Rebecca Gladden, IES energy engineer, remotely controls thermostats at 50 school districts.

Indoor Environment Services Relies on Venstar ColorTouch Thermostats to Reduce Energy Costs at School Districts

March 06, 2019

Venstar® today announced that its ColorTouch® thermostat and Skyport® Cloud Services are being used by Indoor Environment Services (IES) to save school districts up to 20 percent in energy costs while maintaining indoor comfort for students and staff. Being able to remotely access and control thermostats saves the HVAC team hundreds of on-site hours managing thousands of thermostats at more than 50 school districts.

Rebecca Gladden, IES energy engineer, remotely controls thermostats at 50 school districts.
Rebecca Gladden, IES energy engineer, remotely controls thermostats at 50 school districts.

“Using Venstar’s Skyport to make global changes to thermostats is epic. It saves us hundreds of on-site hours. We couldn’t live without it,” said Matt Spence, director of energy, IES.

Challenge: Find Easy-to-Use, Affordable Thermostat to Reduce Energy Costs

Spence is responsible for working with local school districts to select energy management solutions. While managing thousands of thermostats at more than 50 school districts, Spence wanted to remotely monitor, control and make global changes across all the thermostats via the district’s Wi-Fi® network as well as be alerted via email of any HVAC-related issues. He also wanted a thermostat that meets California’s stringent Title 24 requirements.

Prior to installing the ColorTouch thermostats, most of the school districts had basic, non-programmable thermostats, some of which ran the HVAC equipment 24 hours per day, seven days per week, with no ability to program weekends or holidays. In addition, anyone could access the old thermostats and physically change the temperatures without any limits. Not being able to control the energy usage of the old thermostats resulted in unnecessarily high utility bills for the districts.

Solution: Venstar’s Commercial ColorTouch Wi-Fi Thermostat

Working with Rebecca Gladden, energy engineer at IES, Spence chose Venstar’s commercial ColorTouch Wi-Fi connected thermostat as his “thermostat of choice” for school districts. He selected ColorTouch for its easy-to-use touchscreen as well as its advanced programming capabilities, including morning warm-up and the override feature for after-hours comfort, which makes it perfect for school classrooms.

Gladden’s favorite feature is the ability to remotely program and manage the ColorTouch thermostats across all of the schools. Once the thermostats are programmed, the IES team uses Venstar’s Skyport Cloud Services to remotely access and control the ColorTouch thermostats at any of the school districts using Venstar’s free Skyport Mobile App.

Using Skyport, the IES team can instantly make global changes to some or all the thermostats rather than physically spending 10 minutes at each thermostat making programming changes.

Each school’s maintenance manager has remote access so he or she can handle any issues, such as if there are complaints that a classroom is too warm or too cold. Spence’s team also has remote access to monitor the thermostats.

ColorTouch’s override features are essential for classrooms. The override feature lets teachers push a button to keep the system working after hours, such as during parent-teacher conferences and open houses.

On days when school is not in session, the thermostats are set to the unoccupied temperatures. Being able to program the thermostats for 365 days per year helps to ensure that HVAC systems are not running unnecessarily. ColorTouch also has an automatic time change for daylight savings time.

Gladden appreciates ColorTouch’s security features, including setpoint limiting. With setpoint limiting, teachers have some flexibility of temperature control within the school board’s limits. This helps keep classrooms comfortable while ensuring that the school’s energy management goals are met.

Results: Reduced Energy Costs by 20 Percent While Maintaining Indoor Comfort

IES has installed 5,600 Venstar ColorTouch thermostats at more than 50 school districts in California. Since the ColorTouch thermostats were installed, Spence estimates reducing energy costs up to 20 percent for the school districts.

The ColorTouch thermostats help ensure consistent, comfortable temperatures in all buildings at the school districts, no matter how hot or cold the temperature is outside. Plus, they meet California’s stringent Title 24 requirements.

Skyport Cloud Services provide remote access to the thermostats so the IES team can easily access, monitor and program the thermostats from virtually anywhere there’s Internet access, including their mobile devices. Using Skyport, the IES team can instantly make global changes to all the thermostats. This saves hundreds of on-site hours.

The thermostats also help to extend the life of the HVAC equipment at the schools and allow Spence and his team to solve issues before they become real problems. With all these benefits, ColorTouch is IES’s thermostat of choice for school districts.

About ColorTouch

Venstar offers six models of its award-winning ColorTouch smart programmable residential and commercial thermostats. Available for residential and commercial use, ColorTouch models have a multi-functional, simple-to-use touchscreen that offers 365-day programming, overrides and security features.

About Venstar Skyport Cloud Services

Venstar’s free Skyport Cloud Services 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 Indoor Environmental Services (IES)

In business since 1988, California-based Indoor Environmental Services (IES) provides HVAC services to commercial and industrial customers throughout California and Nevada. The company specializes in energy management services for school districts and has installed solar and energy management solutions at more than 200 school districts in California in the past two years.

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.