NYC Public Schools Hope Analytics Will Help Cut Power Consumption

The Energy Analytics for Buildings program is developing an analytics software package that school officials can use to better manage power consumption — and in turn, save money and cut emissions.

by / March 23, 2011

For the past 10 months, a public-private partnership has been analyzing weather station data, energy consumption and building characteristics in New York City public schools. The aim of the collaboration — which includes IBM, the City University of New York (CUNY) and the city’s Education Department — is to make the city’s schools much more energy efficient.

IBM is working with the university and the city to develop a package of analytics software that school officials can use to manage energy consumption, and consequently cut emissions and save money. The company announced the effort Wednesday, March 23.

The program, called Energy Analytics for Buildings, is bringing together an interdisciplinary team from IBM and the City University of New York’s Building Performance Lab.

The program also includes an educational component.

“The IBM/CUNY energy analytics tool would help us better manage our buildings and would help our teachers incorporate the information from the energy use in the building to supplement the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum,” John T. Shea, CEO of the Division of School Facilities in the city’s Education Department, said in a statement.

The development of analytics software builds upon several other efforts to make New York City’s public schools more energy efficient. In February, city officials announced a 10-year plan to do energy audits, lighting retrofits and installation of modern boilers for the schools that need modernization.

“Adding advanced analytics and real-time communications to control systems and getting data into the hands of property managers and facility staff has the potential to drive powerful improvements for decades to come,” said Jane Snowdon of IBM Research.

The New York City Department of Education has an $18.5 billion operating budget that funds 1.1 million students who attend more than 1,700 schools.