Monthly Archives: April 2009

Macro-level electricity feedback displays

Last week was Earth Day and the UHM Sustainability Fest. I spent some time working in the Sustainable Saunders Energy team booth, helping to answer questions about renewable energy and what we’re doing at Saunders.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about feedback about energy use for the upcoming Saunders studies, and it got me to thinking about feedback on the macro level. UH Manoa has made some pretty aggressive goals for electricity reduction: 30% reduction by 2012, 50% reduction by 2015 (based on 2003 baseline). As I understand it, the campus now has electricity meters monitoring the connection to HECO, so we should have good data about how much electricity UHM is using. With data on how much electricity UH used in 2003, it should be easy to have a graph that shows how much UH has to reduce energy usage by to meet the two goals. I’d be happy to create such a graph and keep it updated at least monthly, if I had access to the data. Unfortunately, it’s not publically available right now. I think a graphical representation of how far UHM is from these goals (2012 isn’t that far away!) would be helpful in motivating the entire institution to action.

I also realized that the same thing could be done for Oahu and the state of Hawaii as a whole. Hawaii has set goals for the percentage of electricity generated by renewables, and DBEDT is publishing monthly reports on the state’s energy usage. It should be easy to create a graph that shows how we are progressing towards those goals.

I’m still working on my draft intervention comparison tech report. It’s not complete, but will be shortly. I’m also thinking about what my end of semester report should consist of. The intervention tech report could be part of it, perhaps also a trimmed version of my literature review appropriate to the Saunders metering research.

Planned items from last week:

  • Finish draft of intervention comparison chapter
    • not quite done
  • Finish dorm energy competition paper
    • done, a very interesting read
  • Read next paper from revised reading list
    • done, read about Kuckuck. Not as illuminating has I had hoped.

Other accomplishments this week:

  • Worked Saunders booth at Sustainability Fest
  • Provided feedback on CPATH NSF proposal
  • Put intervention document into it’s own tech report (09-12)

Hours worked: 25 (target: 30 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Finish draft of intervention comparison tech report
  • Revise draft based on Philip’s comments
  • Send 09-12 to Dave Nixon
  • Make graph of Hawaii state energy usage

Pointers to work products:

Cool links:

Intervention chapter and Oberlin dorm energy competition

Finally got back on the wagon last week. I started the list of experimental interventions with their literature justifications as a chapter in my proposal, and I’m halfway through the Oberlin dorm energy paper (which is good stuff, very relevant to my research). I’m hoping to finish the first draft of the chapter by next Monday, and move on to the next paper.

Planned items from last week:

  • Start justification document
    • done, outline and introduction written
  • Read a paper from revised reading list
    • in progress

Other accomplishments this week:

Hours worked: 20 (target: 30 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Finish draft of intervention comparison chapter
  • Finish dorm energy competition paper
  • Read next paper from revised reading list

Pointers to work products:

Cool links:

State of the College of Natural Sciences

Just got back from a presentation by Chancellor Hinshaw and Dean Teramura on the State of the College (of Natural Sciences).

The big issue is obviously budget cuts in UHM’s general funds. The legislature is pushing for a $33M cut, which is 13% of our general funds. There are still 2 more weeks of maneuvering at the capitol, but if the cut stays at that level, there will be no choice but to have layoffs for lecturers, temporary faculty, and some administrative staff. Chancellor Hinshaw has been lobbying the legislature to reduce the cuts, and her arguments sound convincing to me: UHM is more important to Hawaii than any university in any other state, and UHM can be a big part of the solution to the economic crisis if it gets sufficient funding.

Interesting point about the graduate assistant salaries: based on some discussions among the Dean’s advisory council, GA stipends have been increased by one step across the University, and GAs in the college are getting 2 steps to stay competitive.

The major theme for dealing with the cuts is to do whatever is possible to minimize the impact on the student learning experience. This means that faculty and staff will have to take on a lot of the burden, such as teaching larger classes less frequently. With layoffs of temporary faculty (and positions vacated by retirement that will go unfilled), faculty may be teaching classes that they are less familiar with.

One interesting point that Chancellor Hinshaw brought up is that when Facilities fixes a leaky roof (apparently there are 37 on campus!!), they are trying to put photovoltaic panels on to get some ongoing fiscal benefit from the work. Interesting to hear, but I haven’t heard of any PV installations on campus that have happened that way.

All in all, it sounded to me like the administration is doing a pretty good job handling a difficult situation.

Move along, nothing to see here :)

Pathetically, there’s no progress to report for last week. I wasn’t really focused after the big push last weekend, and had the next algorithms assignment to work on. Onward and upward.

Planned items from last week:

  • Start justification document
    • not done
  • Read a paper from revised reading list
    • not done

Other accomplishments this week:

  • N/A

Hours worked: trace amounts (target: 30 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Start justification document
  • Read a paper from revised reading list
  • Work on code to massage meter data

Pointers to work products:

  • N/A

Cool links:

  • Nothing this week.

Flu + Algorithms Assignment = no progress

Last week was a total wash: I got a mild case of the flu, and the complexity of my algorithms assignment seemed to increase exponentially the further along I got. Assignment is virtually pau, but the first part of the last assignment is due next Monday (they’re close together because of an extension on the last assignment). Hoping to make some modest headway this week.

Planned items from last week:

  • Start justification document
    • not done
  • Read a paper from revised reading list
    • not done

Other accomplishments this week:

  • Stayed alive :)

Hours worked: trace amounts (target: 30 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Start justification document
  • Read a paper from revised reading list

Pointers to work products:

  • N/A

Cool links:

  • Nothing this week.