IBM smart building software helps schools counteract budget cuts

Three of the biggest U.S. school districts are among those working with IBM to increase energy efficiency, create new revenue streams and counteract budget cuts.

About 90 percent of schools in the U.S. face significant budget cuts and are more often turning to energy efficiency, solar and now smart buildings to counteract that.

Schools in Florida, Oregon and Nevada are installing smart building management software made by IBM, which "raises the IQ of school buildings."

By discovering how efficiently physical assets are being used -- and finding new uses for its buildings -- schools are able to reallocate resources to instructional purposes, save money and potentially generate new revenue streams.

The City University of New York uses the software to track and analyze energy use, compare school buildings' efficiency, forecast power needs and run simulations on the benefits of doing various kinds of retrofits.

Clark County School District in Las Vegas -- the nation's 5th largest public school system -- uses smart building software across 392 schools and administrative buildings spread out over 8,000 square miles.

The software automatically alerts maintenance staff when there's a problem -- anything from broken lights, pipes or other infrastructure needs -- and shows them where it is.

In this case, the software helps manage 110,000 work orders that are in play each year. In one instance, the software alerted repair teams that a building's HVAC system was fluctuating, helping to avert a massive electrical outage that would have disrupted thousands of students.

Photo of the entrance of a school at the Portland Public Schools provided by Werewombat via Wikimedia Commons.

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