Sustainability and Energy Conservation Projects

Stonehill College is committed to building a culture of sustainability, and also embraces innovation and thinking outside of normal boundaries. As such, on Earth Day in 2012 Stonehill College became the twelfth Catholic college to sign the St. Francis Pledge of the Catholic Climate Covenant, which publically committed the college to support campus sustainability efforts. Subsequently in August of 2012, the college hired its first energy manager, Jessa Gagne. Gagne's primary responsibility is to implement heating, cooling and lighting control strategies that maximize equipment efficiency, increase occupant comfort, and reduce utility consumption.

In the first several months in the position, Gagne spent much of her time analyzing and documenting the mechanical equipment in each building on campus. She determined that the biggest challenge impeding achieving energy conservation was the lack of a networked energy management system to control and monitor major mechanical equipment. As of the end of 2012, four buildings were equipped with building wide energy management systems, and two additional buildings had partial coverage. The remaining fifty-six buildings could only be locally controlled, which means a technician needs directly access a piece of equipment in order to set operating schedules and temperature setpoints, and nothing monitors the equipment to ensure that it is working properly. With Stonehill's commitment toward sustainability and rising energy costs, efficiently operating equipment has both environmental and financial consequences. It is critical for the college to determine if buildings are operating efficiently as possible and if not, implement control systems and strategies. 

Electric Meters

While natural gas, water and heating oil usage are separately metered by building, the majority of the campus is master metered for electricity. The master metered electricity account includes fifty buildings and accounts for over ninety-five percent of the College's annual electrical consumption. The installation of electric submeters is required in order to determine what the operating cost of each building, whether they are being run efficiently, and whether energy efficiency projects have been effective.

The College began adding electric meters in December 2012. The first phase included Boland Hall, Merkert-Tracy, Cushing Martin, Martin Institute, O'Hara Hall, O'Hara Village, Shields Science Center, Ice Rink Garage, New Residence Hall, and the Roche Dining Commons. These buildings were selected for various reasons which include the potential for enhanced incentive funding from our utility providers for energy efficiency projects, the prevalence of electric heat or major cooking facilities, or the complexity, size and usage of the building itself.

Phase 2 began in August 2013 and will continue through the fall. Electricity to each building must be off for approximately one hour; therefore, scheduling shutdowns can be a tricky process. The buildings included in the second phase are Flynn Hall, Ames Sports Complex, WB Mason Stadium, College Center & Merkert Gym, Duffy Academic Center, Benaglia Hall, Corr Hall, Notre Dame du Lac, Villa Theresa, Stanger Hall, and Humarock, Cotuit, and Cedarville, which share a feed from Flynn Hall.

Access to current and historical electric meter data is available to all members of the Stonehill community via the college's energy dashboard using the username energ and leaving the password blank.

Roche Dining Commons Energy Management System

The Roche Dining Commons energy conservation project includes installing direct digital controls (DDC) on all seven of the building's air handling units, and connecting them to the campus wide energy management system (EMS). Prior to this project, an EMS was install as part of the renovation of The Hill. However, it was limited to a single make-up air unit serving the kitchen on the lower level. An electric submeter was installed in December of 2012 in preparation for this project. Tracking the building's usage allowed the College to have an engineering study completed for the building, then apply for incentive funding from our utility providers. This study was completed in June of 2013, and the project started the following month. The savings associated with this project will come from reduced run times and more efficient control of the units.

Martin Institute Energy Management System

The Martin Institute energy conservation project includes installing direct digital controls (DDC) on two air handling units, the chilled water system, and variable air volume (VAV) and connecting them to the campus wide energy management system (EMS). Prior to this project, an EMS was install as part of the renovation of The Hill. However, it was limited to a single make-up air unit serving the kitchen on the lower level. An electric submeter was installed in December of 2012 in preparation for this project. Tracking the building's usage allowed the College to have an engineering study completed for the building, then apply for incentive funding from our utility providers. This study was completed in June of 2013, and the project started the following month. The savings associated with this project will come from reduced run times and more efficient control of the units.

Campuswide Energy Management System

An energy management system (EMS) is a system of computer-aided tools used to monitor, control, and optimize the performance of heating, cooling and lighting systems. The computer aided tools include routers and controllers throughout each building on campus, and a server that resides in the College Data Center.

The College currently utilizes three different energy management systems, which include two instances of Metasys Extended Architecture by JCI and one instance of Tridium by Niagara. Facilities Management and the College's Energy Manager are able to access these systems to facilitate troubleshooting equipment failures and temperature issues, manage building schedules and adjust temperature setpoints. Tridium is also used to track the College's utility submeters.
Energy management and utility tracking are essential when planning equipment and controls upgrades and equipment. Metasys Extended Architecture utilizes proprietary software that inhibits the College from consolidating from three EMSs to a single EMS. That being said, the hardware connected to this system is non-proprietary and may be connected to any open protocol EMS. Tridium is the most advanced EMS available today and also utilizes an open protocol; therefore, buildings that utilize Metasys Extended Architecture will be migrated to Tridium.

Merkert-Tracy was the first building to be migrated to Tridium by the College's Energy Manager. The Shields Science Center and Roche Dining Commons are both undergoing energy efficiency projects in 2013, which includes migrating them to Tridium as well. At this time the Energy Manager is creating the database for the New Residence Hall, which will be migrated to Tridium in the fall of 2013. The final building to be migrated will be Cushing Martin, which will occur over the winter months. It is expected that Metasys Extended Architecture will no longer be utilized on campus by the end of 2014.