Facilities Energy Management Audit and Recommendations at Yellowstone National Park (2012)

Client Organization: 
Yellowstone National Park
Client is confirmed: 
Project Location : 
Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)
Summary of Project Idea: 

Pursuant to Executive Order 13514 (October 2009), Yellowstone National Park (YNP) is required to (among other things ) "increase energy efficiency; measure, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from direct and indirect activities; [and] design, construct, maintain, and operate high performance sustainable buildings in sustainable locations."A Further, YNP must "prioritize actions based on a full accounting of both economic and social benefits and costs and shall drive continuous improvement by annually evaluating performance, extending or expanding projects that have net benefits, and reassessing or discontinuing under-performing projects." The Park's environmental impacts are derived largely from the built environment. Residential housing, office space, hotels, visitor centers, water facilities and other structures require substantial amounts of energy to serve their functions. In fact, fully 78% of the Park's operational GHG from 2006 were emitted in support of the built environment. Given these significant impacts, an evaluation of the existing structures is integral to ascertain the greatest areas for project opportunities.

The master's project team set out to gather energy information for a sampling of buildings within the park.  This data was analyzed on a building by building basis to develop behavioral and systems improvement recommendations so that the park can reduce its energy consumption and improve its efficiency. The National Park Service's building planning and development practices were also analyzed to make recommendations on how future buildings and building upgrades can be more energy efficient.  Considerations for how the park can to adapt to climate change were also considered.  Additionally, energy monitoring software was surveyed to develop a recommendation for the park to monitor is energy use more closely.


Skills/Expertise Needed: 

Students need not be fully proficient in building systems, data collection or energy management data systems.  But they must have an interest in learning and an aptitude for working within such systems.  Students will have to be skilled at multi-tasking, communication with YNP staff and an ability to be self-directed and entrepreneurial in working within an ambiguous and bureaucratic environment.  Many of the facilities at YNP date back to the turn of the century, are listed as National Historic Landmarks and are confusing in their orientation and construction.

SEAS Program Areas: 
Sustainable Systems
Professional Career Development Benefits: 

If students have a desire to become experienced in facilities management, green buildings, energy database development and carbon footprint consulting, this project will provide an exceptional platform from which to build their career.  The skills and experience learned here will be of direct benefit to companies and consulting firms that seek to undertake similar tasks. And the project will be completed in the most highly visible, signature Park in the world.

SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Andy Hoffman
Advisor Confirmed: 
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Tyson Timmer, MS, Sustainable Systems
  • Gaurang Sethi, MS/MBA, Sustinable Systems
  • Lindsay Sharpe, MS, Sustinable Systems
  • Morgane Treanton, MS, Sustainable Systems
  • Anne Shishkovsky, MS/MUP, Sustainable Systems
Project Status: 
Past Project