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Customer Case Study

Technology Helps School District Curtail Energy Costs



  • Education, K-12

  • Newtown, PA

  • 1,400 employees


  • Reduce energy costs with a "Go Green" program to help deal with budget pressures and environmental initiatives

  • Improve information-sharing and communications across the district

  • Save money and improve efficiency by applying best practices across operational areas


  • End-to-end Cisco network based on Catalyst switches provides reliable, high-performance, low-maintenance infrastructure

  • Wireless in every school allows facilities engineers to check energy systems from anywhere

  • Cisco Unified Communications provides teachers and administration with dedicated extensions, voicemail, four-digit extensions across the district, and more


  • Curtailing energy consumption by 42.7 percent has saved US$5.3 million in district budget

  • Replacing school PBXs with IP telephony saved about $75,000 the first year

  • Network uptime has increased from 67 percent to over 99.9 percent

Cisco solutions help Council Rock School District save millions with network-based control of energy systems.

Business Challenge

Council Rock School District (CRSD) is the ninth largest school district in Pennsylvania, U.S.A., serving about 12,400 K-12 students. CRSD includes ten elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools, and participates in the local vocational-technical school. With over 1400 full-time staff, including teachers, supervisors, clerical, custodial, maintenance, and cafeteria employees, CRSD is the largest employer in the area.

Like most school districts, CRSD deals with constant budget pressures that only increase in tough economic times. When he joined the district, new superintendent Mark Klein charged his staff with benchmarking all aspects of operations against industry best practices, looking for areas to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

In 2005, the administration projected that by 2008 the district's annual energy budget would exceed US$5 million. Robert Schoch, director of business administration, presented a proposal to curtail energy consumption by 10 to 15 percent by adjusting energy usage to actual needs. However, the success of the plan depended heavily on the ability of the facilities department to monitor and control all of the district's heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems remotely over the district's wide-area network (WAN).

An aging ATM network connected the district's seventeen buildings. If the WAN was available three days a week, it was considered a good week. Each building was on a separate network domain, so there was no way to share information across the district, or sometimes even across a hallway. The plan for wireless “clouds” in every building had stopped at a single wireless access point in each library. IP phones had been purchased but never unpacked.

© 2009 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.

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