and download the data.
  • laptop computers to download, record and process all the data.