UC Davis’s TherMOOstat Lets Student Feedback Improve Comfort and Building Energy Efficiency

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As covered in the California Aggie, a new app for student feedback is letting UC Davis know when everyone wants the A/C turned down:

TherMOOstat is a data collection app that can be accessed on smartphones and laptops; users can report how they’re feeling by picking a colorfully dressed cow that reflects how warm or cool they feel. So, if the ECO receives a cow-with-earmuffs from a classroom in Wellman, they’ll know to keep the air conditioning off in the future.

“We didn’t even know that people were this uncomfortable until people started giving us feedback,” Morejohn said. “Now we’re trying to integrate [the data] more with how we actually tune the buildings.”

According to Morejohn, the university currently spends 25 million dollars a year on energy, so cutting HVAC costs where possible is of utmost importance. While the ECO is asking their users for feedback, they’ve also kept an eye on campus energy levels, tuning them when necessary.

The ECO monitors each building individually, considering occupancy and class scheduling to determine how to keep people comfortable while using the least amount of energy. Without realizing it, students are sitting in lecture halls that are operating at close to maximum energy efficiency.

With energy and temperature monitors covering 75 percent of the university’s indoor areas, the ECO can track UC Davis’ energy usage in real time. While the ECO uses this data for their own research, they share it with the community through Campus Energy Education Dashboard (CEED), a website established in April.

The data the ECO collects allows department to form a baseline of how much energy, and therefore carbon, the campus is using. Along with monitoring existing energy levels, Morejohn and his team are actively working to find solutions outside of optimizing buildings.

For more on the app, and other efforts UC Davis is making to move to zero net energy, read The Aggie‘s May 27th article in full here.

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