Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in the US and Dominion inked a partnership deal to use the VCU School of Engineering's West Hall as a five-year test site for efficient energy technologies and research as a micro-grid project.

The deal calls for the use of Dominion experts, VCU engineering faculty and facilities management personnel and third-party products and services to gather and share power-consumption data.

VCU said the project will make continuous, real-time energy adjustments to the building, lights and equipment to save energy and reduce energy costs by $20,000, or 4% annually.

VCU and Dominion, through its Alternative Energy Solutions group, will split the $500,000 cost of the project, which includes the installation of hardware, control systems and solar panels to enable both parties to gather voltage data and analyze energy volume, timing, noise and cleanliness.

VCU’s Facilities Management staff will install 230 portable voltage monitors from Dominion’s technology partners to manage electrical usage and reduce peak power consumption.