Written by Kyla Merwin Cheney, February 2004
Featured in Utility Products Showcase magazine, April 2004
In the chilly hills of Lakewood, Colorado, near Denver, Jeffco Public School District had a problem. They were spending too much money on energy bills. Combined with that, they didn’t have the additional budget to hire an energy management staff. In response, Jeffco senior management devised an innovative solution. They took four teachers out the classroom and, with the appropriate training, made them Certified Energy Managers.
This team of four was promptly charged with the mission of reducing energy costs at the school district. Realizing that they couldn’t manage what they hadn’t measured, they turned to DENT Instruments, headquartered in Bend, Oregon. With the simplicity and low cost of DENT’s ELITE™ energy data logger and accompanying software, they were able to data-trend precise energy use, right down to ‘when’ and ‘where’. In addition to providing critical data, DENT’s ELOG ™ software provided management with practical analysis tools in the form of charts and graphs.
Marv Roemer, Supervisor of Maintenance for Jeffco Public Schools, said the energy management program has been a tremendous success, though it was met with initial skepticism, both from principals and HVAC technicians. “They were a little paranoid about changing the status quo; about teachers coming in and telling [the technicians] how to run their equipment,” Roemer reported. “They definitely changed their attitude. It’s become the way we do business with energy maintenance.” Further, it has inspired new programs. “People are looking at other ways of saving energy, bringing other ideas forward.”
The energy management team has also served a vital role in educating school staff on ways to save energy. “They are as much educators and managers,” said Roemer. “They reinforce the fact that you can’t have units running all night long.”
DENT’s ELITE ™ data logger has enabled Jeffco to check accuracy of utility billing, measure electrical consumption of kitchen equipment, verify electrical savings of lighting upgrades, measure total loads of HVAC equipment, and track electrical panels for power interruptions. This data helped the management team reduce waste, streamline operations, and track ongoing improvements, resulting in lower out-of-pocket expenses.
Heavy on the minds of the energy management team was the responsibility to use the taxpayers’ money wisely, and to gain credibility in their community. Said Jim Faes, Energy Manager at Jeffco, “We have proved ourselves to be good stewards with the tax dollars we spend on utilities.” Said Roemer, “These four guys have saved this district so much money that it’s hard to fathom what would happen without them.”
DENT Instruments, a world recognized leader of instrumentation for data collection, has continued to refine and advance their ELITE™ product line. The ELITEpro™, for example, makes energy measurement, data trending and sub-metering easy. This instrument, and accompanying software, helps pinpoint electric usage and quantify consumption by measuring, storing, and analyzing Volts, Amps, Watts, Volt-Amps (VA), Volt-Amps reactive (VAR), Kilowatts (kW), Kilowatt Hours (kWh), Power Factor and harmonics, encompassing a total of 144 different measurement parameters.
The ELITEpro™ can monitor up to four single-phase loads or two three-phase Delta loads, or one three-phase Wye load. It includes four channels of current (0-6,000 amps), and three channels of voltage (0-600V ac or dc). The ELITEpro™ also offers some power quality features such as the ability to view voltage, current, and power waveforms. It will calculate harmonics from DC through the 63rd then report total harmonic distortion (THD), crest factor and peak voltage & current.
The ELITEpro™ can be mounted anywhere and with its wide range of recording intervals and a storage capacity of up to 100,000 records, is ideal for both short-term projects or long-term studies. Easy to use, Windows™ based software graphically displays recorded data, performs analyses and allows automatic, remote data collection via Internet, wired or wireless LAN systems, or telephone modems. Data is easily exported to popular spreadsheets and databases for special analyses. TheELITEpro™ has been an instrument of choice utilized by most electric utilities across the country for a number of years.