Technology that senses whether someone is in the room is helping the city’s newest school use energy as efficiently as possible.
When designing and building the Sizer Charter School, which opened last year on 500 Rindge Rd. in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, making it energy efficient was very important, says Bob Briggs, facility director. “Each room has special sensors that can tell if someone is in the room, which then automatically adjusts the heating and cooling, as well as turn on the lights.”
The efficient lighting fixtures and controls will help the school save over 47,000 kWh annually, beyond less efficient equipment. Because of a $19,633 Unitil rebate toward the $26,173 additional cost to upgrade to energy efficient equipment, the school saw a payback of less than one year.
It also received an energy efficient rebate of $1,589 for hot water boilers; a $19,329 rebate for energy recovery ventilation equipment, which saves money on air conditioning and space heating; and a $2,050 natural gas rebate for its kitchen equipment.
According to Briggs, it took about one year to fine-tune the system, allowing the school to maximize the energy savings while keeping 400 students, in grades 7-12, comfortable.
“Energy efficiency projects like this make a significant difference, particularly over the lifetime of the equipment; the school will save thousands of dollars,” said John DiNapoli, municipal and community services manager for Unitil.