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The Bursar

An Insider’s Guide to Australian School Management Issue 4

A Win-Win Maintenance Agreement to Rely On “AE Smith is reliable, trustworthy and timely; they service and maintain our air conditioning systems proactively and have overcome various engineering difficulties that come with a 20-year old campus” Sue Kinsella, Business Manager, Mater Dei College, Perth

With more than 1000 students, and 140 staff members, Mater Dei College (MDC) in the northern suburbs of Perth needs heating and cooling it can rely on.

engineers have been proactive in finding ways to improve the system and deliver the best possible outcomes, despite the original design faults.

Built more than 20 years ago, the sprawling campus, on eight hectares of land in Edgewater, had some issues with venting and design of the original Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. Issues AE Smith has had to overcome.

Comprehensive agreement

And MDC Business Manager Sue Kinsella says that the AE Smith

This gives Mater Dei College a set price each year for all repairs and

The College has had a relationship with AE Smith for about 15 years, and for the past several years has had all its HVAC maintenance and repairs come under a single comprehensive agreement.

replacements, which makes it easier for the college to budget and pragmatically means, as AE Smith Perth Business Development Manager Geoff Binns says, “It’s in our best interest to do it properly because if it breaks down, it costs AE Smith money.” Geoff has worked with Sue for about 10 years, strengthening a relationship built on trust, customer service, reliability and professionalism. >> Continued page 3

Bright lights kill germs in the classroom Left unchecked, air conditioners in public buildings can be notorious for spreading germs, and there is no better environment for germs than a busy school. But Ultra-Violet C (UVC) technology is gaining the upper hand in the war against the spread of germs, with one US school, Crescent Avenue Christian Preschool in California reporting a 20 per cent drop in student absenteeism (and a 50 per cent reduction in staff sick days) since installing the UVC technology.1 The good news for Australian schools is that Steril-Aire UVC technology – developed specifically for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry – is now available here. AE Smith Perth General Manager Graeme Stewart said Ultra-Violet technology had been shown to kill all types of microbes, including bacteria, mold and viruses, too small to be trapped by normal air filters. “UV light has been used for water treatment for a while, but it was only recently that the technology has been developed to enable it to work in cold and moving air, killing germs at their source,” Graeme said. “In cooling-mode, an air conditioner can be a perfect breeding ground for mold, which can affect upperrespitory health, induce allergic reactions and be particularly nasty for asthmatic students and teachers. Steril-Aire, Case study, UVC Goes to School. Steril-Aire. Image source: Steril-Aire. 1


“On top of this, poorly maintained air conditioners spread germs from the bacteria and viruses that enter the system. “This can lead to cold and flu outbreaks, absenteeism and a loss of classroom time. Not to mention kids taking germs home to share with their family.” Case studies overseas have shown that the high-output Sterile-Aire UVC Emitters remove both biofilm and microbes, leading to air conditioning systems that are 99 per cent free of viruses, bacteria and mold.2 They have even been used in art galleries and museums to preserve precious, historical artwork and papers – including the world’s largest collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings. “And apart from the health benefits, a cleaner air conditioniner also leads to reduced running costs as biofilm makes the chiller in a HVAC system work harder than it has too, using more energy.” Graeme said.

“This makes UVC devices a win-win-win for schools looking to reduce absenteeism, improve indoor air quaility and enhance their budget position.” Steril-Aire UVC Emitters are simple to install and depending on the size of the air coniditioning system can offer a return on investment (ROI) in as little as two years. Winner of numerous awards and patents for innovation, Sterile-Aire Ultra-Violet C (UVC) emitters have a proven ability to increase the cleanliness and energy efficiency of HVAC systems – significantly improving indoor air quality while reducing power bills. In a school environment, UVC emitters help ensure staff and students a safe, comfortable learning environment. “I’ve got two kids. Both of them of school age. I know it would make my wife and I feel more comfortable knowing my kid’s school had UV germ-killing machines in every classroom,” said Graeme.

