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Eastern Mennonite U Dashboard Educates Residents on Energy Use

A small liberal arts Christian college in Virginia is making an energy usage dashboard available to the campus community for its newest residence hall. The 1,600-student Eastern Mennonite University built a LEED-certifiable dorm in 2009, the first building at its Harrisonburg campus to follow green building design practices throughout its construction.

To make residents and visitors aware of energy consumption in that building, the university acquired QA Graphics' Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard. The dashboard is an interactive application that can be viewed on a monitor in the residence hall's lobby that displays real-time energy usage.

"Community education is important to [the university], both because it earns us a LEED credit, but more importantly because we want to share ideas about how to live and build more sustainably," said Andrea Wenger, director of marketing and communications at the university. "The dashboard provides a way for visitors to learn about the building as well as students living and visiting there to be aware of how their lifestyles impact the environment. This is a living and learning community...telling the story of Cedarwood's construction and building use fits in with our mission as a university committed to sustainability."

Green features of the building include use of natural lighting, flooring made of recycled and natural materials, low-flow water fixtures, a bioretention filtration system to manage stormwater runoff, and reflective roofing. In the future the university will display real-time solar hot water and water usage details and will make the stats available online.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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