PPS upgrades to improve HVAC system controls

October 18, 2018 by  

Portland Public Schools (PPS) has elected to spend money in the present to save money in the future, as well as lower emissions and improve air quality.

The average age of the Portland’s public school building is 70 years. Some of the buildings use control systems that are antiquated for monitoring and controlling airflow and temperature.

The oldest buildings have pneumatic-powered systems that necessitate in-person maintenance calls. The cost of which is paid for out of same budget as textbooks, teacher salaries, and benefits as well as supplies. In addition, replacement parts for these older systems are increasingly difficult to find, resulting in prolonged uncomfortable classroom temperatures.

The city’s school system turned to MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions, a local mechanical contractor, to install a Direct Digital Control Systems with several schools. Portland Public Schools gained remote troubleshooting, web-based monitoring, improved indoor air quality, and energy efficiency.

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Four of the city’s schools received only facilities retrofits, and for those four, an annual combined savings of $41,604 is projected per year, in addition to an annual savings of 45,436 therms of natural gas and 156,630 kWh of electricity.

Following its completion, PPS brought in a third-party commissioning agent to evaluate the system and determine if it was working as designed. In every case, the system was verified ready to use.