Over the years, the College of Lake County (CLC) has leveraged its partnership with the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) to make strides in the management, technology, and efficiency of its energy systems. In 2014, CLC received a grant from IGEN to help fund the installation of solar thermal water heating systems on five different buildings on its Grayslake Campus. The solar thermal water heating system has been working well and saving the college expenses on natural gas and reducing carbon emissions. However, the college was not able to display the positive impacts of the system to students and community. Consequently, CLC applied through IGEN to receive technical assistance from Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) to find a way to measure and record the impacts of solar thermal water heating. SEDAC provided recommendations for submetering the amounts and temperatures of water going in and out of the water heating system.
SEDAC’s recommendation led to another funding partnership with IGEN. In 2021, CLC applied for IGEN funding assistance not only for submeters, but also for energy benchmarking software. CLC was able to expand the scope of energy measurement to include electrical usage as well.
CLC purchased submeters for four solar thermal water heating systems and ten electrical meters. Buildings with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels have electrical submeters to identify how much electricity is coming in from the grid, as opposed to how much is being produced on the rooftops.
Given complications with types of meters and submeter data sources, the energy dashboard is still in development. Nevertheless, progress continues. With the CLC’s ongoing partnership with IGEN, the college looks forward to being able to display what the impacts of solar thermal and solar PV are on its energy use, budget, and greenhouse gas emissions. So, stay tuned – utilizing this technology improves students’ experience when community colleges commit to being living laboratories for students and community!