College receives grant from energy foundation

grimm-andyMarietta College is one of eight Ohio institutions that received a Dominion Foundation Higher Education Grant for 2014.

Marietta received $30,000 for its student- and staff-driven energy efficiency improvements project. It was received because of the College’s Energy Systems program’s incorporation of the study of increased use energy efficiency and alternative energy sources. 

Marietta College spends $1.2 million on electricity annually, according to Associate Professor Andy Grimm.

Students and faculty involved in the Energy Systems program plan to use this grant to take steps towards reducing the College’s overall energy consumption by installing electric meters that track individual building electrical usage.

Currently, there are no electric meters that can measure energy usage of individual floors or entire buildings along the Christy Mall. There is only one meter behind the Herman Fine Arts Building that receives readings from all of the buildings on the Mall. With this current setup, it is impossible to identify where excessive energy consumption is occurring.

“Without individual floor readings, the air conditioner in a building could be running hard and inefficiently for a while before it is addressed, simply because, without someone pointing it out, we wouldn’t be able to identify the problem’s origins,” Grimm says.

As Grimm notes, only through proper measurements can electricity and energy consumption be reduced. “Measurement leads to reduction. Without measurement, you can never hope to improve.”

The Dominion Foundation grant will be used to install electric meters throughout buildings on The Christy Mall, notably Gilman Student Center, Legacy Library and the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center.

In addition to the installation of electric meters, the grant will be used to set up a wireless data transfer system. Data from the meters will be collected and sent to a central location.

Students involved in the Energy Systems curriculum will be able to access this data and analyze it. This will deepen and improve their observations of all of the different forms of energy utilized throughout the campus.

Overall, the main goal of having the meters and data system is to raise general awareness, getting college community members to start to pay attention to their own energy consumption.

The electric meters will begin being installed next month.

The Dominion Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, Dominion East Ohio’s parent company. Dominion and the Foundation annually award more than $20 million to causes that protect the environment, promote education and help meet basic human needs.