Campus Housing Energy Efficiency Retrofit (CHEER) Program

SEI and Quantum Energy Services & Technologies (QuEST) jointly implemented Southern California Edison’s Campus Housing Energy Efficiency Retrofit (CHEER) program on private universities within Southern California Edison’s service territory.

Campus Housing Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program (CHEER)

The CHEER program functions in two-phases, is a climate-friendly, cost effective and persistent energy savings program for California’s colleges and universities.

Phase One
In the first phase, SEI staff provides comprehensive training of student interns and their faculty/staff mentors, and then manages the teams to plan and conduct walk-through lighting audits across campus facilities. As part of the audit process, the students identify and analyze opportunities to retrofit existing lighting and then present their audit findings to campus housing and facilities staff. As they go through the auditing process, the student interns replace incandescent bulbs with the more efficient compact fluorescent lamps, an activity that creates a dialogue with other students around the topic of energy savings.      

Phase Two
In the second phase, technical experts facilitate a comprehensive energy survey and audit report for housing, dining and other facilities on campus, with specific recommendations for energy efficiency and retro-commissioning measures. Data acquired by students is verified and used in the final report provided to campus stakeholders. Long-term savings come from educating students on energy-efficient lifestyle choices including daily practices and consumption options.  

Program Outcomes and Impacts

  • Students receive valuable training and energy project experience
  • Campuses benefit from student and professional efficiency audits, program rebates, and retrofit services
  • SEI’s CHEER program has worked with more than 5,000 students at five California campuses to save over 200,000 kWh of electricity. With the help of students, these campuses saved more than $70,000 in energy costs.
  • At Claremont McKenna College, the CHEER program facilitated student efforts to save enough energy to power approximately 100 homes and to prevent 238 tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere. 

Green Demonstrations 
In addition to student energy audits, SEI worked with university staff and students to design, install, and promote green residence hall projects to educate the entire campus community about sustainable living options and practices. SEI helped create two Green Demonstration models: 

Model #1
At Harvey Mudd College, students used real-time energy feedback equipment to display dorm energy performance data back to dorm residents. Within the context of a month-long dorm energy reduction competition, this program also used the real-time data to encourage energy efficient behaviors. Monitoring electrical meter data allowed the energy savings to be quantified based on residents’ efforts to reduce energy consumption during the competition. The dorm energy reduction competition resulted in Harvey Mudd College saving over $3,000 in energy costs and preventing over 30,000 lbs of CO2 emissions in just one month.

Model #2
At University of Redlands, efforts included retrofitting a residence hall with energy efficient appliances and equipment, a host of sustainable or ‘green’ furniture, wall and floor coverings, and lifestyle products. This demonstration continues to educate university staff, faculty, students and surrounding communities on the benefits, options, and availability for purchasing sustainable products. It also serves as a learning and teaching tool for future retrofit and new construction projects.

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Related SEI Services

- Program Innovation, - Customized Training