As you may have noticed, we made some upgrades over the summer to various lighting, HVAC, and irrigation systems through the District. These upgrades are the result of a partnership with McKinstry, an energy services and design-build contractor.
The entire project, now nearly complete, will deliver energy and water cost savings of over $230,000 per year. These cost savings are helping to pay for needed capital items such as air conditioning at Montrose High School and Pomona Elementary and also allow the District to focus more of its operating budget on education instead of facility costs. In terms of resources saved, annual energy and water savings are equivalent to removing 370 vehicles from the road or 185 houses from the power grid. You will have an opportunity to get more involved in our efforts to reduce operating costs this year as McKinstry launches the “powerED” program this fall. This program is aimed at educating all our staff and students on energy and resource efficiency.
As with the final phase of all construction projects, we are still working through some troubleshooting efforts. Most notably, we are still fine-tuning the HVAC controls in some schools and are working to optimize temperatures and schedules now that spaces are occupied. We sincerely apologize for any discomfort you are experiencing as we work to get all HVAC systems fully optimized – we greatly appreciate your patience. Prior to the HVAC controls upgrade, there were a wide variety of temperature set points in the district with some spaces too cold or too warm and some schedules running equipment 24x7, 365 days a year. This was not only inefficient and costly but also difficult to maintain. With the new controls, we are able to standardize our temperature set points (70F during heating season and 74F during cooling season) during occupied hours (7am – 4pm M-F). We are also able to standardize temperature set points outside of the M-F 7am-4pm schedule. During these unoccupied hours, schools will be kept at 60F during heating season and 85F during cooling season. A few additional notes on the new HVAC controls:
- Note that every heating or cooling system has a “dead-band” of 1deg F. This means that during cooling operation, the temperature will rise to 75F until the cooling turns on. Once the cooling turns on, it will cool down the space to approximately 73F and then turn off again. A dead-band prevents over-cycling of compressors and helps to extend equipment life, saving the district money on facility expenditures.
- Some spaces now also have occupancy sensors associated with the thermostat. When the occupancy sensor detects that a space has been vacant for more than 30 minutes, it will change the set point by 2deg F to save more energy. In cooling season this means that the set point will change to 76F while in heating mode, the set point will change to 68F. Once motion is detected again, the set point will revert back to 74F in cooling season or 70F in heating season. This feature helps to generate additional energy and dollar savings when people are not actively using a space.
- If you arrive early to school or plan to stay late, you can push an “override” button on most of the new thermostats. This button will change the set point from its current condition to the new standard occupied set points of 70F during heating mode and 74F during cooling mode. Note that it may take a bit of time for the space to reach that set point.
Facility staff will be trained on how to read and operate the new thermostats. Facility personnel will also be available to answer any questions you may have. Our overarching goal is create a comfortable and resource efficient environment. We hope you will join us in our efforts and take pride in making Montrose County School District facilities as resource efficient as possible. We also sincerely thank you again for your patience as fine tune remaining elements of the project.
Should you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org