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Energy Captains
The fellows with a finger on UNH's temperature
By David Wetmore '08

Each and every single unit of heat used in more than 40 buildings by over 10,000 students, faculty, and visitors across the entire campus of UNH is meticulously monitored and controlled within one office of one building by three men.

"It's pretty exciting stuff," says Allan Trombley, an energy conservation and use technician. Trombley, one of the men behind the curtain, is part of a crucial, yet largely unnoticed department that saves UNH millions of dollars each year.

The department's most essential component is a highly advanced computer program called the Continuum, which monitors and controls the use of heat within almost all campus buildings 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Creating this digital world did not happen overnight: BASiX Automation Integrators and UNH began their partnership in 1981. Today there's a software interface, helping the system tell particular heating and cooling systems to either slow down, speed up or shut down, a level of detail that would be impossible for a human to keep track of.

Trombley, director of energy Jim Dombrosk '95G or supervisor Scott Lindquist can sit at their computer screen in the energy office and click on almost any campus building. For example, when they click on the name Congreve—the first Energy Star dorm in the country—an overhead floor plan appears, showing the exact temperature of every single room, hallway, common area and bathroom in the building.

Through motion sensors, the system also shows whether a designated space is occupied. If there is no one in a certain space, heating will slow, or shut down completely depending on the duration of lack of motion.

This level of attention does not go unnoticed. As Eric Morris '09 notes, "Those guys make my chem lab worth the trek over from Woodside. At exactly 2:10 p.m. the room we use in Kingsbury has already been precisely preheated due to its digital set points. It's freaky."

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