Dalhousie University, Studley Campus Energy Audit Killam Computer Labs: Are they a waste of energy?
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The purpose of this research study is to advance Dalhousie University’s sustainability initiatives related to energy usage and consumption. Recently, the number of computers and computer usage has increased significantly on university campuses. This report addresses the energy usage of computer labs in the Killam Memorial Library, which is located on Studley campus. The computer labs involved in the study include the Learning Commons on the main floor and the Learning Commons on the second floor of the library. The results from this study provide recommendations for future measures that could be taken in order to reduce energy inefficiencies associated with these computer labs on campus. A quantitative methodological approach was used when conducting the research study. In order to measure the energy use of computer labs, the research team conducted an energy audit. The energy audit involved probabilistic observations. Observations were recorded to indicate the state of both the computer and the monitor. Observations took place for a week throughout various times of the day. The hourly data collection period times for Monday and Friday were 9am-12pm, and 5pm-8pm. The collection periods for Sunday were 11am-2pm, and 7pm-11pm. The different computer states recorded were on, asleep, or off. The state of the computers revealed patterns of computer usage in the Killam Memorial Library. The results of the observational study displayed that computers are used consistently throughout the day. However, many computer users fail to initiate power management strategies such as turning computers off or using sleep mode when computers are not in use. The recommendations include implementing two policies that would create more energy efficient computer labs in the Killam Library: (1) to have a set timer for computers to either enter sleep mode or turn off at certain times of the day, and (2) to automatically initiate sleep mode when computer users log-off. Theses policies are recommendations for Dalhousie University to adopt in order to reduce energy inefficiencies of the Killam Memorial Library computer labs.