The Wakulla County School District is benefitting from a five-year partnership with energy conservation company Cenergistic. Using a behavior-focused approach, Cenergistic seeks to save institutions money while also teaching people the benefits of caring for their environment.
Says Superintendent Bobby Pearce, “Not only are we using the cost savings to put towards programs for our students, we are also being good stewards of the finite amount of energy we have available in this country.”
Some of the improvements that have been possible due to utility cost savings include the implementation of the Wakulla High School Welding Program, plus opening up the Welding shop for community classes at night. In addition, the long-awaited new WHS gym floor will be assured longevity due to better vigilance on keeping the correct temperature in the gym so the floor won’t buckle. New portables were also purchased in order to move the Wakulla Institute alternative school from Sopchoppy to a more centralized Crawfordville location.
Since partnering with Cenergistic from July 2012, the energy savings to the Wakulla School District is now at 30.2 percent. This energy reduction impact is equal to 2,047 passenger cars not driven for one year, or 251,916 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
Cenergistic seeks to empower their clients to reduce their energy and water footprint by 30 percent or more. The average of the current 22,000 facilities served is a 26 percent utility cost savings. Their clients consist of school districts, colleges and universities, healthcare facilities, and churches in 48 states.
Wakulla’s Energy Specialist Beth Brown notes, “I’m excited that we have broken the 30 percent mark in so short a time. The key to making this work is the buy-in from our Wakulla School District employees. I love working with the Maintenance Department. The foremen and crews at every school are willing to do whatever it takes to make this work, as are the teachers and other school personnel.”
Brown, previously a 22 year educator in the Wakulla school system, works diligently to get people on board with energy conservation, including electricity, gas, water and sewer costs. With her teaching background, she relies on an understanding of human behavior to help people see the benefits for themselves and for generations to come.
A typical day has her monitoring several schools’ energy use. She knows the after-hours and weekend schedules of all the schools and their events in order to personally be there to override the thermostat controls and adjust for exterior and interior lighting needs. In fact, she and the Wakulla Information Technology Department work together so she can monitor emails and websites advertising school events.
On a daily basis, Brown uses the computerized Energy Management System that lets her see all levels of energy output at the different school sites. “I have even uncovered a few areas where we were paying more than we should or paying for something like lights that were not even being used,” she says. “School personnel don’t have the time or the tools to monitor energy output to that extent.”
Partnering with Cenergistic is budget-neutral, meaning there are no upfront costs to get it going. The company states, “For over three decades we have revolutionized how our clients view, consume and use energy nationwide. Our behavioral-focused energy conservation approach is unique in the industry - changing behaviors to realize significant savings. It comes with no risk, no debt, and no equipment to buy.”
Adds Superintendent Pearce, “Conserving our natural resources while creating a better environment for our employees and students has made our partnership with Cenergistic worth keeping.”