Saving Energy for Small Schools
A lot of superintendents, maintenance directors, and information technology professionals at small schools see large electric and gas bills throughout the year. I know at my home I watch the thermostat as much as I watch my three kids. Now multiply that bill by the number of buildings on campus… It gets expensive.
The good news is that HVAC control systems have the ability to reduce cost by 30% or more with relatively little investment.
But first, you should know what an HVAC system actually is. Short for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, HVAC is used to refer to the mechanical systems which heat, cool, filter and control humidify of the air in a space to maintain occupant comfort or prevent damage to equipment or property from exposure to extreme environmental conditions. Components of HVAC systems can include air handlers, ventilation systems, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, chillers, boilers, and heat exchangers in large commercial systems as well as smaller DX (direct expanding) and heat pump systems used in homes. Controls for your HVAC system allow you to schedule when your systems are on and off, adjust set-point limits, and so on. Think of your thermostat at home. You can probably program it to kick on and off throughout the week, depending on interior and exterior temperatures. An HVAC controls system gives you that same capability just on a much larger scale.
So how can an HVAC controls system lower your bills?
Last summer I visited a school to help with some security consulting and noticed (while school was out) that six out of ten classrooms had the air conditioning running. I asked the IT director why the A/C was running while nobody was on campus. She told me they didn’t have any idea it was on in the first place, much less how long it had been running. When you’re paying to air condition an empty room, you’re losing money. However — with the proper HVAC control systems in place, you can be sure that your HVAC system doesn’t run any more than it needs to.
Most of us do not go on summer vacation and leave the air conditioning at the house set to 68 degrees. Why does a school district do that? The answer: most don’t have the capability to easily control or schedule when their system should be on or off.
Controlling an HVAC system can be as simple as having a workstation to schedule multiple A/C units. However, installing a complete building automation system to control all aspects of the district like lighting, IT closets, and food freezers would increase savings even more. Ener-Tel has the ability to save districts much needed funds.
With funding for schools and universities decreasing each year, it is important to invest in these money-saving technologies to ensure longterm savings. Just imagine having a $1,000,000 electric and natural gas bill reduced by 30%. Now imagine how much a small school could accomplish with an extra $300,000.
Invest a little upfront, save a ton in the long run.