New system helps UH campuses become more energy efficient

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intelisockets at wcc_93708

Three University of Hawaii campuses are taking steps toward becoming more energy efficient.

University of Hawaii at Manoa, Windward Community College and University of Hawaii at Hilo recently installed an innovative energy management system called “InteliNetwork.”

The pilot project, executed in partnership with Ibis Networks, aims to save as much as $40,402 per year in energy costs over the three campuses.

Ibis Networks installed 1,232 “InteliSockets,” which are devices plugged into existing electrical wall outlets and transmit energy usage data every 15 seconds for any electric device plugged into it.

Over periods of two to five weeks, the company then monitored the energy usage of more than 1,500 devices ranging from computers, monitors, printers, power strips, copiers, mini-fridges and televisions.

It established baseline energy profiles then made recommendations to maximize energy savings, including:

  1. Scheduling periods with the InteliNetwork platform to turn devices off when not in use;
  2. Replacing inefficient devices with modern energy-efficient devices (when the energy savings can pay for the device in less than 24 months) and
  3. Modifying equipment and/or user behavior by better managing device usage during core business hours.

If the recommendations are followed, plug-load energy consumption across three campuses could be reduced by as much as 58 percent, Ibis says.

Here is the cost-savings breakdown:

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa installed 471 InteliSockets for a potential plug-load energy savings of 65,628 kWh or $11,813 annually based on $0.18/kWh.
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo installed 461 InteliSockets for a potential plug-load energy savings of 95,925 kWh or $23,022 annually based on $0.24/kWh.
  • Windward Community College installed 300 InteliSockets for a potential plug-load energy savings of 30,930 kWh or $5,567 annually based on $0.18/kWh.

The overall project cost was $142,612 in which Hawaii Energy provided $110,000 (77 percent) through its Energy Efficiency Auction. The remaining costs were funded by UH. The energy savings is enough to pay for all three projects in an average of 3.52 years.

Students have played a significant role in the deployment of this new technology, using the campus as a living laboratory to create practical learning opportunities from real-life situations.

“It’s exciting that my research project, which started as an energy waste audit, may help UH and the state become more energy efficient,” said Windward CC pre-engineering student Madori Rumpungworn.

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