CHATSWORTH, Calif. — The Bruceville-Eddy Independent School District (ISD), located in rural Texas near Waco, is using Venstar’s Explorer® SchoolStat® connected Wi-Fi® thermostats as a cost-effective replacement for its old energy management system. In addition to reducing energy costs, the school district estimates that the thermostats paid for themselves in energy savings within six months while keeping classrooms comfortable for students and staff.

“We rely on Venstar’s Skyport® Cloud Services to remotely manage and control our thermostats to help ensure consistent, comfortable temperatures in all of our classrooms and buildings, no matter how hot or cold it is outside,” said Lowell Hill, director of maintenance for the Bruceville-Eddy ISD.

The Challenge

Hill is responsible for the HVAC management for the district’s five campuses. With temperatures ranging from lows in the teens to highs well above 100°F, having an efficient and reliable HVAC system is essential. Hill wanted to install new thermostats he could depend on to keep students, teachers, and staff comfortable regardless of the weather outside. He wanted to reduce costs by replacing a complicated energy management system with connected thermostats.

The Solution

With Venstar’s Explorer SchoolStat connected Wi-Fi thermostats, Hill can easily commission thermostats in less than a minute. Installation is easy, too, with the ability to make each thermostat as feature-rich or as simple as needed, depending on the location and usage.

Using Venstar’s free Skyport Cloud Services with its free mobile app, Hill can use his mobile phone or desktop computer to remotely access and control any Explorer thermostat in the school district. With this free capability, he was able to eliminate the expensive energy management system.

Being able to program the thermostats helps Hill ensure that HVAC systems are not running unnecessarily. Teachers simply push a button when they arrive in the classroom to turn on the heating or cooling, which is programmed to run from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Teachers also have the ability to extend the heating or cooling by pressing the override button, which extends the occupied settings in 30-minute increments for a total of up to four additional hours. On days when school is not in session, the thermostats are set to the unoccupied setting. Explorer also has an automatic time change for daylight savings time, eliminating the need to physically change each thermostat.

The classroom thermostats also are programmed with set point limiting. They are set to a high of 72° for heat and a low of 74° to cool, allowing teachers the flexibility to adjust the temperature within a couple of degrees. Since the keypads are locked and locking rings are in place, no other changes can be made. If there are complaints about classrooms being too hot or too cold, Hill can remotely use Venstar’s Skyport Cloud Services to check the temperatures and respond quickly to any potential problems.

“I control all of the school district’s thermostats from my mobile phone using Venstar’s free Skyport Mobile App,” Hill said. “It even alerts me if there is a problem, so I can solve it immediately.”

Publication date: 6/10/2019

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