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State DOE to post classroom temperatures online

In an effort to monitor and adjust classroom temperatures, the state Department of Education says it will begin posting them online this month.

The DOE partnered with the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute to post classroom temperatures collected from nearly 100 of its public school campuses to the new HIDOE Thermal Comfort Portal.

“The Thermal Comfort portal is an important tool we use for heat abatement decisions,” said assistant superintendent Dann Carlson in a press release. “The public now has the opportunity to view the environmental conditions we monitor when determining the best cooling method for a classroom.”

Of the participating schools on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, nearly 37 have weather stations and 62 have indoor sensors that monitor classroom temperatures. Solar-powered weather stations mounted on some schools transmit data to a receiver in the school office, which is then posted to the website.

Teachers and students will have the opportunity to use the posted data for class projects, according to the education department.

Additionally, information on local microclimates – climates of small-scale areas – will be useful for sustainable design across Hawaii. In some cases, weather stations may be installed at specific schools when it is determined that mircoclimates caused by vegetation or urban development are creating heated conditions.

“The linkage to interior environmental conditions also offers the opportunity to further the understanding between environment and building performance,” said Rick Rocheleau, HNEI director. “HNEI has been using the data to analyze performance of its net-zero classrooms on both Oahu and Kauai with the ultimate goal of encouraging sustainable design.”

The new portal is part of a “cool schools” effort launched in 2016 following a summer with record-high temperatures.

The website was built by MKThink in collaboration with data analytics firm RoundhouseOne.

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