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TECH | Case Study: Imperial Unified School District Uses Venstar’s Skyport Cloud

 October, 23rd 2017     Comments     Views

Brandon Machado uses his mobile phone to remotely control ColorTouch thermostats across the district

Venstar®, a leading thermostat and energy management systems supplier, recently announced that Imperial Unified School District is using Venstar’s Skyport® Cloud to remotely control more than 340 Venstar ColorTouch® commercial touchscreen thermostats in classrooms and auditoriums at its campuses in Imperial City, Calif.

Challenge:  Remotely Control HVAC Performance in Classrooms and Auditoriums

Brandon Machado is responsible for maintenance utilities and HVAC for the Imperial Unified School District. Located in Southern California near the Arizona and Mexico borders, Imperial City has temperatures that range from below freezing on winter nights to more than 120 degrees on hot summer days, making efficient HVAC essential. With more than 340 thermostats across six campuses, Machado wanted to be able to remotely monitor, control and make global changes across all the thermostats via the district network as well as be alerted remotely of any HVAC issues.

Solution:  Venstar’s ColorTouch Thermostat With Skyport Wi-Fi Services

Using Venstar’s ColorTouch commercial thermostat, Machado uses his mobile phone or desktop computer to remotely access and control ColorTouch thermostats anywhere on the district’s six campuses. Whether he’s in his office, at home or traveling, he can quickly and easily access the ColorTouch thermostats using Venstar’s free Skyport Mobile App via the on-campus Wi-Fi® networks or virtually anywhere there is Internet access.

Machado relies on Skyport’s global changes feature, which allows him to make the same change to all the thermostats on the network. At the beginning of the school year, he checks to make sure the system run times are appropriate and updates all the holidays and school vacation days. On days when school is not in session, the thermostats are set to the unoccupied setting. Being able to program the thermostats for 365 days per year helps to ensure that HVAC systems are not running unnecessarily. ColorTouch also has an automatic time change for daylight savings time.

In addition to managing room temperatures, Machado also uses Skyport to monitor the temperatures of two or three walk-in freezers in the cafeterias at each of the campuses. If the temperatures vary outside of the setpoints, he is automatically notified so he can quickly take care of the issue.

The classroom thermostats are programmed with setpoint limiting, giving occupants some flexibility of temperature within reasonable limits. They can change the room temperature by a few degrees without a passcode, allowing them to set their own comfortable temperatures while maintaining the security of the thermostats. Since the keypads remain locked, no other changes can be made. If there are complaints about classrooms being too hot or too cold, Machado can use Venstar’s Skyport to check the room temperatures, allowing him to respond quickly to any potential problems.

The Skyport Mobile App also allows Machado to send text messages directly to the thermostats, which display the messages right on the color touchscreen. He uses the messaging feature to send text messages to teachers to let them know when the thermostats are being serviced.

Before the ColorTouch thermostats were installed, the schools had non-programmable thermostats, and anyone could change the temperature. During hot days, they were frequently turned down to 60 degrees, which ran up energy costs and could even damage the HVAC system. It was also time-consuming for Machado and his team to manually program each thermostat, which took days.

The school district also uses Venstar’s remote-mounted temperature sensors in school gyms and some cafeterias where thermostats are located in separate rooms. According to Machado, the remote sensor gives an accurate reading to help ensure comfortable environments.

Results: Remote Control for Comfortable Classrooms, Energy Savings

Venstar’s ColorTouch with Skyport Cloud Services helps ensure consistent, comfortable temperatures in all buildings at the Imperial Unified School District campuses, no matter how hot or cold it is outside. Skyport Cloud Services provide remote access to the thermostats so Machado can easily access, monitor and program the thermostats from virtually anywhere there’s Internet access, including his mobile phone.

Using Skyport’s global changes feature saves Machado and his team days’ worth of work. Because all the changes can be done for all 340+ thermostats at the same time from a computer or mobile device, there’s no need for them to visit each of the thermostats to make programming changes.

Since the ColorTouch thermostats were installed, the district has had a significant savings on its energy costs. The thermostats are also helping to extend the life of the HVAC equipment at the schools since notifications are sent whenever the temperatures are outside of the setpoint limits, allowing Machado and his team to solve issues before they become real problems.

Machado said, “Venstar’s ColorTouch with Skyport is the Ferrari of thermostats, and we have the key to ensure a smooth-running and powerful experience.”

About ColorTouch Commercial Touchscreen Thermostat With Wi-Fi Inside

The ColorTouch commercial thermostat is a multi-functional, simple-to-use, touchscreen, smart thermostat designed for commercial installations. The ColorTouch commercial model includes a 365-day holiday programmer, automatically updatable firmware and added security for public display.

Select ColorTouch models offer Wi-Fi inside for remote monitoring and control of multiple thermostats at numerous locations using Venstar’s free Skyport Cloud Mobile App on their Apple iOS®, Android™, and BlackBerry® mobile devices or directly from the Web. Select models also include humidity control. ColorTouch thermostats are compatible with Venstar’s Wireless Temperature Sensor, which can be used for remote temperature sensing, outdoor temperature sensing, supply air temperature or return air temperature.

With the ColorTouch commercial model, users can display their business logos, advertisements or promotions on their thermostat screens as a slideshow screensaver or background wallpaper. ColorTouch is priced at approximately half the cost of competitive touchscreen thermostats.

About Imperial Unified School District

Imperial Unified School District is committed to maximizing each student’s potential to learn so they graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve significant educational, civic and personal goals to enrich society. The district encompasses six campuses in the City of Imperial, California.

About Venstar Inc.

Venstar Inc. is a leading thermostat and energy management system (EMS) manufacturer, known for providing value to its customers via ease of use and installation, proven cost savings, improved energy efficiency, quality and reliability. Founded in 1992, Venstar is one of the largest thermostat suppliers in the world and designs and produces Venstar-branded products, as well as OEM thermostat products for the biggest names in HVAC.  Venstar’s Surveyor is a leading energy management system, typically saving small-box retailers 20–35 percent of their energy costs, which translates to tens of millions of dollars in savings each year and dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions. Surveyor currently controls the energy usage of 25,000+ retail locations across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

For more information, visit Venstar:, email:, or telephone: 818-341-8760.