VCU teams up with leading energy provider to find green solutions

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen April 23, 2012 0
Micro-grid technology could save money and energy at other universities, military bases and offices by measuring in-house electricity use.
Micro-grid technology could save money and energy at other universities, military bases and offices by measuring in-house electricity use.

Universities are great places for prestiged researchers and scientific leaders to conduct their work. With so many eager young minds available to help out in labs and in the field, they can not only carry out experiments and studies affordably, they also can spark interest in their work so that it can be improved and expanded in the future.

To conduct research on green energy technologies, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Dominion, a leading energy provider in the United States, will work together for the next five years on the VCU campus, according to a press release.

The two entities will utilize the VCU School of Engineering's West Hall to explore the effects of making minor adjustments to improve energy efficiency. Over the course of the experimentation, researchers will be recording the results of real-time energy modifications such as changing lighting and environmentally friendly products to see what actually saves money and energy.

"We're excited to create a working model that can be used by students and researchers to investigate and create innovative methods for maximizing energy conservation and cost savings," Ed Bennett, executive director of Physical Plant and deputy for Facilities Management at VCU, said in a statement. "We foresee this as an extension of our efforts to predict and save future maintenance costs based on equipment energy analysis."

To capture the energy data, the research team will be using micro-grid technology. Paul Koonce, CEO of Dominion Virginia Power, explained in a statement that if these micro-grids prove to be effective, they could be very useful for use at other higher education institutions, military bases and office buildings. The technology allows users to see what areas of their facility needs more energy, reduce its amount of energy consumption, and of course, cut costs.

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