Chemawa Indian School Uses QA Graphics' Energy Dashboard

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QA Graphics, an innovative computer graphic developer specializing in building automation graphic design, has developed an Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard (EEED) for Chemawa Indian School, the oldest continuously operating boarding school in the U.S., to track and help improve the campus' building performance.

QA Graphics, an innovative computer graphic developer specializing in building automation graphic design, has developed an Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard (EEED) for Chemawa Indian School, the oldest continuously operating boarding school in the U.S., to track and improve the campus' building performance.

Chemawa Indian School, located in Salem, Oregon, is using the Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard (EEED) to see how much power, water, and gas is being used throughout the campus, and how this usage can be improved. The EEED is displayed on an interactive 19-inch monitor located in the campus' boiler room and will primarily be used by the school's facility staff. The EEED communicates with the school's building automation system to display the utility usage information that it is monitoring. This data is then presented in an easy to understand format, similar to a website, allowing easier data analysis.

The EEED shows the school's dormitory, gymnasium, woodshop and kitchen's domestic water flow, electricity and gas use in real-time daily, weekly, monthly and yearly statistics. It also provides tips on how to conserve water, like "If water runs off your lawn easily, split watering times to short periods to allow better absorption." and "Use garbage disposals sparingly; compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time."

To find out how to be more efficient, Chemawa had Sustainable Engineering Group (SEG), a retro commissioning authority, complete an audit of the campus to determine where there were inefficiencies in the buildings' performances. SEG verified the design of the campus' energy systems and found that a number of performance areas could be improved upon if the school updated its control system. The campus had been using Alerton's Envision for IBEX system for about 10 years, and based on SEG's recommendation, worked with Environmental Controls Corporation to upgrade the system to Alerton's Envision for BACtalk.

Environmental Controls is also utilizing the EEED to track the performance of the new control system. "Our engineers remote log-in online to view the EEED. They view the different gauges to verify that the new control system design is in fact providing the energy efficient results that it was planned to do," said Don Lawrence, Environmental Controls project manager. "This will be a long-term support effort to ensure the campus' control system is running efficiently as planned."

The school is working on additional small steps to encourage efficiency, such as lowering the temperature in the buildings to save costs. About 400 students currently attend the boarding school and both students and faculty are encouraged to help do their part by saving water and shutting the lights off when they are not in a room. Now that the usage can be viewed in real-time and for specific locations using the EEED, Chemawa will be able to develop additional strategies to help conserve water, gas and power.

Upgrading the building automation system with a newer control system designed for energy efficiency will also allow the campus' control system to be in synch with the new dormitory that the school is building. The new dorm is being built to meet the standard LEED certifications and is expected to be completed in January 2010. The school has noticed a high spike in energy use in the mornings on the campus. It was suspected that the dorm was the cause, due to the older electric water heaters used in the current dorm building.

"We had an idea where the high spike was coming from, but now that the new control system and EEED is in place, we've been able to verify that this spike is from the dormitory. The high energy use is when the students are getting ready for the day," said Shaun Naranjo, Chemawa facility specialist. "The building performance of the new dorm will be greatly improved in comparison to our current one."

Emerick Construction Company is managing the construction of the new dorm with efficiency being a key priority. To ensure lower water consumption, the restroom faucets, toilets, urinals, and showers are all low flow fixtures, as well as the faucets used in the kitchen and laundry room. In addition, the majority of the campus' irrigation relies on a drip system. To save energy, the boilers and domestic water heaters both have an 87% efficiency rating and the air handler units and chillers are highly efficient. A number of the dorm's rooms also have motion sensors for the lights in place of light switches and some fixtures have dimmers to lower the lights. Until the new dorm is completed, baseline data on the current building's water, gas and power consumption is displayed on the EEED and will be used as historical data for comparison when the new dorm is occupied. In addition to Chemawa, QA Graphics has developed custom Energy Efficient Education Dashboards for schools, libraries, universities, government buildings, and restaurants.

About QA Graphics
QA Graphics is an innovative computer graphic developer specializing in the building automation and green building design industries. The company is an industry leader in the design of graphical user interfaces (GUI) and energy efficiency education, offering custom graphic design solutions including graphic outsourcing, 3D design/animation, interactive content and full-service Web site development. Please visit http://www.qagraphics.com to learn more.

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Sarah Erdman
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