Addressing Dorm Overheating to Reduce Campus Heat Waste
Analyzing Survey Results and Creating a Model to Assess Campus Heating Wastage in Residential Halls at UMass Amherst
The University of Massachusetts Amherst campus has set a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2032. In addition to taking on carbon mitigation strategies, the University needs to minimize current energy demand and waste. A large portion of the campus’s energy demand is used to heat dorm buildings, making this an important area to focus on in terms of energy reduction. We conducted a poll of UMass students and found that 58% of students reported that they were too warm or too hot in their dorms during the winter, and that 67% of students opened their windows during the winter. In some dorms, these values were significantly higher indicating widespread student discomfort due to overheating in dorms. Utilizing the trends established from the survey and indoor and outdoor temperature data, we were able to construct a model of Dwight residential that could determine the percentage of total heat load that could be attributed to residents opening their windows and the resulting heat leakage. This heating excess was then addressed with several solution approaches. We evaluated their potential and return of investment (ROI) for the cost of natural gas used to heat the dorm. We hope that our research would be used to scale up for the rest of the residential buildings with adequate data resulting in a reduction in heat wastage of campus overall and an increase in student comfort.