Throughout the course of this semester our group has been hard at work analyzing the energy distribution of Miami campus buildings. The intention of this lab is to find and analyze the amount of energy used by different buildings located on the Miami University campus. We hypothesize that factors such as the months of the year, the population of buildings, the activities occurring inside the buildings, and whether or not the buildings have additional electrical components that might result in higher energy use (air conditioning) affect the energy levels in certain campus buildings. This scientific project idea was derived from a group consensus that took precedent over many other common projects that we had discussed about performing. We also wanted an original project that no one would think of. In addition we also didn’t want a project that was commonly studied like leaf decomposition or the studying of different water and soil types. Through our experiment we plan on accomplishing an informative project that brings attention to the importance of conserving energy. Besides being quite interesting, this project idea can benefit the Miami University both environmentally and economically. With the final results of this lab our group hopes to find a common trend in the power usage of campus buildings so that the university can regulate power by electricity during non-peak times to conserve energy. Furthermore this projects raises the issue of why it is extremely important to conserve our energy in hopes of creating a better tomorrow for all of us.
Relevance of Research
The first example we have through our literature review and personal interactions on what other people have done in relation to our project is through Mr. Mike Smith, an engineer for Miami Physical Facilities. Mr. Smith works at the Cole Physical Facility building throughout the week basically recording and analyzing the energy usage for Miami University. In addition he overseas the kilowatts per hour (kWh) developing within each building. One hope of our project is to give Mr. Smith an analysis if our statistical figures that he has graciously supplied us with, upon finalization our project. Another example that we have found through our literary review is how Mr. Janda and Mr. Busch have studied and evaluated the status of energy standards for many worldwide buildings. Another example that we would like to mention that we discovered through our literary review is how Mr. Hirst has developed some programs to conserve energy through electricity. These programs will benefit the population of not only Miami students, but also people around the world if they do a few simple tasks throughout their daily schedule. One example that Mr. Hirst mentioned in his book is to turn off the television set whenever someone is not watching it or is not in the room instead of leaving it on for a small course of time. Our group discussed this simple aspect and found that all of us often leave our televisions on when we are not watching them or in our dorm rooms. One way that our project relates to the world is even though we may only be making a small impact; other universities and business’s can study our data and derive from our figures whether or not they are using too much energy. Through their understanding of our project these individuals should be able to tell whether or not they’re spending too much money on electricity. Through our research we predict that our experiment will show the members of our class how important it is to conserve energy in planning for our futures.
Methods and Materials
1.) McGuffey Substation kilowatt meters
2.) Microsoft Excel i.e. charts
5.) Miami account review billings
6.) Data sheets
Our experimental design is to accurately analyze the electricity distributed throughout specific Miami campus buildings. So far in our experimental process’s we have found that our project is statistically sound, but when we start analyzing our material more in depth we might find that there our a few leaks in our data that we will have to account for. We had first intended to measure the energy levels of our buildings daily, but with our data supplied by Mr. Smith we can only measure it monthly from the charts that he supplied us with. Are experimental design is indeed statistically sound because we have performed a miniature version of our project to ensure this. The only advice that we have sought this far is through our book sources, classmates, and Mr. Smith. Because of the vast differences between each of the buildings characteristics we feel that are results will be unbiased. The reason we selected such a varied amount of buildings is to gain a better overall perception of the buildings and to ensure that are results would be unbiased. The data collected by us can be trusted because we will have Mr. Smith sign are papers that he has given to us displaying our statistical figures. When our final lab in submitted we will have included the data sheet suggested so that our data can be more accurately read and determined. The first step in our lab was choosing that we were going to study the energy distributed throughout Miami’s campus buildings. After our group gathering and conferred about our processes of collecting data we then set out to perform them. We first traveled over to the Cole Physical Facility building and then inquired to the front office secretary were we would be able to find someone that could help us in relation to our project. After explaining to her our lab purpose she directed us to Mr. Mike Smith. After talking with Mr. Smith he explained to us that he would have no problem in helping us with our research and that all he needed was an idea on how he could help us. We explained to Mr. Smith that we would come back the next day after we had discussed what exactly we needed from him, and he said that would be fine. That night our group met to discuss Mr. Smith’s role and the specific building we wanted to analyze in our project. We prepared a sheet for Mr. Smith of the buildings that we would like to study and a brief reason why we wanted them. We chose three different buildings from each different category of buildings located on Miami’s campus. We chose three different dining halls, residence halls, academic buildings, cultural buildings, administrative buildings, and athletic facilities. The next day we went back to Cole and gave him our instructions and our information sheet and within a matter of minutes he retrieved the data that we needed and we were off to analyze it. Upon exiting the building our group looked over the figures that he had given us and discovered that the charts he had supplied us with contained monthly information dating back to 1995, charts containing total kilowatts per hour for each month, total cost to operate each building per month, cost per kilowatt per hour, average kilowatt per day, and average cost of operation per day.
