Students at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) are using temperature and relative humidity data loggers designed by Onset in a hands-on green construction project. The project, part of GNTC Residential Energy Efficiency Technology program, is training students in energy auditing, combustion testing, and retrofitting existing homes to improve efficiency. “The data loggers are collecting data every six hours in the two test houses," says Donny Holmes, program director and instructor of construction management. "One of the houses is built similar to the majority of houses in the US. The other house is an EarthCraft House and was built under new green building and energy efficiency standards. The data loggers will be able to visually provide proof to many contractors, building inspectors, homeowners, etc. that building with energy efficiency in mind is really the most beneficial way to build.”
According to Holmes, the EarthCraft house features a crawlspace sealed with a 26-mil vapor barrier. The walls are insulated, and the space has no ventilation except for a dehumidifier. In the standard-construction house, the crawlspace is vented, has minimal vapor barrier, and humidity levels are expected to be very high compared to the levels in the EarthCraft House. Students are installing Onset HOBO UX100 data loggers in the crawlspace of each house to track temperature and humidity levels over the course of a year, and provide a better understanding of how each construction technique performs.
Analyzing the data will help students identify energy efficiency gains realized with up-to-date green building practices. “These data loggers will be a huge part of this ongoing project," Holmes says. "They will provide the needed data that we can share with many others to prove energy efficiency and that building this way is just smart." In addition to the HOBO UX100, Onset offers a range of data loggers to help energy auditors and facility managers track building performance and identify potential areas for improvement. One model, the MX1101 (left) features Bluetooth technology so users can configure and monitor the device with a smartphone, rather than taking readings manually. Monitoring the data over the course of even just a couple of weeks, can help users identify areas that may be prone to mold growth, or help fine-tune thermostat settings to improve overall comfort.
Other available devices that track space occupancy and lights being turned on and off are ideal for commercial property managers that want to save energy. Identifying when certain areas of a building aren't being used can help managers set back thermostats and adjust lighting when areas of a building are vacant.