A grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has enabled Syracuse University to become the first energy consumer in Central New York to install technology that allows minute-to-minute monitoring of the University's power usage.

The technology parallels the energy monitoring capabilities of the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation and allows the University to manage energy consumption in ways that both save energy and reduce costs, according to Steve Lloyd, associate director of the University's Energy Conservation Program.

"The grant allowed us to pursue new strategies for managing the cost of power through effective interval metering," Lloyd says. "Interval metering enables the University to predict and respond to changing energy demands on a minute-by-minute basis."

"The system also enables the University to more precisely predict energy consumption 24 hours in advance and take advantage of daytime energy price fluctuations by reducing energy needs during peak periods," Lloyd said. "Simple measures, such as adjusting the air flow in selected buildings and shedding non-essential loads during peak periods, will conserve energy in ways that will not affect working conditions inside of buildings."

So far, the University has installed 19 Power Measurement meters on campus. The meters are in the university's main electrical substations and in nine representative pilot buildings.

Officials from NYSERDA, impressed with the University's progress in interval metering, have requested that the grant remain open to allow them to gather additional data on the project. The organization is particularly interested in the University's ability to use the technology to immediately respond when an electrical emergency condition is declared by the New York State Independent System Operator (NYISO), which continually monitors the state's electrical usage grid.

The University is a member of the state's Emergency Demand Response Program (EDRP), the goal of which is to reduce the overall load on the state's electric grid by asking qualifying customers to voluntarily reduce their energy consumption. The incentive-based load reduction program is open only to customers with interval metering.

"In the future, the university plans to use the data collected from the interval metering technology to study the efficiency of building usage and track operational changes," Lloyd said. "The data will allow the university to negotiate better pricing with energy providers."

The interval metering system is the latest in a series of steps the university has taken to reduce energy needs through its Energy Conservation Program. Other steps include a six-year collaboration with energy management consulting company Alliant-Cogenex to modify buildings to increase energy efficiency and to reduce emissions of energy-related air pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide.

"Our successes in reducing energy costs and consumption during the past six years do not mean we can rest on our laurels," Lloyd says. "Energy consumption and prices continue to grow at the university and we must continuously seek out new ways to manage these rising costs."