Paul Fletcher is a senior client success advocate on the SchoolDude SuccessOps team. Paul provides world-class support and works closely with our clients to ensure their success, anticipate challenges our clients face, and deliver practical solutions to overcome them.
It is hard to know how well your buildings are performing based on the energy they are consuming. There is not one single formula or method for figuring out and understanding how to measure this, but there is one that has been around for awhile. Measuring a building’s Energy Use Intensity or EUI, is a great way to start. A Building’s EUI is made up of its KBTU per square foot. The KBTU is basically all of the building’s energy use converted to a common unit and stands for 1,000 British Thermal Units. This can be electricity (KWH), natural gas, (Therms, MCF, CCF), propane (Gallons), or others that can be converted to KBTU, but non-energy items such as water and trash cannot. It is still important to be good stewards of these utilities, but they do not factor into a building’s EUI. By combining all of the energy units to one common unit, you can compare one building’s EUI to another, like sized building.
While a building’s EUI is not going to solve your energy issues, knowing what it is will help you get on the road to being more efficient and is a defining benchmark and key performance indicator for your buildings. According to Energy Star, a K-12 Building should have an average EUI around 169 whereas a Dormitory building should have a EUI of 151. You can find out more about EUI and the averages on Energy Star’s website here.
There are two ways SchoolDude can help you determine your EUI. If you have been tracking your utility bills in UtilityDirect, then the KBTU/SF Report will give you this data as a yearly trend for all of your buildings combined or you can break it out building by building. This will allow you to look at like-sized buildings side by side. As an example, an elementary school will likely perform much differently than a high school. A dorm is a lot different than a classroom building. These benchmarks can tell you a lot and provide a good starting point to make some changes that will help your energy consumption.
If you also own MySchoolDude, then you can check out your organization’s KBTU trend for the past three years as one of the Energy KPIs in the new Community. To get into the new Community, just login to UtilityDirect or any other SchoolDude product and then under the Application Links, choose SchoolDude.com. Your KPI Dashboard is listed under the resources button. Your KBTU/EUI trend data can be found under the “my Trend Information” button. Not only do you see your KBTU/sf numbers, but you can also see how you measure against average performers and top performers in your industry. And there you have it, the lower the number, the better.
*Note: The Requester role cannot access the KPI dashboard in the Community.
Here are some strategies for finding ways to lower your EUI:
- Put an Energy Management Plan together if you do not have one. There are many samples out on the web. This can help set the expectations for energy savings and show that the administration backs your efforts
- Engage faculty, staff, and students to be a part of a Behavior Modification program. This is the most inexpensive way to realize energy savings and can show results in months rather than years.
- Regularly perform Preventive Maintenance inspections on your energy related equipment. Routine PM on these pieces can not only save energy and money, but also extend the life of the equipment.
- Work with your IT staff to deploy computer shutdown programs throughout your educational organization to make sure they are on during the day when needed and off at night when they are not needed.
- Make sure your Building Automation System is tuned properly for each building. By checking this routinely, you can make sure that your BAS is optimized and not keeping lights and HVAC on in the building when it is unoccupied. It could also be configured to turn on zones of a building when the whole building isn’t being used.