Sustainability on Campus

As part of a current pilot program focused on sustainability, some students in Walton Hall are using devices from Keewi Inc. that plug into conventional electrical outlets.

Since January, six students on the first floor of Walton Hall have been tracking their energy usage through devices that plug into their outlets.

The semester-long pilot program is a collaboration between A&M Residence Life and Keewi Inc., which created and provided the devices. With the Keewi app, students can monitor the amount of energy each of the plugs use per day, month or year. Users can also turn the power off on the outlets via the Keewi app and set schedules to turn on devices at specific times.

The app is designed with gameplay elements so students can compete with each other to use the least amount of energy. Each individual also has the option to answer daily questions about energy sustainability and conservation. Participants move an animated penguin across rushing water by creating a frozen path with each correctly answered question.

Residence Life coordinator Brandon Carlson began the program after receiving a grant from the Aggie Green Fund. Carlson said he originally planned to use programmable power strips, but the Keewi technology is much more straightforward and intuitive.

“Right now what [Keewi] is doing is a retrofit,” Carlson said. “They take an adapter that has wireless communication technology built in, and they plug it into a standard wall outlet. Then whatever items you want to plug in, you plug in through the adapter. That’s what controls the load.”

Keewi Inc. co-founder and chief operating officer Hedi Razavi created Keewi in January of 2016 with her co-founder, Jennifer Tsau, to help businesses manage their power usage. Razavi has worked with the San Francisco International Airport, Levi’s Stadium and several universities. She said the devices track the number of kilowatt hours that students are using and which devices are using up that energy.

“In the context of the TAMU deployment that we currently have, we’re looking at somewhere around 36 different types of appliances,” Razavi said. “We collect information on what types of appliances are they, whether its a laptop or a monitor versus a dehumidifier.”

General studies freshman and Walton Hall resident advisor Thomas Land has been involved with the project since the start of the semester and competes as a member of the Madagascar Team against his fellow Keewi users on Team Eco-Ags. Land said the Keewi technology has created a version of sustainability for this generation.

“Keewi is helping pioneer this generation’s energy usage and conservation,” Land said. “They are able to change the way that this generation sees our climate and the energy that we put out that affects that.”

As for Residence Life’s plans after this semester, Carlson said it’s feasible that the Keewi devices could eventually be implemented campus-wide, and they will likely expand into an entire floor of a dorm in the next year.

“We’re hopeful that, if the feedback is positive and we’re getting good engagement from the students and saving money on energy consumption in the halls, that this is something that we could roll out as soon as possible,” Carlson said.

For more information on Keewi Inc., visit keewi-inc.com.

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