Siemens Helps Schools, Houston Land 6-Figure Windfalls for Efficiency

Siemens Helps Schools, Houston Land 6-Figure Windfalls for Efficiency

Candlebrook Elementary in the Pennsylvania community King of Prussia has helped its school district save almost $340,000 in energy costs by developing an efficiency program with an integrated Siemens building automation system at its core.

An 11-year-old, conventionally heated and cooled building, Candlebrook was designated to become a model for energy efficiency in the Upper Merion Area School District.

According to Siemens, the grade school tackled its assignment through smarter use of its building automation system. In the process, Candlebrook cut its electricity consumption by 53 percent and its natural gas consumption by 43 percent.

That earned the school an Energy Star rating of 98, one of the higher efficiency scores of the energy performance ranking system. It also prompted the other five schools in the district to manage energy use and other resources at their facilities with an integrated Siemens APOGEE Building Automation System. The initiative enabled the district to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent, which gained it recognition as an Energy Star leader.

To be precise, the district cut its utility bill by $336,444.28, according to Frederick Remelius, the district's buildings and grounds supervisor.

Remelius estimates that if the more than 15,000 districts in the country took similar steps, they could save as much as $5 billion. "A challenge to energy efficiency," he said in a statement, "is that there are a lot of consultants and engineers running around saying you can achieve energy savings, but very few of them actually know how to achieve it other than by replacing old equipment. By thinking hard about smart ways to use your BAS, you can really make a huge difference in energy savings, improve the environment and save money for your organization."

In addition to the six schools, the district administration building also uses a Siemens system. The systems at the seven buildings were standalone units until they were updated and linked in 2007 via the Internet and APOGEE software revisions.

Candlebrook's leadership role made the school a contender in Siemens' "Smartest Building in America" contest. The competition recognizes innovative approaches taken by facility managers at sites that use Siemens APOGEE or TALON building automation systems. The company is accepting entries until July 15.

Siemens Helps Houston Snag $810,000 Rebate from Utility

The city of Houston also received a windfall as a result of its work with Siemens. In June, the company presented Houston Mayor Annise Parker a rebate of $810,000 from CenterPoint Energy -- a onetime incentive from the utility's Standard Offer Program recognizing deployment of high efficiency lighting.

Under a 10-year $12.3 million energy performance contract, Siemens retrofit the city's traffic lights and pedestrian signals with LED lamps. The project completed in 2009 upgraded the lighting at 1,400 intersections and involved more than 40,000 red, yellow and green traffic signals and 7,700 pedestrian signals.

Typically, under a performance contract savings, a firm guarantees a certain amount of annuals savings resulting from its upgrade. The savings pay for the retrofit and, in the case of Siemens' agreement with Houston, if the savings aren't delivered then Siemens pays the shortfall to the city.

Image of Candlebrook School courtesy of Siemens.