Achieving Energy Savings and Awareness With an Intelligent Campus Program

Anna Hoenmans, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Celeste Cizik, Group14 Engineering

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory operates as a living laboratory by implementing strategies and technologies in its facilities and studying the adoption and effectiveness through participation by campus staff. By utilizing the Intelligent Campus Program as both an environment and energy informatics platform, NREL fosters situational awareness, engagement, and understanding of energy accountability among lab staff and visitors. To sustain exceptional performance the Intelligent Campus team works towards a low carbon economy campus by integrating multiple capabilities including energy and water management, energy data analysis, high performance buildings, and more. Energy and water management can be a challenge in a campus environment. The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 required that federal government agencies track energy use of covered facilities. This drove the installation of a robust meter network on the NREL campus and new systems to monitor the energy consumed. NREL incorporates btu meters (heating and cooling) and electrical submetering in main laboratory facilities that are categorized in plug, hvac, process and lighting loads, to determine where the energy goes. In addition to EISA, two additional drivers mandate an emphasis on energy accountability 1) Executive Order goals for energy intensity that is reported through the Consolidated Energy Data Report and Site Sustainability Plan and 2) Guiding Principles for High Performance Buildings. In addition to metering hardware, NREL has deployed a central monitoring system to evaluate data from both the energy meters and the Building Automation System (BAS). One goal of the monitoring software is to have Energy Use Intensities (EUIs) for all buildings readily available and updated in real time. This will allow the campus to continuously benchmark buildings and identify opportunities for improvement. Additionally, this will allow the campus to be a testbed for operational and laboratory changes that impact energy use. NREL's Energy Management Program has been active since the FY00 and has reduced energy consumption by 54% when comparing the NREL campus FY03 EUI baseline of 258 kBtu/sf to FY16 EUI of 118 kBtu/sf. This presentation will provide an overview of the Intelligent Campus Program including the technologies implemented. The campus has also implemented a software based monitoring system for both the building automation system and energy metering. The software provides vast amounts of information on equipment operation and energy consumption along with analytics to automatically detect operational issues. An operations and maintenance perspective will be provided on how to turn this information into action.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify strategies to manage energy at the campus level
  • Assist with selection of hardware and software for energy monitoring and analytics
  • Utilize data to benchmark and assess changes in energy use
  • Drive change in operations and maintenance practices


Anna Hoenmans is a Professional Engineer and Sr. Mechanical Engineer for the Site Operations department at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). She has worked at NREL for over 16 years and as a Mechanical Engineer Consultant for 5 years. At NREL, Anna has performed in-house energy audits, energy projects and participated in retro-commissioning projects at NREL. Anna has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Celeste Cizik is a Professional Engineer and Team Leader at Group14 Engineering overseeing Existing Building and Monitoring Based Commissioning Services. She has over 14 years of experience in building energy engineering including retro-commissioning, energy analysis, and mechanical system design. She has conducted large retro-commissioning projects for laboratories utilizing analytical software. Celeste has a degree in Architectural Engineering and an MBA from the University of Colorado.


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