Kerikeri’s Riverview School has become the first school in New Zealand to utilise the PowerGenius energy management system, after installing a solar system earlier this year to help save money on its power and to educate children about power conservation.
Riverview School Board Chairperson, Gerry Buxton, said in setting its annual strategy, one of the school’s objectives was to reach ‘Green-Gold’ status in the Regional Council’s ‘Enviroschools Award’, whilst reducing the school’s annual power spend after concerns of rising costs.
“Riverview School’s ‘Going for Green-Gold’ initiative helps inspire our students to protect the environment and conserve energy at our school. We knew starting out, however, that a big difficulty in conserving energy and reducing spend was that we really had no idea where our power was being used.
“That led us to start looking at alternatives, like solar, given the high sunshine hours we have here in Kerikeri and also the fact that most of our power is used when solar is being generated – during daytime hours. And, while a lot of suppliers could install the solar system we needed, there was no other company that could also help us with the energy management and monitoring solution we wanted to engage the children in conservation efforts,” said Mr Buxton.
The 51-panel solution, provided by SkySolar (and funded by an anonymous benefactor to the school), integrates with the PowerGenius energy management solution which will give students a granular view of the school to allow them to understand how solar power is generated and to analyse where energy conservation can be made.
“The system developed for us by PowerGenius enables the students to analyse and compare power used by the day, the week, the month and the year across each block of the school. Access to this level of data means our teaching staff can also develop maths and science programmes as part of ongoing education development, and our students can use their creative thinking and problem-solving skills to become ‘Eco Warriors’ for power conservation, like they are already for recycling. All of this together hopefully will put us in a prime position to ‘Go for Green-Gold’,” said Mr Buxton.
PowerGenius Chief Technology Officer, Kevin Mallon, said the team had been working hard to develop a solution for schools, because it understood the educational benefits their product could provide as more and more schools looked to become Enviroschools.
“The solution we have developed for Riverview School gives the students a dashboard showing each block of the school, detailing how much power each classroom or administration block has used, how much solar has been generated and consumed throughout the school, and therefore helps them to determine where in the school to best focus their energy efficiency efforts,” said Mr Mallon.
PowerGenius, a product that optimises how solar energy is used by monitoring power usage, is primarily used in the home where the product automatically prioritises the use of power-hungry appliances when solar energy is available. It is enabling some solar users to use up to 95% of the power they generate (as opposed to the average household exporting 40-50% back to the grid).
“With PowerGenius, customers get a greater return on their solar investment. But our product does a lot more than that, and our customers have also been impressed by its ability to transform appliances into ‘smart’ appliances, and in its cloud-based dashboard application to help manage and keep track of their energy from anywhere. It’s great to see schools now showing an interest in its monitoring and data management abilities too,” said Mr Mallon.
To date, over 1,100 PowerGenius devices have been installed into over 300 New Zealand homes. Riverview School is the first school to adopt the product, and students will commence using its energy monitoring tool by the end of June.
Riverview School has approximately 420 students in Years 1-6 and has nine blocks – made up of 18 classrooms, a school hall, a swimming pool complex, and an administration block. Since installing the solar system in late January, Riverview School estimates its power savings to be over $1600 for the three-month period.
For more information contact:
PowerGenius CEO, Mike Stobbs – Ph 021 428 858