John Paul College

Faced with rising energy costs, a significant carbon footprint, and a social responsibility to help the greater community in waste reduction, John Paul College realized the solution lay in better facilities energy management. As a leader in Eco Efficiency Research, implementing an Energy Management System was seen as the a viable path to cost reduction, reducing the operating environmental impact, and helping send the message that John Paul College is a visionary in Environmental sustainability.

John Paul College began implementing efficient water management practices five years ago. This innovative school then chose VRT Systems to assist them to introduce world's best practice to their commitment to sustainability. As part of this process, John Paul College have installed a CET PecStar integrated Energy Management System (EMS) which collects data from CET energy meters as well as pulse water meters connected via a Wavenis wireless mesh network.

In the middle of Stage 1 of the installation of an Energy Management System (EMS) based on products from a major international supplier of energy efficiency products. At a time when JPC was in crucial need of support for a delicate software migration exercise, they were let down seriously by their supplier who had just aggregated several regional Asia/Pacific support centres to a new centralised centre in China. Unfortunately they had lost their key support people during the transition. Lucas Gilroy, the Facilities Manager for the JPC campus, regarded this situation as unsustainable and immediately switched to CET products to be supplied by CETA Systems Integrator, VRT Systems. According to Gilroy, "we are extremely pleased with the support we have received form VRT and CETA since this dramatic decision to switch. The migration of over 12 months of energy and PQ data was performed flawlessly. We are so impressed with both the quality of the CET products and the levels of support from VRT and CETA, that we have entered into a higher level collaborative relationship with both parties."

Economic Benefits

The installation of their integrated Energy Management System gives their facilities management team all the information required to make informed decisions about their school. By monitoring their energy usage, John Paul College's facilities management staff can now establish whether air conditioning, lights or powered equipment are being used efficiently. By showing exactly how much it is costing to leave the computers turned on in a classroom, air conditioning in operation when not required or not turning the lights off, John Paul College's integrated Energy Management System enables staff to actively target cost saving goals.

When commissioning John Paul College's integrated Energy Management System, it was found that one building was using significantly more power than expected, especially as it was during school holidays. Further investigations led to the discovery that the air conditioning systems had been set incorrectly and were running at full capacity every 15 minutes whilst no one was occupying the building. These units were turned off over the remaining holiday period, saving the school an estimated $189 per week. Had the air conditioning been operating like this for the past year, it would have cost the school over $4,000 in unnecessary operating costs. And this was just one building. John Paul College claim energy savings of 30%, equating to $120K pa.

Environmental Benefits

Reducing energy usage has a direct effect on CO2 emissions. Each kilowatt-hour consumed releases approximately 1 kilogram of greenhouse gases. Every tonne of CO2 released approximates one hectare of mature rainforest. It can easily be seen that every reduction in energy usage results in a reduction of CO2, which relieves a huge burden on our environment.

Educational and Awareness Benefits

  • Linking sustainable operations into school curriculum and culture, John Paul College's commitment to eco efficiency research, development and practice is creating a holistic sustainable learning environment.
  • Information Technology students can utilise the data available via the web server to develop presentations, or go a step further and develop their own web page detailing the energy usage for their classroom.
  • Physics and mathematics students can discuss and learn about complex numbers (real and reactive power), trigonometry (phase angle, power factor), time domain (waveform capture) and the frequency domain (harmonics).
  • Science Enrichment Program is another area of the curriculum which can derive much benefit from this system, adding another layer of information available to the students with which to analyse real situations.
  • Energy Management can be another tool by which students learn social and fiscal responsibility.
  • All this information can be collected from any networked computer or mobile device within their school.

Enhancing Corporate Profile

Today, the 100-acre school has reduced water consumption from 88 mega litres to 18; completed Stage 1 of a three-stage plan to reduce energy consumption by 33 per cent; and introduced a campus-wide recycling program to cut waste this year by 30 per cent.

As validation and reward for their vision, John Paul College were recently awarded two Sustainability Awards for its dedication and commitment to operating in more sustainable ways.


2012 Winner - Premier's Sustainability Awards - Community Award

The Premier's Sustainability Awards is the Queensland Government's highest recognition of community and business leadership in sustainability, innovation and eco-efficiency. John Paul College was recognised for reducing its carbon emissions, taking action to abate climate change and improving business sustainability.


The John Paul College Story - How Power Quality Monitoring saves you money

As the cost of energy continues to rise, reducing energy consumption through energy efficiency measures is at the top of the agenda for most facilities management teams; and as a consequence, many are installing metering and monitoring systems to assist them in achieving this goal. However, Power Quality monitoring tends to be an afterthought, as there seems to be a lack of understanding about the relationship between poor Power Quality and costly equipment damage. As a consequence, many are falling into the trap of installing low end meters that only monitor consumption and utilising non-specialised monitoring systems such as their existing Building Management System (BMS) to manage their energy. Lucas Gilroy, the Facilties Manager at John Paul College (JPC) is an exception. Realising the need for a purpose built Energy Management System (EMS) at their 100 acre school in Brisbane, JPC partnered with VRT Systems to implement a CET PecStar integrated EMS, along with high accuracy CET Power Quality Meters on all of their school's incoming electrical supplies.

JPC's decision is paying off. Post implementation, they have not only achieved major reductions in energy consumption, their EMS captured waveforms depicting a poor power quality event that caused ~ $12,000 worth of damage to their electronic security system. The Manager of the JPC EMS, Lee Ryan, just happened to mention in passing during a presentation to JPC's School Board, that they recently "lost" a batch of electronic equipment. Checking Waveform Captures resulted  in the cause (and evidence). Given that the waveform was captured using their specialised EMS software and high accuracy Power Quality meters, JPC can now use this data to seek damages from their energy provider.


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