"We have equipment like TV’s, water coolers and office equipment throughout our schools that use electricity even when school is out of session. We know that cutting power to these devices will lower our electric bill.”

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Bert® Helps Fairfield School District Reduce Plug Load

Like many school districts across the country, the Fairfield School District prides itself on providing a high quality education for students and high levels of value for local taxpayers. The District’s mission is to provide a quality education, which nurtures curiosity and empowers all students to succeed. Unfortunately, declining state revenues and increasing costs such as rising benefits make delivering its mission increasingly challenging. Fairfield must make difficult decisions about how to spend limited resources. Since, money spent on facilities operations or overhead cannot be spent on students, the district has focused its efforts on finding efficiencies of every kind.

One of these areas is energy, where the district spends about $440,000 per year on electricity. While keeping the lights on is important, the district also realizes that reducing electricity costs can free up money for athletics, extracurricular activities, or other educational supplies. In 2012, the district hired Siemens Building Technologies to make its buildings more energy efficient. In addition to major system upgrades such as lighting, chillers, and the building envelope Siemens installed the Bert® Plug Load Management System. The Bert® Plug Load Management system helps manage energy costs by turning plug-based load off when buildings are not in use. Bert® utilizes patented technologies and a facility’s existing Wi Fi infrastructure to remotely schedule and control a myriad of plug-based load. According to the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED), an estimated 25% of total electricity use is from plug-based loads within the education sector. For a district such as Fairfield, plug load could represent up to $100,000 per year to power TV’s, computers, water coolers and the wide variety of devices that are plugged into traditional power outlets. Yet every facilities manager knows that schools are closed more hours per year than they are open- meaning that the ability to cut power to devices when buildings are not open translates into real savings.

Bert helps the Fairfield School District save energy and money.

“We are proud of our facilities, but are conscious about limiting operating hours and reducing energy costs when buildings are not in use,” says Howie Kessel  the Director of Buildings and Grounds at Fairfield School District. “Based on suggestions from Siemens Building Technology, we made the decision to reduce our energy use with the Bert Plug Load Management System. We have equipment like TV’s, water coolers and office equipment throughout our schools that use electricity even when school is out of session.  We know that cutting power to these devices will lower our electric bill.”

“Bert® is ideal for schools districts like Fairfield, because they have different building hours that change frequently for in service days, summer hours, and holidays,” says Scott Yetter, CEO of Bert. Bert provides simple mass control for the facility manager through the ability to place devices into groups (like TV’s, or elementary school classrooms) and then modify or adjust on/off schedules with a click of the mouse.” Since Bert uses a facility’s existing Wi-Fi network, devices can be controlled remotely from the district office.

Fairfield is controlling over 250 TV’s, printers, projectors, kitchen equipment and water coolers in the elementary, middle and high schools. “The Bert system allows devices to be place in logical groups to make scheduling and controlling easier,” says Yetter. In addition to creating groups that include plug load devices such as projectors, printers, water fountains and microwaves Fairfield uses different schedules that reflect the actual occupancy hours for student and staff areas in each building. The district can even turn all devices in all buildings off at once when facilities are closed or when load-shedding events occur. “This year we’ve decided to limit summer building use to 4 days per week, and reduce weekend use” says Fairfield’s Kessel. “Limiting building hours reduces heating and cooling costs, but now we can easily control the 25% of energy used by plug-based loads as well.” For districts like Fairfield, every dollar saved can ensure that students and taxpayers get the most education for their dollar.


For more information contact Scott Yetter at syetter@bertbrain.com