DU’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and its Sustainability Committee partnered over winter break to install energy efficient heat monitors, called eCubes, in various refrigeration units located around campus in an effort to decrease the school’s energy use.

It is expected that DU will save roughly 50,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity after the installation of the eCube.

“The eCubes are a great move in the right direction for the green side of campus,” said Jordan Loyd, chair of the USG Sustainability Committee.

The usage of the 18 eCubes on campus – installed in Centennial Halls, Driscoll North, the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, Nelson Hall and Nagel Hall – will translate to a yearly savings of roughly $4,800 in electricity, according to Tim Otto, president of Green Energy Solutions, Inc., which installed the sensors.

In two years, this savings will equate to a return of investment in over two years, since the total cost for installing the eCubes was $10,300. USG paid $6,000 for the units, while the Sustainability Committee covered the remaining fees.

“There are not many solutions in the green marketplace that can deliver that volume of savings for a relatively low upfront cost,” said Otto.

ECubes serve as temperature mimicking sensors and may prevent much equipment failure, according to NSF International, a public health and safety company.

The eCubes may be fitted to the temperature sensor or the thermostat sensor. The more outlets are connected to the refrigeration unit, the more eCubes are necessary. Temperature readings for these refrigerators are based on the circulating air temperature within the unit.

When the units are opened, the cold air escapes or warmer, outside air enters the refrigeration unit, disrupting the accuracy of the temperature readings as they relate to the food being refrigerated.

ECubes work to correct this discrepancy, as they “reflect the temperature of food under refrigeration conditions, and warm more quickly than food products upon equipment failure,” according to NSF.

The eCubes create longer periods of refrigeration on- and off-cycles, as well as lower temperatures established without heat induced defrost cycles and the minimization of noise.

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