Dean Ouellete, Energy & Technology Manager at Middlebury
1. What is the role of the Energy & Technology Manager?
Provide technical support for campus energy planning, production, consumption, and efficiency. Provide hands on management & programming of building and central plant control systems, and support for mechanical/electrical trades involved with these systems. Manage relevant projects. Complement the Facilities Services Department management team with the review, development, and practical implementation of potential alternative energy sources in support of the College’s 2016 Carbon Neutrality Initiative.
2. What’s a recent example of how you’ve helped Middlebury College conserve energy on a large scale?
The air conditioning in Bicentennial Hall uses steam for the chillers that produce the chilled water for the building. With some easy to implement control changes we were able to change the way in which the units start/stop. These control changes have saved the college approximately $250,000 in #6 fuel oil savings a year.
3. What changes would like to see happen at the college that could have the greatest impact on reducing energy consumption?
I would like to see people keep their windows closed during the heating/cooling seasons. A lot of energy is used to heat/cool these buildings and to bring fresh outside air in to breath. We heat that air up more efficiently with heat exchangers built into the air handlers. To open a window is a waste.
I am working on collecting more data from our buildings to understand when we do implement a change, exactly what that impact is.
4. What’s the best part of your job?
Having the feeling that I can really help to make a difference in how Middlebury uses and conserves energy.
5. How do you conserve energy in your day-to-day life?
Besides shutting things off that are not needed around my house, I drive a small car to work instead of my truck at 1/3 the fuel use. Hang clothes out to dry instead of using a dryer. We also have solar hot water and solar electric power, but that is energy production, not conservation. It is good to remind folks about the difference.
6. What’s your favorite energy saving tip?
Shut things off when they are not needed. Every person must also help decide what a “need” is and what a “want” is.
Every week we will feature a new Be Bright Energy Expert at Middlebury— a member of the Middlebury community who plays a key role in managing and conserving energy and educating the campus about energy use.
Energy choices are, while obviously technological, also thoroughly social. How societies produce and consume energy is intimately tied to the function and organization of not only ecological but also social, political, and economic systems at scales ranging from one village to the whole planet. Energy is vital to the success of modern societies, the smooth functioning of the global economy, and the day-to-day lives of the world’s inhabitants. It is one of the largest sources of wealth on Earth and the driver of some the planet’s gravest risks.