DCAS Energy Data Lab
The Energy Data Lab (EDL) was launched in 2012 as a BPL project under sponsorship by the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services Energy Management division (DCAS DEM), with the goal of demonstrating how students of the City’s public university could play a useful role in the City’s energy management efforts.
Originally called the Open Collaborative Lab, the initiative was renamed after the second year to reflect its special focus on energy data as it relates to a validated Measurement and Verification (M&V) program for DEM’s energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction activities in municipal buildings. In 2013, EDL research was folded under the umbrella of BPL’s SIBS Center activities with the hope that our model of municipal-academic partnership can be emulated in other cities undertaking large-scale retrofits.
Led by BPL Deputy Director Honey Berk, the objectives of the EDL program include both direct programmatic contribution to DEM and development of student experiences that contribute to personal career development and the workforce as a whole. From year to year, EDL’s program design is intentionally experimental and open-ended, retaining flexibility to find approaches that will meet agency needs as they are articulated.
The EDL Internship Program
Student interns gain experience in using and interpreting energy data for measurement and verification/documentation of energy savings — skills and methods that complement and supplement the classroom, with real-world application focused on energy efficiency.
Focusing on the specialized focus areas of Commissioning, Building Automation Systems, and Operator Perspectives, students receive expert advice and guidance from key BPL partners, including Texas A&M University’s Energy Systems Laboratory (TAMU ESL), KGS Buildings, Pacific Northwest National Labs, and Portland Energy Conservation Inc. EDL interns are exposed to the field of energy management and skills such as:
- Utility bill data analysis
- Measurement and verification of energy savings
- Complex data analysis techniques – statistical models
- Reading energy audits and retro-commissioning reports and understanding energy conservation
measures and their impacts
- Understanding HVAC, lighting and other building systems
A number of EDL interns also focus on developing skills in programming, with languages such as Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), R and Python; and in data visualization, with applications like Tableau. Program skills extend beyond the technical, with the understanding that communication and other skills areas are essential for learning and practice. To this end, interns also receive instruction and practical experience in:
- Independent research
- Oral and written communication
- Formal presentation of work
- Collaboration and sharing of information in a team-based context
- Leadership skills