new water meter assembly installed
Installing new meters is no simple task. Skyline College’s new water meter took multiple days to prepare and install.

Buildings across campus are constantly working to supply all of us with fresh air, heat as appropriate, and the appropriate amount of light. Pumps, motors, fans and other systems are all programmed to efficiently and effectively keep buildings safe and comfortable. These critical services require a lot of energy.  Unfortunately the Facilities team can only guess at how much energy each building uses.

You might be wondering why there is not more certainty about where our energy is being used.  The answer is that Skyline College, like many College campuses, is metered as a whole. Historically, individual buildings have not been metered. That is, until now.

Currently San Mateo County Community College District, in partnership with Schneider Electric, is installing an advanced Facility Management System (FMS). The FMS consists of hardware and software that, as it nears completion later in 2016, will increasingly help building operators and users understand and see energy issues in near real-time. Not only does the FMS present a wonderful opportunity for shifts in building and energy management, it also allows for building users to see, and thus positively influence, energy use patterns.

water and gas meters within fence area
Hardware to collect data from a water meter is secured alongside a PG&E meter interface.

One of the most exciting elements of this project is the ability for the campus to interact with the new system – a major asset in turning Skyline College into a living laboratory. The possibilities are endless but one can imagine a situation in which psychology students might study the behavioral impacts of having information about energy usage. Mean-while statistics students might find exciting efficiency opportunities by examining data derived from the system.  Communications students might find opportunities to tell the story of energy and water use on campus, while students at the Center for Sustainable Construction may find exciting ways to expand their knowledge of residential systems to commercial applications.

Be on the look-out for building energy dashboards that help you see how much energy is being consumed in your building in late 2016.

To find out more about SMCCCD Sustainability Initiatives please visit:

Article by Joe Fullerton