IBM Smarter Building Technology Helps Schools Cut Costs

Three of the US’ largest school districts are using IBM Smarter Building technology to reduce operating costs and generate millions of dollars in new revenue streams.

The School District of Palm Beach County in Florida, Portland Public Schools in Oregon and Clark County School District in Nevada are using the software to make “smarter,” more energy-efficient decisions about how their physical assets, such as school buildings and facilities, are used, according to the tech giant and districts.

The School District of Palm Beach County, the 11th largest school district in the US, used campus vacancies during non-school hours to provide about 3,000 room and building leases annually to commercial and nonprofit organizations. This generates additional revenue for the district — but the manual leasing and contract processes are time consuming and expensive to maintain.

To better manage this cost and reduce administrative paperwork, SDPBC implemented IBM Tririga across its 187 schools. The software has helped the district increase its leasing revenue and is expected to generate $4.5 million this year by better utilizing its buildings, streamlining the leasing process and modernizing its management capabilities.

The largest school district in the Pacific Northwest, Portland Public Schools’ buildings are, on average, about 70-years-old. This makes bringing modern technologies into classrooms across the 9 million-square-foot school district challenging. Using IBM Tririga, PPS can prioritize modernization efforts throughout its schools. The smarter buildings software also helps PPS create more intelligent, predictive and efficient maintenance policies and practices.

As a result, PPS can now quickly identify locations where structural updates are required within classrooms, increase the speed at which schools fix broken lights, pipes and other infrastructure, and predict when general repairs are needed. For example, if a water main breaks in one of the schools, the system automatically alerts the maintenance department about the location and type of problem.

This has enabled PPS to reduce facilities management costs by 15 percent while improving speed of modernization by 46 percent, the district says.

Clark County School District, the fifth largest district in the US, chose IBM to help update its maintenance systems and practices, and increase energy efficiency across its 36 million square feet of building space.

IBM Maximo software allows the district to prioritize, respond to and repair more than 110,000 work orders generated each year at CCSD’s 392 schools and administrative buildings, across 8,000 square miles.

Analytics also give CCSD insights needed to predict and prevent future maintenance issues. During one instance, the school noticed a slight change in usage of one building’s HVAC system. This fluctuation was analyzed against normal usage and an alert about the abnormality was sent to staff, preventing a massive electrical issue that would have caused thousands of students to be transferred, the district says.

IBM’s Smarter Buildings software has helped CCSD increase the percentage of actual billable hours spent on campus improvements and repairs — from 34 percent to more than 50 percent — according to IBM.


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