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Hanley Sustainability Institute

Summer 2020 HSI work: Temp setbacks implemented; savings being calculated

By Mark Gokavi

One byproduct of students not being at the University of Dayton this spring because of the pandemic was many buildings not seeing much use, which resulted in lower energy use.

Jack Rees, a facilities management graduate assistant and former Hanley Sustainability Institute GA, worked during that time to perform temperature setbacks on all academic buildings across campus.

“I started by making trend studies of various temperature readouts for each air handler in all of the academic buildings,” said Rees, who worked with Matthew Worsham, UD’s energy efficiency and renewable energy manager. “These trend studies would allow Matthew and me to view current and previous temperature data (going back 48 hours) in specific areas of buildings so that we could monitor the temperature and humidity readouts.”

Worsham said UD had never done temperature setbacks for more than a long weekend. 

“For weeks at a time, we had to come up with new strategies for how to manage those buildings and make sure that they were not getting too warm, or too cold or too humid,” Worsham said. “We both probably learned more this summer than I have in the last three years of working with it.

“Jack set up views in the platform that we could use to quickly assess the conditions of different buildings based on the sensors that we had in place. And he also did some programming for new things that we had come up with to manage temperatures.”

Rees said that once the trend studies were done, he and Worsham created spreadsheets of every building on campus with every air handler associated with each building.

“Matthew and I would then go through all of the trend studies and fill out the spreadsheet with high and low temperature and humidity readouts, as well as make notes of any readouts that were abnormally high,” Rees said. “We started the summer doing this every day but then transitioned to doing it every other day, or when a particular day was going to be very hot and/or humid.”

Rees and Worsham adjusted the air handler schedules because of little use during the summer. Instead of operating from morning to late afternoon, the schedules were staggered to run for two hours in the early morning to reduce humidity and cycle the air.

“The schedules were also staggered in all of the buildings to help reduce electrical load,” Rees said. “Air handlers were also turned on manually if certain buildings were consistently too warm and/or too humid. Matthew and I, as well as the rest of the energy team, are now trying to calculate the overall energy savings from the temperature setbacks we put into place this summer.”

Worsham said early indications are that UD used only about 60 percent of the energy they did during that period in 2019 with particular savings in several buildings including the Rec Plex.

“A lot of our systems are probably working better than they were before just because we found so many areas where we could improve things or tweak or fix issues,” Worsham said. “Jack is a really hard worker. He is always open to learning new things and he’s been a really great member of the team.”

For more sustainability news and information, visit HSI’s news blog, the Hanley Sustainability Institute website and the Sustainability Program website.

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