MINSTER — Garmann/Miller Architects-Engineers (GMAE) was the recipient of the Most Innovative Project award made during American Electric Power Ohio’s Energy Efficiency Awards program, Jan. 30 in Lima.
The firm earned the regional distinction for its recent technology design of a Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) for Fostoria City Schools’ new and renovated buildings.
“It’s an honor to be recognized as a leader in energy efficiency,” said GMAE CEO Eric Baltzell. “This award shows our team’s commitment to creating sustainable solutions that translate into real savings for our clients.”
GMAE’s GPON model allows for smaller, fiber-cabling pathways that produce significant utility cost savings compared to a traditional technology network. According to Baltzell, his firm’s design is 10 to 20 percent more efficient than traditional information technology networks.
“The key is less copper cable and more fiber optics,” he said. “The GPON model consumes much less energy during a longer service life; it simply takes less power to move more data, which results in a smaller footprint and lower electric bills.”
Fostoria City Schools Superintendent Andrew Sprang said three factors contributed to using this innovative technology: support, space and savings. GPON delivered a strong enough network to support the digital education needs in Fostoria’s classrooms. It also allowed for more square footage in the buildings for academic space as multiple cooling closets for traditional servers were not needed. This lowers utility costs for the district.
“By having these savings, we were able to include other alternates on the project,” Sprang said.
GMAE is a member of AEP Ohio’s Solution Provider Network, which connects business customers with engineers, architects, contractors and other vendors who have been trained on AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency programs.
Angie Rybalt, AEP’s energy efficiency coordinator principal, said the goal of her programs is to promote the most efficient technology methods. “In the end, the customer gets innovative tools in their building that use less energy than they would have had they not made these choices.”