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Energy-saving lights and 'Inteli-Sockets' help cut costs for WCC

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Apr 16 2013 06:56:00 PM HST

Windward Community College got slammed with energy costs so high that everything from new equipment to staff got moved to the back burner.

HONOLULU -

"I was hard to swallow for the whole campus, because it was so unexpected," said Windward Community College Vice-Chancellor Kevin Ishida.

He said, at the time, knew he had an energy emergency on his hands when rates skyrocketed 40 percent.

"We increased our energy costs by almost $500,000," he said.

The college decided to deconstruct their costs, to find out what was costing so much anyway.

"This is probably 20 something years old," said Ibis Networks President Mike Pfeffer, looking at a fridge hidden in a back office room.

His company installed five of its smart sockets to analyze costs and remotely turn machines off when it wasn't needed.

What they found out was dramatic.

"They're not designed to be particularly good refrigerators. They're designed to sell cold soda," he said pointing to one of the college's vending machines.

"That thing's probably using $800-900 a year. If you have a bunch of vending machines, that's a lot," he told Ishida.

"This air conditioning unit clearly a big problem," Pfeffer continued.

"$2,112 A month, with an annual savings of $25,344 a year. Wow. That's tremendous," said Ishida.

"This was built as a LED building," he told KITV reporter Lara Yamada during a walk across campus to WCC's new library.

It's part of a system-wide initiative.

The new library was built to use less energy. It even has waterless urinals.

And the campus recently replaced all of its lights.

If you put everything together including energy saving lights, a different kind of air conditioner, and special sockets that control things, campus-wide, the college estimates it can save some $260,000 a year.

"It affects the students and the classrooms," said Ishida.

He said other community colleges are installing photovoltaics to reduce rates overall, in an effort to put the money back where it belongs.

"We're trying to be more aware," he said.

Ishida said Windward just doesn't get enough sunlight to benefit from photovoltaics, but Leeward, Kapiolani and Honolulu do.

The community college system should be able to sell back that energy and get reduced rates overall.

He's also considering installing more of those "Inteli-Sockets" on everything from water coolers, to projectors, to computers.
 

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