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School District is Greener with Energy-Saving Building Controls

Automated Logic's building control system reduces energy consumption and operating costs for Green Bay School District.

Like many public entities today faced with tighter operating budgets and mandates to reduce energy consumption, the Green Bay Area Public School District was looking for ways to reduce costs while still maintaining a comfortable environment for students and staff. In 2003, the district launched an aggressive program combining energy-saving projects with student and employee awareness instruction. In just five years, it saved nearly 19.8 million kWh of electricity, 2.3 million therms of natural gas and $4.4 million in public funds.

"The district began with a number of objectives: reduced energy consumption, improved air quality, cost savings, system integration and expandability," said Scott Richards, ALCWisconsin Senior Sales Engineer. "It first chose Automated Logic for an elementary school and three high schools, all major renovation projects, for two key reasons—installation costs and the ease of use of WebCTRL?, ALC's web-based building automation system."

Jeff Christens, responsible for the district's DDC systems, is pleased with the savings and the ease of use WebCTRL provides. "We have full access to the software and can see down to the program, so we can troubleshoot in a matter of minutes," Christens stated. "Finding the cause of a problem is reduced to a fraction of the time compared to other systems. And by keeping energy management functions in-house, the district has saved thousands more in outsourced energy consulting and maintenance fees."

One "star" of the district's program has been Danz Elementary School. Ranked by Focus on Energy in the lowest 20 percent in the state for heating and cooling efficiency (determined by usage per square foot for building type), the school surged to the top 5 percent following its Automated Logic retrofit. Before, Danz operated at one of the highest costs-per-square-foot within the district; now it operates at the district's lowest.

"We have full access to the software and can see down to the program, so we can troubleshoot in a matter of minutes."

Over the years, the district has instituted numerous conservation strategies, including building pre-cooling, setpoint optimization, boiler modulation and demand reduction. (With support from Focus on EnergySM, the state's energy information and services partnership, Christens piloted a demand-limiting chiller control strategy at one school that was implemented at six others.) Hallway lighting is set to class schedules, and classroom lighting is controlled by occupancy sensors.

"We continue to modify control sequences for all equipment at our installations. And with Automated Logic's EIKON? LogicBuilder, a programming tool used to create, test and verify control logic, we're able to try out any sequence we can think of," Christens added.

The district, which serves over 20,000 students and includes 36 schools, has not only reduced energy costs, but has also lightened the district's environmental footprint. Millions of pounds of coal and natural gas have been conserved, and over 71 million pounds of CO2 emissions have been prevented from entering the atmosphere.

With Automated Logic building control systems now installed in nearly half of all schools as well as the administrative office building, the district's efforts have helped make Green Bay a greener place to live, work and learn.

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