Carleton's energy facilities heat and cool the buildings, turn on the lights, provide hot showers, and power the labs. These same facilities also generate enormous amounts of data. What temperature is it in Weitz 225C? How much power is being generated by the wind turbines? How much power are we drawing from the grid? How much hot water did Goodhue use in April?
In 2011, Carleton committed publicly to its Climate Action Plan, whose central goal is carbon neutrality for the campus by 2050, with intermediate emissions goals set for 2020, 2025, and 2030. As part of our pursuit of these goals, Carleton has also created a Utilities Master Plan, which involves, among other things, geothermal heat pumps, solar power, and conversion of the campus heating systems from steam to lower-temperature water. One of the first and biggest steps of the Utilities Master Plan will be the installation of a new energy station beneath the new science building after Mudd is demolished this coming fall. The Utilities Master Plan is a long-term investment intended to support responsible management of the campus for a century or more.
Making good on our commitments to the Climate Action Plan is a complicated business, involving human challenges as well as technical challenges. Martha Larson, Carleton's Manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability, works with those challenges every day, and she would like to add some tools to her toolbox.
One such tool would be a mobile app giving people a window into Carleton's sustainability progress. A well-designed and fun-to-use app could give community members a way to view Carleton's real-time and historical energy data, gaining insight into our sustainability efforts. In the best case, such an app would enable Martha and other campus leaders to share our progress and challenges concretely and visually, to support community engagement, problem-solving with contractors, idea-sharing with other colleges, etc.
For this comps project, you will develop one or more such apps, based on data made available through an HTTP-based API from Lucid, Inc's BuildingOS system. The ideal application will provide summary and detailed reports about Carleton's energy use and production, and also give people engaging ways to explore the data. A big part of the job will be to think creatively about features and interactive data visualizations that will draw people into the data, and by extension, into working towards sustainable energy use at Carleton and beyond.
As a rough guide, this project will involve:
There are no formal prerequisites for this project. Ideally, however, this project's team will include:
Note that I am not expecting students on this team to have mobile app development experience.