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  An Energy-Monitoring System for Stanford University's Leslie Shao-ming Sun Field Station
    by John Scofield, Associate Professor of Physics
     

 My interest in the Lewis Center is well known in Oberlin due to numerous letters I have written to The Oberlin Review and, most recently, an article I wrote for the Oberlin Alumni Magazine. But less is known about the professional work that formed the basis for these letters. Since the Lewis Center was completed in January 2000, I have continually monitored the energy flows into and out of the building, and have documented the building's design history. Building upon the class energy audit, I constructed a mathematical model for the building and performed numerical simulations to project the amount of energy the building is expected to consume.

This work resulted in two peer-reviewed articles in engineering journals. "First-Year Performance for the Roof-Mounted, 45-kw PV-Array on Oberlin College's Adam Joseph Lewis Center," a paper co-authored with David Kaufman '03, was presented in May 2002 at the 29th annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Photovoltaic Specialists Conference in New Orleans and was subsequently published in the conference proceedings.

The second paper, "Early Energy Performance for a Green Academic Building," presents my thermal analysis of the building and energy data for the first 24 months of occupancy. This paper was presented in June 2002, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and was subsequently published in ASHRAE Transactions.

My work on the Lewis Center has been positively received outside Oberlin, particularly by those engaged in building research. For instance, architects at Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics have expressed interest, as have members of the Building Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. In early October I spoke at the Political Economic Research Center's annual symposium for journalists, delivering a lecture titled "What Works–And What Doesn't Work–For the Environment."

In the summer of 2002 I received a call from Dr. Philippe Cohen, administrative director of Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, a 1200-acre tract of protected land in the middle of Silicon Valley just five miles west of the Stanford campus. The university had recently completed construction of a green building at Jasper Ridge, and having learned of my work on the Lewis Center, Dr. Cohen invited me to submit a proposal to design and install an energy-monitoring system for this building. Ironically, I was being given the opportunity to do for Stanford University work similar to that performed by NREL for Oberlin College.

The Leslie Shao-ming Sun Field Station (right) is a 10,000-square-foot, single-story building that provides office, teaching, and research space for Stanford University students and faculty working at Jasper Ridge. Designers of the field station sought to minimize the environmental impact of both its construction and operation. The building makes maximum use of sunlight for both lighting and heating and boasts a 22-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) array on its roof for generating electricity. The building is described in the recent issue of Solar Today.

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