The Columns

W&L Receives Grant to Install New Sub-Meters in Upper-Division Housing

— by on September 4th, 2017

“We hear from students over and over that they want to save energy…They are eager for tools to help them manage their spaces responsibly, and these sub-meters will provide exactly that.”

The Village

Washington and Lee University has received a $21,800 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to help fund a new sub-metering project in the upper-division housing known as the Village.

In one year, the goal is to install sub-meters in 17 student residence buildings and to connect them and other existing campus sub-meters to a web-based management platform known as Lucid. The grant will fund the purchase of new sub-meter hardware for the Village, including replacement, repair and calibration of all the sub-meters currently on campus.

The project will allow students living in the townhouses and apartments to see their electricity use in real time, track it over specific periods, and compare it to that of their neighbors, through an interface they can access on their cellphones.

The new meters, along with the Lucid software, will allow for significantly improved outreach and education, particularly to students, according to W&L’s energy specialist Jane Stewart.

“This is something many students have been asking for, and an idea that got great support in a recent student survey,” Stewart said. “Many faculty members have also been eager to see sub-meters in the Village as part of our broader environmental efforts.”

Stewart believes the sub-metering project not only gives individuals responsibility for the campus carbon reductions, but can also instill crucial habits that students, faculty and staff will share with others.

“We hear from students over and over that they want to save energy, and many of them are actively trying to understand how saving energy will also help them save on their bills when they move off campus,” Stewart said. “They are eager for tools to help them manage their spaces responsibly, and these sub-meters will provide exactly that.”

The sub-meters will be installed this fall, and W&L plans to work into the winter to have them fully functioning. While exact calculations are not possible prior to installation, a 12 percent overall campus reduction in the use of electricity and natural gas from the fiscal year 2017 baseline data is predicted, thanks to the added sub-meters.