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New York Schools Get Energy Analytics

IBM tool empowers custodians and kids to shrink carbon footprints

IBM tool empowers custodians and kids to shrink carbon footprints

IBM and the City University of New York (CUNY) are deploying a system created for New York City’s K-12 school buildings that will let facilities track and analyze energy use, compare school buildings’ energy efficiency, forecast power needs and even run simulations on building improvements to predict the return on investment for various retrofitting projects. Eventually, science and math teachers will use the same tool to illustrate energy consumption in the classroom.

Hundreds of Buildings

New York City’s Department of Education manages 1,400 school buildings. “Analyzing single buildings is not very difficult because there are tools available,” says Young M. Lee, IBM Research scientist and the lead researcher on this project. “But when you deal with many buildings and try to identify opportunities from the large group of buildings, it’s a new area. So we thought this is a good area where we can apply science and math to really find a solution for energy savings.” IBM created physics-, statistics- and mathematics-based models to show how these buildings consume energy.

Custodians will be the first group of users to take advantage of the system. IBM and CUNY are training at least one custodian per building to assess and benchmark energy expended and track it over time, detect power-wasting faults, forecast energy use as it relates to factors like weather, and optimize changes in energy use, including through simulation. For example, a custodian can compare heating energy used in one building with that of a nearby building of similar size and age. Perhaps that building serves the same number of students but consumes 20-percent less energy. To improve the less-efficient facility, the custodian can explore retrofitting projects through computer simulations, Lee says.

Morgon Mae Schultz is a copy editor for MSP TechMedia

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