May 30 2008

LucidDesignGroup: Utility / Energy Consumption Dashboards

"We believe information is power" - LucidDesignGroup

Harvard's 5 Cowperthwaite Building Dashboard

LucidDesignGroup specializes in collecting and representing information about the operation of complex building systems. Once the system is installed, data from the building is aggregated into what Lucid terms "Building Dashboards." These Dashboards are accessible through interactive websites or physical kiosk displays and provide a user friendly, interactive way for occupants to understand their building. Dashboards can set up to monitor electricity, water, and heating and cooling energy consumption in real time. More than just giving the kWh, gallons, or BTU usage, the Building Dashboard system can use software to convert consumption directly into dollars. And if dollars do not convince users to change their behaviors, the dashboard can state consumption in ways such as: "equivalent number of light bulbs used, bottles of water, and minutes of shower use." The system also gives real-time weather data and daily forecasts to help occupants predict consumption into the future and maybe plan ahead to take advantage opportunities to consume less.

Building Dashboard graph showing watts per person consumed in each dorm / note options for burgers, light bulbs, and autos

"Your car has a dashboard... Why not your building?"

The system has been installed in a number of universities including buildings at Sidwell Friends School, Oberlin College, Harvard, Elon, St. Mary's College of California, and the University of Vermont to name a few. Corporate clients include Yahoo and Wired Magazine. In the case of Oberlin College, the Building Dashboard was studied for it's possible effect on dormitory resident behavior / energy consumption. This study published by Oberlin College's Lewis Center for Environmental Studies found that "the introduction of feedback, education and incentives resulted in a 32% reduction in electricity use and 3% reduction in water use." The results suggest that a building systems monitoring and information system can have positive effects on users and their consumption of energy and water.

Lucid notes the benefits of Building Dashboard for Schools as:

  • Make buildings teaching tools
  • Launch building energy competitions
  • Enhance research with data downloader
  • Make smart people in 'dumb' buildings
  • Monitor the performance of green technologies
  • Improve LEED ratings

A select number of Dashboards are open to the public. Please visit Harvard's 5 Cowperthwaite and Oberlin College's Campus Resource Monitoring System

For more information on Building Dashboard please visit the LucidDesignGroup website. Click here for a link to the research paper on the effects of building system information on users.

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1 Comment

May 31st, 2008 at 6:00 PM


this is incredible. has it been applied to other building types, such as hospitals or architecture firms?