‘Green screen’ building energy-use monitor installed in Smith

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Portland State unveiled an interactive dashboard today displaying real-time building energy, water and gas usage.

The “green screen” is designed to involve visitors of the Smith Memorial Student Union in shrinking that building’s footprint.

“The dashboard helps people visualize resource use so they can participate in conservation. It is also a learning tool for students, who are helping make our campus more sustainable as part of their coursework,” said Mark Gregory, Associate Vice President of Finance and Administration at Portland State. 

The dashboard displays the building’s use of electricity, natural gas, condensate (for heat), potable water and chilled water (for air conditioning). Each of these resources is metered throughout the building and displayed in real time on the screen using automated software. Graphs compare resource use over time, and translate most of the metrics into understandable terms, such as equivalent number of water bottles used.

Student building fees made funding for the project possible. A second green screen is planned for PSU’s Lincoln Hall, a hundred-year-old structure celebrated for its recent sustainable renovations.

Portland State’s 2010 Climate Action Plan, which outlines the university’s path to carbon neutrality by 2040, calls for an 85 percent reduction in overall energy use across campus by 2030, with 25 percent of these reductions coming from reducing demand.