Fixed-price Maintenance Contract Means No Nasty Surprises For Mater Dei College

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But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, some seven or eight years ago Sue and Geoff had some “heated meetings” in regards to service delivery. From that robust conversation, the comprehensive agreement was born, and both parties are now big supporters of each other. Sue, who is leaving the college at the end of the year, would recommend AE Smith’s comprehensive maintenance and repairs agreement to her private school peers, as well as other organisations faced with heating and cooling a number of different types of rooms and offices. “Things are so much better. We get great customer service and I have a strong, positive relationship with Geoff,” she said, adding that the fixed pricing was also a big plus.

Win-Win According to Geoff, AE Smith is all about building relationships, rather than a “quick fix”. “We believe in helping people in everything we do, which means doing things right,” he said. “Mater Dei trusts us – we are good at what we do and we view everything we do from a long-term perspective.” Under the comprehensive agreement, AE Smith “does so much proactive maintenance that the system doesn’t break down very often.” Even in the peak of a Perth summer. “It’s a win-win.” Sue agrees, saying AE Smith attends to any problems in a timely fashion, and has been very proactive in overcoming the various engineering difficulties that come with a 20-year old campus. And the fixed-price agreement means there are no nasty surprises when the bill comes.

The Bursar – An Insider’s Guide to Australian School Management

About Mater Dei College Mater Dei College, Edgewater, is a Catholic co-educational college established in 1993 to serve communities in the northern suburbs of Perth. The College offers a rich program in the Marian tradition of Catholic Education based on the pillars of Faith, Community, Service and Learning. The curriculum is extensive with a particular emphasis on performing and creative arts, design and technology, languages and learning technologies. For more information visit

When the cooling’s on and no-one’s home As energy costs rise, while budgets stay fixed, the last thing schools need is to find air conditioners in empty classrooms have been accidently left on overnight. Or worse; over the entire school holidays! It’s a simple mistake to make, but one that can add up to a lot of money over the course of a year. Which is why a new wall-mounted sensor control that automatically turns off air conditioning units in empty classrooms is turning heads. “Left unchecked the cost to run air conditioners in summer can quickly turn into a major budget line item. So controlling the use of classroom cooling systems can make a big difference to a school’s electricity bill,” AE Smith Perth General Manager, Graeme Stewart said.

“Easy to use technology like this can also help spread the message about responsible energy use amongst teachers and children alike. Being a dad myself, it wouldn’t surprise me if my daughter came home from school one day and asked why we didn’t have the same thing at home!”

mounted split systems. And while it relies on mains power, battery backup is also available.

The product uses a passive smart switch and motion sensors to identify when a classroom – or any other room – has been left empty for a pre-set time (usually 15, 30 or 45 minutes) and then automatically turns off the air conditioning system.

“Home or school, sooner or later we all do it – forget to turn the air con off,” Graeme said.

It is simple to install and can be retrofitted to existing systems and standalone units like wall

Compatible with all remotecontrolled air conditioning units, this product is designed to be retrofitted without affecting the warranty of existing equipment.

“This product steps in when we forget – ultimately saving the school money. Multiply this by however many classrooms you have and it’s not too hard to imagine a device like this paying for itself pretty quickly.”

1300 313 313 brisbane cairns gold coast hobart mackay melbourne perth rockhampton sydney townsville ‘The Bursar’ is a newsletter published by AE Smith & Son Pty Ltd ABN 54 004 274 793. Subscription is free and available directly from AE Smith. ©2014 AE Smith & Son Pty Ltd. The information contained in this newsletter is given in good faith. To the maximum extent permitted by law, neither AE Smith, its employees or contractors accept any liability for loss or damage arising as a result of any person acting on information contained in this newsletter. This newsletter should not be used or relied on as a substitute for detailed professional consultation with AE Smith.

The Bursar #4 - An insiders guide to Australian school management  

A Win-Win Maintenance Agreement to Rely On | Bright Lights Kill Germs in the Classroom | When the Cooling's On and No-one's Home

The Bursar #4 - An insiders guide to Australian school management  

A Win-Win Maintenance Agreement to Rely On | Bright Lights Kill Germs in the Classroom | When the Cooling's On and No-one's Home