Campus as a Lab kicked off on May 20th with a Spring Hackathon, where a packed room in the Saieh Hall for Economics heard about UChicago’s current energy procedures and challenges, then split into small teams and worked with real data on campus buildings. The first piece of a year-long program including three hackathons and a grand challenge, the event prompted attendees to start exploring the data and thinking about potential solutions to reduce the university’s energy budget.
Orientation to Energy Use on Campus
Friday, May 20, 4:30-10:30p
Saieh Hall for Economics,
1160 E 58th St FOOD AND BEVERAGES PROVIDED
“We are one of the larger consumers in the city, so the your work can have a significant impact on energy consumption,” said Provost Eric Isaacs in his introductory remarks. “The amount we spend on energy is about $40 million a year. You will help us not only reduce greenhouse gases, you will help the University reinvest that money in the academic infrastructure.”
After sessions on energy data, visualization, and how consumption is tracked at campus buildings, attendees formed groups and filled up on snacks for three hours of hands-on hacking. Using a dataset specially prepared for the event -- containing over 8 million rows of data on energy usage for 114 buildings on campus -- teams combed through the numbers to find new insights and ideas for future development.
Groups identified anomalies in the data that Facilities had not previously noticed, and recommended numbers they would like to see added to the dataset, such as the age of each building, its occupancy, the daily usage of natural gas versus electricity, and the costs of different types of energy improvements.