Category Archives: Energy Consumption in the Dormitories

Group 4 Project Plan

Group 4 Project Plan


Because there are only two of us, we will be collaborating throughout the entire project. We will be completing the data collection together, taking turns measuring and recording each appliance’s energy use and monthly cost. Post data collection, we will divide the recorded data evenly and calculate the cost of powering each of the appliances for an entire semester. We will also work together to complete the rest of the calculations, double checking each other’s work to ensure that any conclusions we end up with are supported by data that is as accurate as possible.

Together we will then analyze our data and see in what ways seniors can save costs by eliminating or limiting the use of certain appliances (such as toaster oven vs. microwave). We will then illustrate this in a simple energy saving plan/diagram.

List of equipment and supplies: –

Watts Up Pro

TH appliances (listed below)


Vassar Expenses via Student Accounts


Microsoft Excel


Science/technology: –

We will be using Watts Up? Pro to measure the monthly average cost (in $) and energy consumption (in watt hours) of each appliance typically found in a TH. We will then use Microsoft Excel to determine the total cost and energy consumption of these appliances over the course of a semester (four months). Due to the fact that some appliances remain plugged in at all times and yet are only “in use” occasionally (e.g. microwave, toaster, floor lamps, etc.), we will be taking two sets of measurements for each of these appliances: one with the appliance just plugged in, and one with it actually in use. We will then be determining about how long each of these appliances is actually in use (versus just plugged in) per day, and we will use this detailed information to calculate a more accurate monthly expenditure and energy consumption for the personal appliances in a Vassar TH. 

Expectations: –

We expect there to be a variety of ways that we as students can save costs and energy consumption. We expect that some appliances (such as microwaves and minifridges) will consume much more energy than others (and be more costly as a result), which can inform our decisions related to appliance use at Vassar as well as in the future when we will be paying our own electricity bills. In addition, we expect that Vassar students receive a pretty fair deal with regards to our flat rate housing costs as we would probably end up having to pay more if we payed for the specific amount of energy we consume each semester.

Activity plan: –

 We will calculate the cost as well as the energy consumption (in watt hours) for all of the personal appliances (did not come with the TH) of one TH for a semester. The Watts Up? Pro will give us the monthly average cost (in $) of using each appliance, and we will multiply this number by 4 to figure out what it would cost to power each appliance for a semester (4 months).

We will meet at TH 108 on Friday, February 14 and together we will go from room to room and record the monthly cost as well as the energy consumption of each personal appliance in the room. We will exclude all appliances that are fixtures in every household such as the main refrigerator, the overhead light fixtures, the heating, and the stove/oven (including light & fan). Although we are aware that these appliances contribute to the overall energy consumption and expenses of each TH, we are considering them to be part of the fixed house expenses (such as rent and water) because they come with every house, and it is also not possible to use the Watts Up? Pro to get calculations for these appliances. Our goal is to focus on the total energy consumption and costs of the appliances that we, as Vassar students, bring in to the THs and for that reason we will only be calculating the electronics we bring. We will consider appliances such as the stove, refrigerator and overhead lighting, as well as the heat, a baseline in cost and energy consumption that should have little variability between houses.

Lastly, we will compile our data and organize it into a simple energy-saving diagram. This will display the relative costs and energy consumption of the appliances measured, informing readers of possible energy-saving and cost-saving techniques (substituting some appliances for other less costly ones) for the future.

List of appliances: –


– Microwave

  • * Plugged in:
  • * On:

– Waffle Iron

– Rice cooker

– Toaster/ Toaster Oven

  • * Plugged in:
  • * On:

– Kettle

– Coffee maker (can vary)

  • * Plugged in:
  • * On:

– Cake mixer

– Blender

Living/Dining Room:

– Mini fridge(s)

– Lamp(s)

  • * Plugged in:
  • * On:

– Stereo

  • * Plugged in:
  • * On:

– Christmas lights

– Television

  • * Plugged in:
  • * On:

– Game consoles

  • * Plugged in:
  • * On:

 Bedroom (5):

– Christmas lights

– Computer charger

  • * Plugged in:
  • * In use:

– Tablet Charger

  • * Plugged in:
  • * In use:

– Phone charger

  • * Plugged in:
  • * In use:

– iHome/speakers/alarm

  • * Plugged in:
  • * In use:

– Iron

– Mini fridge (again)

– Desk/floor lamp(s) (again)

  • * Plugged in:
  • * On:

– Fan

  • * Plugged in:
  • * On:

Bathroom (2):

– Hair dryer

– Electric toothbrush (charger)

– Curling iron

– Electric Razor

Group 4 Project Abstract

Our group will be investigating the daily energy consumption of the average TH as well as the corresponding cost. We will do so by measuring the watts of energy the various appliances found around your typical TH use, and the associated expense, using Watts up Pro. We will then calculate what percentage of this cost we cover in our senior housing fees. We believe it will be interesting to see how lenient, or not lenient, the college is in providing their seniors a flat housing fee as opposed to charging an electric bill.

group 5 conclusions

Results and Conclusions:

After calculating the average power consumption of the necessary devices (lamp, fan, space heater, water heater) in Watts, our next step was to assess the prevalence of these devices in the dormitories in question. We surveyed 10 random rooms in each building, attempting to identify a distribution of rooms of varying sizes (both singles and doubles) in each building. We attempted to survey a distribution of rooms of equivalent sizes in each building. Our survey asked students to assess their average daily usage for each device over the month of November.

