Technology to Trim Vending-Machine Waste During Wee Hours

The Physical Plant Department has been working hard to conserve energy on campus. Often it is the small steps that make the biggest difference. Case in point is the introduction of VendingMiser to each of the approximately 80 soda machines scattered across Main Campus with additional 10 soda machines targeted on the newly acquired Trinity Campus. Vending machines run 24-hours a day, seven days a week, with the sole purpose of keeping your drinks cold. Fronts of the machines stay lit to entice buyers. But is anyone buying soda at 4 a.m.? Richard Wolbach, UVM’s Energy Management Engineer, heard the successes that other campuses were having with this new technology and tested it out here. “We quickly realized that UVM could save a lot of money and minimize environmental harm by using the vending miser product,” said Wolbach. “Machines sit idle late at night and on the weekends. There is no need to have compressors and front lights running non-stop at these times.” Annually, UVM’s soda machines consume 299,447 kWh at a cost of $20,961. Installation of vending misers will reduce the consumption to 161, 527 kWh, a 46% energy savings. Cost savings to the university will be $9,655 the first year. Over 5 years, the savings will be $48,275. And, on the environmental side of the equation, one vending miser reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 2,200 lbs. of CO2 each year. Multiply that by the 80 vending misers now on campus and UVM will prevent 176,000 lbs. of CO2 from escaping into our atmosphere. Or, to put this figure into perspective, UVM will save the same amount of CO2 as taking one car off the road for 11,440 days or 110 cars off the road for 3 months. VendingMiserTM is a trademark of Bayview Technology, Inc. of California. The device works by essentially coupling an on/off switch with a motion sensor. A machine powers up when someone approaches within 25-30 feet of it and then powers down when the area surrounding it has been vacant for 15 minutes. Once powered off, the vending miser will monitor the room’s temperature and, based on this measurement, will automatically re-power the vending machine at one to three hour intervals to keep sodas chilled at the manufacturer’s recommended temperature. Because the machine is running less frequently, the vending miser also will save the bottling vendor money on maintenance and repair fees. The bottling vendor has approved the installation of this device for non-perishable products but does not specifically endorse VendingMiser. Richard Wolbach can be contacted for more information at the UVM Physical Plant Department at 656-8213.-Physical Plant Dept.