Lawrence School transportation department has a diesel bus fleet of 186 buses which utilize block heaters during winter months to ensure bus engines are warm. A warm diesel engine starts much easier than a cold engine, so block heating is a necessary option. A typical block heater can range from 900 to 1500 watts when they are plugged in by the drivers.
The issue for school transportation:
Lawrence Township school transportation department is spending $47,000 each year in electrical costs with the majority of the usage during the winter months when all 186 school buses are plugged in and block heaters are energized. 20 hours each day throughout the week the 186 buses are consuming 1.0 Watts of electricity and 48 hours during the weekend.
Impressive Cost savings Solution:
Lawrence Township school transportation department chose PowerSync Intelligent block heater controller as the solution to reduce block heating electrical usage. PowerSync’s controller can manage up to 48 buses in one single panel with patented control algorithms and nightly and mid-day schedules. The PowerSync panels can deliver up to 80% reduction is electrical usage.
The results are based on the previous year’s usage with no block heater controls. The savings are all based off their current rate of $.17 / kWh.
• October 2018 Usage – 54360 kWh • October 2019 Usage – 25440 kWh
o 53.2% kWh reduction – 28,920 kWh
• November 2018 usage – 94,200 kWh • November 2019 usage – 30,720 kWh
o 67.4% kWh reduction – 63,480 kWh
• December 2018 usage – 99,650 kWh • December 2019 usage – 23,320
o 76.6% kwh reduction – 76,330 kWh
• January 2019 usage – 85,800 kWh • January 2020 usage – 5044 kWh
o 94% kWh reduction – 80,756 kWh
• February 2019 usage – 90,360 kWh • February 2020 usage – 29,760 kWh
o 67% kWh reduction – 60,600 kWh
• March 2019 usage – 77,760 kWh • March 2020 usage – 17,760 kWh
o 77% kWh reduction – 60,000 kWh
The Cost to use block heaters
School bus block heaters the electric cost is determined by kilowatt hour use (kw/hr). For example: a 1500 watt school bus engine heater uses 1.5 (one and one half) kilowatt hour of electricity (1500 watt = 1.5 kilowatt). If your electrical cost is $0.10 per kilowatt hour use, a 1500 watt school bus engine heater would cost $0.15 (15 cents) per hour to operate.
A typical school bus is plugged in 20 hours per day, so the cost is $3.00 per day or $15.00 for M – F and $5.40 for Sat & Sun. (36 hours) Your weekly cost per bus will be $20.40. The average winter season is about 20 weeks so the annual cost per bus would be $408. Now multiple $408 by the number of buses in your fleet…the number is staggering!
Many schools we deal with usually don’t realize the cost to plug the buses when using engine block heating warmers in during the winter, so once we show them the annual electric cost and then the PowerSync solution, it’s usually a no brainer. PowerSync’s incredible savings and a quick ROI, just makes good financial sense for any fleet owner.