Guidelines and PoliciesThe first critical component of a successful energy program begins with establishing energy guidelines that are supported by your administration and Board of Education.
EduCon Energy can help you review, (and revise if necessary) a school board policy specifically for energy conservation. We will work closely with the facilities and district leadership to draft accompanying energy guidelines that will be communicated to principals and all staff which clearly state how the district’s building systems will be set to operate. Once established, these guidelines must be embraced and supported from the top down. This commitment shows all employees the district is serious about supporting strategies to reduce energy consumption, maintain comfort and save money.
Facilities and maintenance department staff members must be involved in the energy program to insure success. We depend on routine communications between the Energy Managers and the Director of Maintenance, Department Supervisors and other areas such as Technology and Food Services. Our experience suggests that a dedicated controls person is a necessary part of the energy management team. Managing building automation systems for school day comfort, after-school activities schedules and weekend events is critical to the success of the program. This effort must be consistent and reliable.
In a similar way, we report results to encourage participation by custodial staff in each building. It is critical to the success of the program that solid relationships are built with these important members of the school staff who are responsible for a proper evening shutdown of their facilities. We find that communications and collaboration makes a difference.
EduCon Energy cannot reduce energy consumption in your school district alone. We guide the process but you and your staff do the work. We have found that when we help you stay focused and encourage creative thinking, the results happen. We know the reason this program will be successful is because of your efforts. As results are realized, we will recognize and promote your staff as they take ownership of the progress and results of this program. Doing so provides a sense of camaraderie among employees as we encourage and celebrate well-earned accomplishments by your team.
Past Energy DataMonthly utility invoices are routinely entered into an energy accounting system that provides detailed reports for monitoring energy consumption and cost at each site. Reports can be shared with schools to provide positive reinforcement for energy savings.
EduCon has developed a simple but powerful web based software that tracks usage and costs. Tracking energy usage and costs helps us to identify opportunities for savings and to quantify our success. We use Energy Master Pro software for reporting results. Utility bill data is keyed into the system and reports are generated including summary reports, energy use per square foot reports, cost per square foot reports and usage and cost reports. Data entry is quick and user friendly. This is a necessary tool for the energy managers, one that will guide his/her efforts in obtaining the most immediate and significant results.
EduCon Energy provides complete training to your energy managers on this software. Technical support and all software enhancements are included at no additional cost. The process is simple. All utility bill usage and cost information is input by the energy managers and reports are generated directly from this data. Energy Master Pro provides a variety of reports that allow your energy managers to analyze and evaluate trends and obtain results of his/her efforts. Use of this software is included in the monthly fee for the first year of the contract.
Your energy managers will have complete access to add data and new bills, run reports, terminate old accounts, import data into Energy Star and add ‘view only’ users at his/her discretion. EduCon and our consultants will have remote access to read the reports generated by Energy Master Pro. In this way, we are able to best serve you. Our software engineers will answer questions and assure that the software is working to its highest potential for your program. The district will always retain ownership of all utilities data. At any time, the full database can easily be exported.
Energy Master Pro software is based on Microsoft.Net and SQL server technology. The EduCon software engineering team follows industry best practices for software development. The software is hosted in a secure cloud environment built on a windows server. EduCon Energy owns Energy Master Pro Software and all development is led by EduCon. Our development partner, Small Footprint, routinely performs the development and maintenance of the software including updates and upgrades utilizing Microsoft certified engineers.
Adjusted cost is calculated to take into account the ongoing changes in billing rates. Adjusted cost is simply the difference in usage multiplied by the current billing rate. We have designed Energy Master Pro so that a school system can easily understand and duplicate this calculation. Cost and usage results are pro-rated for each actual month period, not the billing period. This allows an accurate comparison as it relates to weather data and trends. Built in protections assure that results cannot be obtained for any one period until all related billing data is complete. If HVAC equipment at a particular school is completely replaced, we are able with our software to exclude it from our savings calculation, or run it separate from the rest. Energy Master Pro allows you to look at adjusted cost reports with or without weather normalization adjustments. We developed our weather normalization methodology with assistance of Professor Sat Gupta, Associate Department Head, Mathematics and Statistics, UNC-Greensboro. Professor Gupta has been a faculty member at UNC-Greensboro since 2004 and is the founding editor of the Journal of Statistical Theory and Practice.
We can input or transfer historical data that you have collected to date into our program and can export data directly to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
EduCon consultants assist energy managers in conducting frequent site visits. Observations and recommendations for energy savings are communicated to principals and their staff as well as the maintenance department.
Our experience tells us that if you are not in your buildings after hours (weekdays and weekends) you may not be aware of what is happening in relation to the operation of your mechanical systems during unoccupied times. Systems that you think are in a setback mode are still running.
- Contactors are stuck on and open outside air dampers allow humid air into the building.
- Water pumps are running while boilers and chillers are off.
- Cooling tower pumps are circulating water and no air handlers are running.
- A technician may have placed a piece of equipment in “Hand” mode to test and never reset it to “Auto.”
The list goes on. It is amazing what you learn and how much money you can save by being in your buildings after hours. We also monitor buildings during school hours to look at the sequence of operation for a particular system to provide a full picture of what is happening with regards to operation of mechanical systems during occupied times. Automated control systems can tell us a lot, as do calls from the schools about uncomfortable condition (too hot or too cold). What tells us the most is taking a walk around the building and looking at the automated control programming to see if the systems are operating according to the system sequence of operation.
A ‘boots on the ground’ approach is the only proven strategy to discover opportunities for savings due to systems running out of sequence or needing attention in some other way. Our experience has shown that when districts respond to audit findings in a timely manner to address deficiencies, a visible connection is made to energy savings.