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Cool Project to Lower Campus Energy Usage

The scale of the UCSD weather-monitoring network is unprecedented.
The scale of the UCSD weather-monitoring network is unprecedented.

UCSD undergraduates have designed, built and deployed a network of five weather-monitoring stations. It will help the university use ocean breezes to cool buildings, identify the sunniest rooftops to expand its solar-electric system, and use water more efficiently in irrigation and in other ways. The network with up to 30 stations is unprecedented in the United States for the density of weather data to be collected. San Diego-area schools and businesses have been invited to make their rooftops available for additional stations to broaden the geographic scope, scientific value, and potential energy savings of the effort."

"At home, I am the person who is always shutting off the lights, trying to save energy," says Mandana Farhadieh, one of the participating students and a bioengineering major. "Getting involved in this project will help me and the university do this on a bigger scale."

Two Jacobs School professors, Jan Kleissl and Paul Linden, and two from the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), Doug Palmer and Bill Hodgkiss, are mentoring Farhadieh and nine other undergraduate students. Wells Fargo & Company, Johnson Controls, the Jacobs School and the UCSD Office of Business Affairs are funding the project. The stations, which are mounted on aluminum tripods, are powered by car batteries and textbook-sized photovoltaic panels. Measurements of building-surface and air temperatures, humidity, rainfall, wind speed and direction, and solar radiation are wirelessly transmitted to a campus computer and displayed in near real-time at http://maeresearch.ucsd.edu/kleissl/demroes.

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