By Marianne Scott Rushville Republican
---- — As the nation celebrates Energy Awareness Month in October, Rush County School administrators are having a celebration of their own — announcing more than $136,266 savings achieved through an innovative energy conservation program.
The $136,266 savings is equal to 14.81 percent of the expected energy costs without the program. In environmental terms, the energy saved equates to 7,738 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions being prevented, or 136 autos off the highway annually or over 23,298 tree seedlings planted and grown in ten years.
“It is particularly appropriate to celebrate our savings this month, said Dr. John E. Williams, superintendent of Rush County Schools. Energy Awareness Month is all about teaching people to make good decisions about the energy they use, and that’s what our program does. Today, every person on our staff uses energy as needed and is careful to never waste energy. By implementing best practices for energy use throughout our system, we create savings, enhance the learning environment and retain dollars for education - it’s the right thing to do.”
The successful cost saving program is implemented through a partnership with Cenergistic, the nation’s leading organizational behavior based conservation company whose energy management program has saved more than $3.2 billion for educational and complex organizations.
Using Cenergistic’s process, Rush County Schools have built a customized and sustainable energy conservation program that reduces consumption of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and water through changes in organizational and human behavior.
Tom Simpson serves as energy specialist for Rush County Schools. He receives intensive training from Cenergistic energy consultants to determine and implement energy saving techniques throughout the system. He conducts energy audits to ensure that students, staff and faculty are comfortable during class time and scheduled activities, and that energy is used only as necessary. Cenergistic’s conservation experts work closely with Simpson to audit buildings and train personnel to control energy use wherever possible. Every energy-using item in the system including all heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, food service facilities, athletic facilities, offices and classrooms, auditoriums, cafeterias, information technology, and computer labs receive ongoing evaluation for the best, most efficient use of energy while ensuring that the learning environment is at its best.
To verify the program’s effectiveness, identify further saving opportunities and measure success, Mr. Simpson tracks energy consumption including electricity, water, sewer, natural gas and fuel oil using third party energy/accounting software from EnergyCAP, Inc. The software compares current energy use to a baseline period and calculates the amount of energy that would have been used if conservation and management practices had not been implemented. It adjusts for weather, equipment additions or deletions, and changes in building use. By tracking consumption and analyzing energy use, EnergyCAP® helps Simpson and Cenergistic quickly identify and correct any wasteful energy use that needs to be addressed.
All costs of the Cenergistic program come from the existing utility budget, with savings guaranteed to more than pay for the program. Additional savings can be reserved for other parts of the budget. Many organizations have credited this program with helping save jobs and programs that otherwise would have fallen victim to budget cuts. In addition, the conservation program is sustainable for years.
Cenergistic is a technology powered, data-driven energy conservation company. Cenergistic helps organizations reduce consumption of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and water. Its proven approach is built on a proprietary methodology, which optimizes clients’ infrastructure, improves internal processes and changes behavior to ensure that savings endure. This approach empowers the average client to save 20 – 30 percent off expected utility bills. For the past five years, Cenergistic has earned national recognition from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, including the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
“Pennies and Dimes . . . Millions of Times”
Marianne Scott is the Legacy Fund director/Information officer with Rush County Schools.