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CASE STUDY: Bruceville-Eddy Independent School District Keeps Classrooms Comfortable, Thanks to Venstar’s Explorer SchoolStat Wi-Fi Thermostats

Venstar® recently announced that 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 estimate that the thermostats paid for themselves in energy savings within six months while keeping classrooms comfortable for students and staff.

Lowell Hill, director of maintenance for the Bruceville-Eddy ISD, uses Venstar’s free Skyport Mobile App to remotely manage and control all of the district’s thermostats.
Lowell Hill, director of maintenance for the Bruceville-Eddy ISD, uses Venstar’s free Skyport Mobile App to remotely manage and control all of the district’s thermostats.

“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.

CHALLENGE: Update School Thermostats, Replace Energy Management System

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 degrees, 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 help reduce costs by replacing a complicated energy management system with connected thermostats, and he also wanted to be able to quickly and easily install, commission and remotely manage the thermostats.

SOLUTION: Venstar’s Explorer SchoolStat Connected Wi-Fi Thermostats

With Venstar’s Explorer SchoolStat connected Wi-Fi thermostats, Hill can easily commission thermostats in less than a minute. In fact, Venstar’s factory settings are already very close to Hill’s desired settings, so it made commissioning the thermostats extra fast. Installation is easy, too. He appreciates the ability to make the Explorer thermostats 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 the Explorer thermostats located anywhere in the school district. With this free capability, he was able to eliminate the expensive energy management system that he found to be hard to use and too complicated to use effectively. With Skyport, he can instantly monitor and control the Explorer thermostats via the on-campus Wi-Fi networks or virtually anywhere there is Internet access.

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 for Hill to physically change each thermostat twice each year.

The classroom thermostats also are programmed with setpoint 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.

RESULTS: Reduced Energy Costs, Six-Month ROI

Since the Explorer SchoolStat thermostats were installed, the school district has reduced its hard costs by replacing the energy management system with thermostats. It estimates that the thermostats pay for themselves in energy savings within six months. The thermostats are also helping to extend the life of the HVAC equipment at the schools since notifications are immediately sent to the maintenance director whenever the temperatures are outside preset limits, allowing Hill to solve issues before they become real problems.

Venstar’s Explorer SchoolStat thermostats with free Skyport Cloud Services helps ensure consistent, comfortable temperatures in all buildings at the Bruceville-Eddy ISD, no matter how hot or cold it is outside. Hill is also able to set up sub-user accounts in Skyport, enabling individual principals to have access to the HVAC information for just their campuses.

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

About Venstar’s Explorer SchoolStat and Skyport Cloud Services

Venstar’s affordable Explorer SchoolStat thermostat (T4900SCH) makes setup and programming fast and easy. Its large, easy-to-read displays can be programmed for “Simple as You Want” operation. OpenADR and Title 24 compliance also help users take advantage of energy savings.

Explorer SchoolStat thermostats are compatible with Venstar’s free Skyport Cloud Services, which enables users of Venstar’s ColorTouch thermostats to use the free Skyport Mobile App on their Apple® iOS and Android™ mobile devices or directly from the Web to instantly access and control thermostats.

About Venstar Inc.

Venstar Inc. is a leading thermostat and energy management system (EMS) manufacturer, known for providing value to its customers via ease of use and installation, proven cost savings, improved energy efficiency, quality and reliability. Founded in 1992, Venstar is one of the largest thermostat suppliers in the world and designs and produces Venstar-branded products as well as OEM thermostat products for the biggest names in HVAC. Venstar’s Surveyor is a leading energy management system, typically saving small-box retailers 20–35 percent of their energy costs, which translates to tens of millions of dollars in savings each year and dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions. Surveyor currently controls the energy usage of 30,000+ retail locations across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

For more information, visit Venstar: www.venstar.com.

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