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April 5, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU lends expertise to energy software

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University residence hall students will soon be asked for feedback concerning new software being incorporated into energy dashboards displayed in the residence halls.

AMR Systems is developing the software and a prototype display, which is expected to be operational this spring. The company specializes in a range of hardware and software solutions to collect, analyze and display data from electric, water and gas energy meters.

The University received a $15,000 grant from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund to purchase the six energy dashboard touch screens that track energy consumption and provide the energy conservation education.

"Helping Slippery Rock University to become more energy efficient fits well into the mission of the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund," said Joel Morrison, program director. "Showing students their energy usage in real time may affect the way that they use energy and result in energy reduction and savings for the University. WPPSEF reinvests in local communities supporting energy conservation to help reduce energy usage through technology."

Focus groups of on-campus students will be conducted and the software will be modified to incorporate the students' feedback, according to Scott Albert, SRU director of facilities. "The goal is to install the six displays and to then conduct an energy reduction competition among the halls," he said.

The energy usage dashboards are designed, in part, to make it easier to learn about energy conservation.

Albert said students could make a big difference in energy consumption through small steps, including reducing their time in the shower, increasing air conditioning by as little as one degree, or decreasing heating temperatures by one degree. "Such temperature changes can bring about a 1-3 percent impact on energy usage," he said.

The dashboards will show students how much energy their building is using in real time, he said. The dashboards will monitor electricity, water and water residue from steam heat, called "condensate."

In tracking University energy usage students will be given pre- and post-surveys to see if the dashboards result in energy reduction in the halls.

Albert also obtained a $20,000 SRU Green Fund grant for the energy measuring system.

"If the University could reach a 3 percent energy usage savings, it could save an estimated $1.5 million over 10 years," according to the project's grant application.

WPPSEF invests in the deployment of clean energy technologies throughout the West Penn Power service region in Pennsylvania. Investments are made to promote: the use of renewable and clean energy, energy conservation and energy efficiency, and the attraction, establishment, and retention of sustainable energy businesses. Additional information is available at:

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.