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Energy Management System

New Technology Improves Maintenance Services, Conserves Energy

EMSThe Environmental Conservation/Utility Management Department is investing in upgrades to the District's current Energy Management/Security System (EMS).

Since the mid-1980s, the District has been outfitted with computerized systems that allow District Maintenance staff to control schools' air conditioning and limited lighting from a remote off-site location. As technology progressed through the 1990s, stand alone thermostats like we have in our homes were systematically phased out in new schools and replaced in existing schools when major air conditioning renovations occurred. Instead, temperature sensors and transmitter control units were installed to support the computerized system at the schools and allow local control of the rooms' air conditioning as well as remote monitoring of conditions by a central computer in the Environmental Conservation/Utility Management Department. Currently, each school has a dedicated computer terminal that allows appropriate school staff to change the air conditioning schedules for special events. Some schools have mastered the use of these terminals, while others rely on the expertise of long-time District employee Mitch Talmadge of the Environmental Conservation Department.

When completed, the upgraded system will eliminate the need for a dedicated terminal by connecting the schools' EMS systems to the Internet. Schools will be able to access their EMS from any computer with Internet access.  Area and District air conditioning mechanics will also have access to the system for better troubleshooting. The District will embark on a training program for the schools' operators and District and Area air-conditioning mechanics, so that they can use this new tool effectively. Joe Fellmeth, Project Manager for the Environmental Conservation Utility Management Department, is assisting Jack Spear, Building Controls Supervisor with this task. Fellmeth is the first in the District to be factory certified on the new system.

Each user will be given a user name and password for identification purposes and the security protocols will only allow users to view the system controls for their own school. The District also expects to reap additional benefits through reduced utility costs. Currently, air conditioners that have been placed in "override" and unintentionally left on can continue to run until noticed. The upgrade will allow District staff to determine exactly who placed the system in "override" and then contact that person to confirm the need to run the units during normal down times. The new upgrade will also allow staff to monitor operating conditions and troubleshoot some problems remotely, making it easier for the schools and Area Maintenance staff to respond to and possibly foresee system malfunctions. This is one technology tool that you won't see in the classroom, but it will certainly enhance the learning environment.

 

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