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Community College in Massachusetts Using New Technology to Teach Sustainability

Bunker Hill Community College is using technology in its health and wellness center to show how much energy is being used in real time at that facility. The Boston, MA, community college has deployed Building Dashboard Kiosk, developed by Lucid Design Group, in the lobby of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified building.

The school's dashboard, which is presented on a touch screen, reveals how much electricity, hot water heating, and chilled water is being used in the facility through charts and graphics. It allows administrators to look at trends and identify high periods, so they can make changes if necessary. In addition, it allows students, faculty, and staff to look at trends for today, the week, the month, and the year.

Other features include:

  • Tracking of energy use by floor or end use;
  • Monitoring progress of participants in energy-saving competitions;
  • Tools to compare results from variable-speed drives on heating and cooling equipment, classroom occupancy sensors, and energy-efficient light bulbs and fixtures; and
  • A toolbar, which provides links to games and videos that are related to sustainability; a virtual tour of the Health & Wellness Center; and tips on saving energy.

The dashboard, which was announced in November at the Northeast Regional Collaborative Symposium of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment at Bunker Hill Community College, will be used to teach lessons in sustainability.

Professors will use the device to teach lessons on climate action planning, resource conservation, and sustainability. Faculty and students can make commitments to sustainability that will be posted on their own Facebook pages to encourage discussions, including recycling plastic, paper, glass, and cardboard; using natural daylight whenever possible; and swapping out at least one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent. The platform also includes the ability to show energy-savings related YouTube videos created at the college.

The community college also plans to release a smartphone app that will let students, faculty and staff scan QR codes to quickly get information on green features and energy consumption of the Health & Wellness Center.

Bunker Hill Community College has 13,500 students enrolled on two campuses and four satellite locations.

To view the dashboard, visit the school's Web site.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at timothyjsohn@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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