Data logging tools help high school students investigate school energy use, build case for energy-efficiency stimulus funds
Bourne, Mass.-based Onset recently donated licenses of its HOBOware graphing and analysis software to 22 high schools in southern Idaho. The donated software, which will be distributed to each school through Boise, Idaho-based Idaho Power’s Students for Energy Efficiency program, will be used to analyze school building energy-use data the students are collecting with Onset HOBO data loggers.
"Idaho Power developed this program to train high school students on how to perform energy-efficiency assessments of their school buildings,” says John Bernardo, energy educator with Idaho Power. "Using a 'Crime Scene Investigation' format, the students are using light on/off and temperature data loggers to determine when lights are being left on in the schools, and to see if the buildings are being unnecessarily heated during the nighttime hours when no one is there."
According to Bernardo, prior to Onset's donation of the software, the schools had to send the data loggers back to Idaho Power for data offload and analysis. Now, the students will be able to handle these tasks independently, which Bernardo believes will enhance the learning experience and give them more immediate feedback on lighting and heating use.
Once the energy investigations are completed this winter, the students will compile reports and present their findings to school boards, superintendents, local community groups, and city councils throughout Idaho.
"We anticipate that by pinpointing opportunities for energy savings, the student recommendations will help strengthen the case for obtaining ARRA stimulus funds for energy improvements within each school."