School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham
Energy audits led by students can improve the research and problem-solving skills of students. Students can also familiarise themselves with new technologies and gadgets used for monitoring and measuring energy consumption. Their employability can also be enhanced by the fact that the students’ research subjects could also be their future work providers – simultaneously turning the action research projects into indirect internships.
Before audit projects are organised and carried out by the students, risk assessments and ethics forms should be prepared and signed by the students. Additionally, if the research projects are prepared jointly by students and other parties the intellectual property issues should be resolved before the start of the projects.
Both quantitative (metering) and qualitative methods (e.g. interviews, surveys, energy diaries) can be used for the energy audits. Students should be familiarised with and trained to use the devices that they are expected to use during their research such as plug load meters, ibuttons and thermal cameras. More information about these devices can be found at: http://www.measurementsystems.co.uk/Miniature_Temperature_Loggers/ and http://www.predictive-maintenance.com/energy.html. Dr. Sarah Darby (University of Oxford) has prepared also prepared a report on metering energy consumption that can be found at: http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/research/energy/downloads/smart-metering-report.pdf.
See videos of Birmingham University students describing the energy audits that they undertook: