Energy-Use Web Site Shows a Campus Where to Conserve

Many colleges, though not enough, closely monitor their power consumption in order to save money and reduce their environmental impact. But few go as far as the University of California at San Diego, which this week debuted a Web site that makes detailed, real-time data about campus energy use public information.

The Web site, called the Energy Dashboard, shows continually updated data about the consumption of the 60 largest buildings on the campus. Visitors can compare the power consumption of buildings across the campus or break down some of the data by electrical outlets, server rooms, lighting, and other factors.

The idea is to give individuals on the campus the information to understand how they contribute to the university’s total power consumption, said Yuvraj Agarwal, the principal architect of the dashboard. Most colleges that have detailed information on energy usage do not make it available or comprehensible to the general public, he said.

“It’s typically meant for management,” Mr. Agarwal said. “This is meant to help individual users understand what’s happening and tell them what they can do about it.”

To that end, Mr. Agarwal said, the next phase of the project would involve designing and installing power meters on personal computers so  individuals can monitor their own consumption. The individual data, which will most likely be made anonymous before it is published, may help focus attention on “the elephant in the room,” Mr. Agarwal said, which is “that nobody turns off their computers.”

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