energy efficiency engineer

Jane Guyer, PE, LEED-AP

Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) committed to a sustainability Initiative program in 2020 recognizing sustainability as their high priority in their commitment to the community and education. Their ongoing commitment to the environment had been recognized in the past earning them the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA)’s Green Schools Challenge awards in 2015 and 2020. Most recently, they were one of only five districts in the nation to earn the U.S. Department of Education’s 2021 Green Ribbon (ED-GRS) School District Sustainability Award. PWCS were selected based on high achievement in the three ED-GRS Pillars: 1) environmental impact and costs; 2) improved health and wellness; and 3) effective environmental and sustainability education.

Monitoring-based Commissioning

Data Analytics Serve An Unplanned Purpose

To take their energy efficiency efforts to the next level, PWCS engaged with ETC Group in late 2019. The goal was to use improving HVAC operation across a fleet of 27 schools (K-12) and reducing overall utility spend by applying monitoring-based commissioning. Then the intent took an interesting twist.

ETC Group arrived in Virginia to begin site walks on March 9, 2020. While conducting initial site analysis and preparing to deploy data analytics on March 11, 2020, COVID was declared a pandemic. As they shift to remote learning the following week, ETC Group and Prince William Schools made the decision to put the original scope on pause, concentrate on ensuring the schools were shut down properly, and plan to revisit the original scope when the schools became occupied again.

Data Analytics tool played an important role during this shutdown and reopen process. SkySpark integrates to the building control system and allows the ETC Group engineering team to easily access building performance data. Using data analytics, ETC Group was able to easily examine all of the schools to find out which equipment had not shut down as expected. As buildings became occupied again, ETC Group was then able to shift the focus back to the original goal of increasing energy efficiency.

Ongoing Results

ETC Group identified deficiencies in the current sequence of operations and engineered updated sequences to achieve the desired efficiency results. Since the beginning of the project, Prince William has avoided more than $135,000 in energy efficiency penalties, while identifying an additional $92,600 in opportunities. This project will guarantee energy savings, contributing to the district’s sustainability goals.

“Working with Prince William has been such a productive group effort. We bring the engineering and data analytics to the table and they bring controls programming capability, enthusiasm, and HVAC expertise to get repairs done. Monitoring-based commissioning works so well with an engaged facility team. It’s satisfying for everyone to see in the data what you fixed last month.” – Jane Guyer, VP of Account Management

Following is the services ETC Group is offering to PWCS:

  • IT Consultation: Work with PWCS IT Department to establish a VPN to the Building Automation System server and a connection from the BAS to the on-premise SkySpark server.
  • SkySpark Deployment: Integrate SkySpark® to all major HVAC equipment on the building automation system.
  • BuildingFit™ Analytics: Deploy ETC Group’s proprietary analytics software.
  • MBCx Services: Create a baseline linear regression to project future energy use based on utility history. Provide field work services to identify root cause errors and corrections. Provide detailed monthly reports including KPIs, energy savings, discovered issues, and resolution.
  • Support: Our certified SkySpark trainers provided effective/timely training to PWCS staff, often entirely integral to the monthly meetings.