-Wilson (All male)
-Tappan (All female)
-Alumni Hall (Architecture)
-Boyd Hall (Science)
-Pearson Hall (Science)
-Center for Performing Arts
-Campus Avenue Building
-Millet Hall (Basketball Arena)
-Goggin (Ice Arena)
-Recreational Sports Center (REC)
From these listings, we used the billing statements to find kilowatt usage for the buildings per hour and the average costs for usage. Using this information we graphed we used it to develop relationships between the different months, under the different divisions of the separate buildings. For the in class assignment we will perform a small lecture on the basic structure of our experiment and the point behind it. Our idea for class involvement involves a game. In our game we will supply the students with graphs and charts of the data received through our experiment. We will then supply them with a campus map that will give them the necessary characteristics of buildings to help them determine the correct answers to our survey of questions. We will then divide the class in half forming two teams to compete against one another. Through the charts, graphs, and maps that we have supplied them with, each team should accurately determine the correct answers to the series of our questions through their analysis of our data provided. We are not going to ask the class to process any data we would just like them to look over our data and analyze it. Our game’s purpose is to provide some fun for the class, but most importantly to relate our experiment to the students. With the information we receive from our interviews and the pictures we are trying to portray in energy conservation we hope that the students learn how and exactly what they can do to conserve energy.
September 9th –27th: First meetings and group discussion sessions
September 28th-October 4th: First preliminary data derived; lab proposal due; literary books located.
October 4th-11th: Second meetings and group discussion sessions
October 19th-25th: Third meetings and group discussion sessions; Retrieve data from Cole; analyze data; and lab packet due
October 28th: Meeting to update data
October 30th: Trip to Mcguffey power station
November 3rd: Meeting to update data
November 9th: Meeting to update data
November 10th: Meeting to finalize class presentation
November 11th: Class presentation
November 13th: Correlate information on Statview
December 7th- 13th: Student Generated Lab reports due
Our observations from our energy lab prove that our hypothesis holds true. Our first observation that held true to our hypothesis was that Tappan Hall; an all girls dorm would use more energy each month than Wilson Hall; an all-male dorm. Through our research we proved this to be true and our chart plainly shows that Tappan Hall uses approximately five times more energy per month than Wilson Hall. Another example is that the REC center being the largest of all facilities would also need the most money to operate on a monthly basis than say the Art Museum. Again our data holds true and our charts plainly depict these facts. The best way that we concluded to convey our findings was to compile our data and make charts to best represent our statistics. We figured that the best types of statistics to be used in our lab would be graphical representations of kilowatts per month and the total amount of money expended on each building.
Through our background information, our project research, and our analysis of data we found for example that administrative building use more energy than any other group of facilities. There are many other examples that we could place in our conclusion, but our charts that we have prepared plainly state all of them. The reason we did not address the topic of how population of buildings might effect the energy levels of each building is because we could not accurately attain the necessary figures for the total amount of people traveling through Shriver, Campus Ave, Building, Alumni etc… because with each passing day these buildings may have more or less people in them than the day before. Our work fits in with others because we have basically provided a basic understanding of energy distribution throughout buildings that many others scientist have already chosen to study. We have gone to the next level in hopes of finding better solutions to the problems caused by using too much energy. One question we have is, "Does the square footage of each building contribute to how much energy each building truly uses each month?" Another question we have is, "Does the amount of people contribute to how much total energy is used in each building per month?" At the same time these few questions we have brought to your attention may also be used in further investigations by other student generated labs and/or other researchers.
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-Herzog, Peter. Energy-efficient Operation for Commercial Buildings. 1997.
-Chernick, P. "From Here to Efficiency." Energy Office. 1993.
-Dolin, Eric. "EPA’s Energy Efficiency Programs." Environment. 1997.
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-Coad, William. Energy Engineering and Management for Buildings Systems. 1982.
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