Cardinal Comfort Program Run by R&DE Interns Reduces Stanford's Hot Water Usage

Thursday, May 28, 2020

This past winter, Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) kicked off a new Cardinal Comfort campaign with the goal of reducing hot water used for space heating by 10%, while keeping students comfortable in their residences and dining halls. The Cardinal Comfort team consisted of four student interns – Haobin Tang, Ryan Sheppard, John Whiting, and Amy Kouch – who are studying data science, engineering, and product design.

Haobin and Ryan studied the relationship between indoor, outdoor, and hot water set point temperatures and how they change with different building types. They utilized advanced indoor air temperature sensors and real time data to make daily and weekly adjustments with R&DE's maintenance department. Amy and John tackled assessing student comfort, tripling the amount of feedback collected in any year from students through the use of an online form, work orders submitted, and "Happy or Not" machines that allow students to walk in their residence and select whether they are cold, warm, hot, or perfect.

From September until the shelter in place order began in March, the team saved 10.56% in hot water usage across R&DE, about 4 million kbtu. That’s the equivalent to charging 105,705 smart phones!