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Celebration of Service

Pioneering the statewide Smart Grid

Vermont State Colleges help nonprofits slim down energy usage

In 2009, Vermont became the first Smart Grid state, launching an initiative to boost energy conservation and efficiency while creating jobs by implementing the nation’s first statewide Smart Grid with a $69 million federal grant.

The state had to look no further than the IBM Burlington campus for a model – IBM’s biggest Vermont facility had a Smart Grid in place and had been working on decreasing its electricity usage for almost 10 years. During the decade, IBM Burlington chopped its electricity usage by 20 percent, all while production capacity was increasing.

Watching the meter slow down

Through the Managing Energy – Sustaining Our Community initiative, funded by an IBM Centennial Grant, IBM Burlington will partner with Vermont State Colleges to help reduce the energy usage by 5% or more each year of two nonprofits, Vermont Technical College (VTC) and HowardCenter Inc..

“This project will demonstrate how Smart Grid data can be used at the enterprise level to achieve energy efficiency and peak load reduction,” says Janette Bombardier, Director of Site Operations for IBM Burlington, and the applicant for the Centennial Grant. “This project will create awareness and educate Vermonters to create a world-class benchmark for energy management and a more sustainable energy future.”

In order to reduce energy usage over the one-year course of the project, more than 100 IBM volunteers will assist in areas of energy management, project management, construction management, facilities engineering, logistics, communications and more, collaborating with both organizations to implement the elements of IBM’s Energy Management Framework. Portable and installed electric meters will collect data on power usage, trends and seasonality. The data will be used to understand the electrical demand and changes, and to provide feedback and predictions regarding the overall usage reduction goal.

“We firmly believe that the success of this project will raise awareness across the state, and beyond, of the value of Smart Grid data, and the potential for organizations and individuals to reduce their energy footprint and slow the growth curve of energy consumption,” Janette says.

The project will enable Vermont Technical College and HowardCenter Inc. to reduce their operational costs and develop more responsible and sustainable energy use practices. It will also create opportunities for VTC students in education and career development through projects and internships with the college’s new Center for Sustainable Practices – providing Vermont with potential employees with the skill set to help implement the Smart Grid.

IBM is marking its centennial year with a worldwide celebration of volunteer service. Throughout 2011, IBM invites everyone to join our global community of employees, retirees, families and friends as we support the communities where we work, live and learn together.