After our survey, we compiled the aggregate device usage hours for each device. Additionally, we multiplied those usage hours by the average power consumption rate (based on our findings from the WattsUpPro) for that device. We compiled all of that data to find the total power consumption for the pertinent devices of those students. These are our results:


Lamp power consumption: 114hours x 14.4W = 1641.6Wh

Fan power consumption: 27hours x 39.2W = 1058.2Wh

Space heater power consumption: 55hours x 1460W = 80,300Wh

Water heater power consumption: 1hour x 669.6W = 669.6Wh

Total power consumption: 83,669.4Wh/day


Lamp power consumption: 65hous x 14.4W = 936Wh

Fan power consumption: 90hours x 39.2W = 3528Wh

Space heater power consumption: 0hours

Water heater power consumption: .92hours x 669.6W = 613.8Wh

Total power consumption: 5,077.8Wh/day

As we can easily see, the power consumption of climate regulating devices in Lathrop House is far greater than that of Davison House. In fact, it was roughly 16.5 times greater. This confirms our initial expectation that power consumption in Lathrop House (the older dormitory) would be greater than that of Davison house.

We should note that the vast majority of the difference in power consumption derived from the use of space heaters in Lathrop. We might assume that this number derives from the older, and probably inferior, insulation in that building compared to that of Davison. We believe that a more exhaustive survey of the buildings would provide support for the significance of this trend.

It is also notable, however, that the usage of fans was more prevalent in Davison than it was in Lathrop. Perhaps we can surmise that the same insulation that necessitates so few space heaters in Davison also relates to a lack of ventilation in that building.

In summary, the average power consumption rates of climate controlling devices were far greater in Lathrop House than in Davison House. We believe that it is likely that the older nature of the Lathrop House was at least partly responsible for this phenomenon. The recent renovation of Davison will likely necessitate far less climate controlling device usage in that dorm in the recent future.

Group Five: Data

We studied the power consumption of four electronic devices popular among students. We used Watts up Pro and logger pro to study power consumption of the water heater, lamps, fans and space heaters. We collected the data paying in mind the variations in power consumption, for example, we studied the power consumption when the fan was on high, low and medium in relation to the room conditions. This was to help us estimate the average power consumption depending on the conditions of the different types of rooms.

We made questionnaires that will help us determine the number of students using these devices and others that we have not mentioned.


Power Consumption Data Table

Group 5- Project Plan

Updated Abstract: Our goal is to assess the difference in energy usage (in non-hard wired devices only) in the student population of a new dorm building and an old dorm building. We want to know if a newer building, with more efficient lighting, heating/ventilation and insulation, requires fewer additional energy consuming devices, such as lamps, fans, and space heaters on the part of students, than an old dorm with poor lighting, heating/ventilation, and insulation. By analyzing this data, we will be able to assess the effects of building condition on the daily energy consumption of the students living in the building. This data, potentially paired with overall energy consumption of the entire building, could provide insight into the ways in which older buildings are less energy efficient.

Roles/ Activity Plan:

Steffi and Jordan will check out the WattsUpPro and generate preliminary Watt usage amounts for all relevant electronic devices. (i.e. fans, space heaters, lamps of various sizes, hot water heaters, televisions, game consoles, refrigerators,  microwaves ect.) As they survey, we will use the WattsUpPro to assess misc. devices. (11.15.11)

  • ·All three of us will generate a questionnaire for applicants on daily device energy usage. (We will correspond via email to complete by 11.18.11)
  • ·Steffi and Jordan will survey 10 students in each of the two dorms. We will use identical (or close to identical) rooms from Davison and Lathrop. Those two dorms are identical except that one was renovated two years ago, and the other was last renovated in the 70s. (11.19-20.11)
  • ·Neal will complete all data analysis and do the write up. He will look for trends that differentiate the building’s general energy consumption. (Complete as soon as project data is available)
  • ·Jordan will correspond with the administration to acquire the necessary data on building schematics and energy usage. (He will send emails immediately, hopefully responses will be rapid.)


We will be using the WattsUpPro to calculate energy usage by Watt. Energy and energy conservation are the driving scientific ideas behind our project. We will study the effect of building construction and dorm culture on energy usage.

Expected Outcomes:

We anticipate greater energy usage in non-hard wired devices among students living in the older dorm building. We expect that the infrastructure of the newer building (lights, heating/ventilation, and insulation), will necessitate fewer non-hard wired devices among students.


Our goal is to assess the energy usage from electronic devices of students living in the Vassar Dormitories. We will first assess the various energy usages of common devices with a Watts Up Pro. Then we will randomly select dorm rooms from every hall and survey the occupants about the devices they use. We will use the Watts Up Pro to calculate energy usage of miscellaneous devices as we conduct our survey. Any discrepancies in energy usages between dorms will emerge from our data.