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Product Application: System helps district upgrade facilities, cut costs

Township School District 214 in suburban Chicago consists of six high schools built between 1957 and 1973. Over the last five years, the district has modernized its aging facilities by upgrading temperature-control systems, adding access control at critical locations and providing multiple-operator workstations on the district's existing local area network.

Administrators chose a districtwide Infinity Building Automation System from Andover Controls to bring about the improvements. The system controls exterior and interior lighting; chilled-water plants, including ice-storage systems; central heating plants; domestic and kitchen water-heating systems; bell systems for starting and ending class periods; occupancy scheduling by classroom; and real-time monitoring of 17 electric meters.

The building-automation system includes workstations in each school's maintenance office and a central workstation and file server in the district's central maintenance office. The entire system resides on the school district's existing local-area network.

The district has realized significant energy savings. At Buffalo Grove High School, electricity costs in the first year the system was installed dropped from $400,000 to $318,000, even though the renovation of the school doubled the lighting levels and tripled the fresh-air requirements.

"We have a $2.5 million gas and electricity budget," says Seymour Schwartz, the district's director of buildings and grounds. "Our goal is to reduce this amount without affecting comfort and health."

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