Engineering solutions: How a partnership with Dynamix Energy Services has district facilities operating at peak performance

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Circleville City Schools – As Circleville City wrapped up its 6-year construction project this past fall, the district’s board of education passed a measure which marked the construction of a comprehensive plan to streamline and optimize our energy usage on campus.

On August 9th, 2017, the Circleville City School District board of education approved an agreement with Dynamix Energy Services for the amount of $464,174 over two years (paid out of district budgeted maintenance funds) to oversee retro commissioning and controls in our new facilities in regards to lighting, heating, and cooling systems. The management and regulation of HVAC and lighting was not a part of the district’s state building project.

The partnership with Dynamix is a part of Circleville City Schools’ strategic planning and long-term focus on energy conservation and efficiency. Establishing fiscally responsible energy initiatives early on will enable the three campus buildings to operate at peak efficiency and cut down on energy costs and wear and tear on equipment over time.

“Our treasurer’s office, board, and facilities crew has done a tremendous job of putting us in a position to save money and be good stewards of our new buildings and manage our energy emissions,” said assistant superintendent Kyle Uhrig. “Energy conservation and reductions in equipment replacement down the road is not just about being in a good place right now, it’s being in a good place for years to come.”

From regulating compressors, heat exchangers, and suction temperatures to comprehensive analytics on lighting by way scheduling when and where lighting is used around motion detectors and to what wattage, this board measure is an investment in the long-range sustainability of our schools.

In working with Dynamix on energy solutions for the district, company Vice President and Principal-In-Charge of Operations and Energy Division Todd Mace in particular has been a hands-on project manager working with district administrators and maintenance staff to make the most of the learning environment we provide for our students every day.

“Todd is very knowledgeable on the school side of HVAC systems and lighting systems and his company is very in tune with the latest technological aids in reducing energy costs. He has been an unprecedented  asset unto us looking to the future.”

So what does this mean for daily use? When staff is on campus and notices poor or too strong of lighting, they can log an electronic request to change the efficiency of that lighted area by way of the Facilities Management eXpress software (FMX) and a Dynamix engineer will make the appropriate adjustment.

As with the heating and cooling, requests can be made based on variables such as external temperature changes and pre-heating a dormant overnight common area prior to an event on campus.

On any given day there are 24 compressors facilitating heating and cooling in all three buildings. Initially after building construction, the compressors ran near daily at the same time which would have resulted in a short life span of mechanical components over time had the district and Dynamix not put together this comprehensive energy conservation plan. With the ability to now schedule and more accurately monitor those compressors, they can be cycled and sequenced as to reduce daily wear and tear and maintenance costs over time.

In a span of October 2017 through January 2018, the billed kilowatt hours on campus (KWH) represented a 42% decrease at Circleville Elementary and a 27% decrease at Circleville Middle and Circleville High School (Figure 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3).

Figure 1.1Figure 1.2Figure 1.3

*Charts provided by Dynamix Energy Solutions, LLC.

The above KWH savings from heating, cooling, and lighting has in turn yielded the district $80, 134 in savings in comparison to the billed amounts received over that same time span from a year ago. That amount equates to 17.26% of the October contracted agreement covered in just four months’ time.

On its current pace, the district will make back the agreement based on these returns and will save approximately $20,000 per month in aggregate energy costs moving forward to remain fiscally responsible and keep state and local funding dedicated to student specific programming.

In recognition of Dynamix’s resolve and commitment to engineering energy conservation at Circleville City Schools in going above and beyond their contracted agremeent, the organization was recognized at the district’s March 14th meeting of the board of the education where they informed board members and the general public about project updates and energy savings.