One of the most visible efficiency programs in Harvard FAS (Faculty of Arts and Sciences) labs is the Shut the Sash campaign. Started in 2005, Shut the Sash now includes 20 labs and counting, and saves roughly $250,000 annually in energy costs. Due to the incredible success of the program, many want to know how it was started and how it is run. Below are some common Q&A to provide insight into one of our most successful programs.
1. What is the type of data that you use for trending the competition?
We measure average CFM from the hood exhaust system. Our program is set up to collect data every 30 minutes, so we have 48 points for each day. We have 20 labs in the competition currently. Each lab may have a different amount of fume hoods that are part of the competition- some have one hood participating, others have eight or more- it doesn’t matter how many hoods are being tracked, since the goal is to reduce their own total values. Regardless of how many hoods they have, we sum their data points in the report, so we are always looking at the total exhaust for each lab- we compare hood to hood within the labs. Their improvement is looked at as a percent of their total value.
2. Is the data metered at the lab-specific level so that you are able to compare one lab with another?
Yes! Each lab’s data points are totaled, and the labs are compared among each other based on meeting their “goals”. All the hoods in the competition are VAV, which means they have a minimum and a maximum setpoint. The average CFM for that lab will fall somewhere within that range- probably closer to the maximum at first. The room for improvement is the difference between their average and the minimum- (i.e. if their min was 1500 CFM and their max was 8000 CFM, and their average is 5750, they could potentially reduce that value by 1250 CFM). In theory, they should be able to get pretty close to their minimum setpoint, because the majority of hood use is quick access compared to the long periods between. To start, you could set a goal of a 15-20% reduction (whatever you think is fitting) and they encourage them to shut their sashes; it should be pretty easy to achieve. Then after that, you could change the goals by 5% or something once or twice a year.
3. Who provides you with that data?
The reports are set up in the Siemens system (who do the controls for the building and run our Building Automation System) and are generated twice a month automatically. We send out two emails per month: once as a mid-month reminder with an update of who is on track to meet their goals, and once with the results and winner from the previous month.
4. How do you receive it?
We receive automatically generated emails twice per month from the Siemens system, and the raw data is an attached Excel file. We then copy and paste the data into our own file that we have formatted the way we want to make graphs and charts, etc.
5. How often do you receive the data in order to run the competition?
Twice per month, with results reported once per month.
6. Any other suggestions from your recent work with the program?
Yes! Before starting the official competition, you should collect baseline data for each lab- that is, set up the reports with the CFM trends, and then collect data for a couple weeks or a month before introducing the community to the competition and starting to raise awareness. It's important data to have for future use, to make the case that the program is working, and to report the changes, etc.
7. Do you ever find yourself needing to conduct visual audits?
Sometimes- after tracking the hoods for a while, you may come to expect certain trends from each lab. If the trends vary significantly from the norm one month, it might be good to check it out- sometimes this is due to a sensor malfunctioning or an equipment problem, which can save lots of money when detected and fixed!
8. How often do you find yourself visiting the labs that are a part of the competition?
Typically we visit the labs once a month to post their most recent trends, and then we'll visit the winning lab to host their pizza party as well.