New Jersey

Middle Township schools save on energy by modifying behavior

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — Middle Township Public Schools are saving big with energy-efficient behavior — and now those good habits have earned the schools national recognition, a school official said recently.

Middle Township schools have saved about $600,000 over the last three years, after working with Cenergistic, a national energy conservation company, which will present the schools with its environmental excellence award this month, said Superintendent Michael Kopakowski.

“What this program has enabled us to do is to stabilize our energy costs,” Kopakowski said. “We’re able to take the money we save and put it into educational programs.”

According to Kopakowski, the schools haven’t budgeted more for energy over the years.

“The program has eliminated our increases,” he said.

The superintendent said the schools were able save money on energy by changing the behavior of the staff to look for ways to save energy.

“Cenergistic looked at all of our boilers and chillers, and they looked at our gas and electric bills,” Kopakowski said.

“There were simple things, like shutting down the computers in the computer lab at the end of the day,” he said. “Or the Performing Arts Center: When it’s dark, and there’s no one there, there’s no need to run those systems.”

Turning off lights and shutting down computers has become second nature to the staff over the years.

“It was probably more difficult three years ago, but it’s gotten easier,” he said.

Kopakowski credited Scott Webster, security director for the schools, as the driving force behind the program.

“Scott’s really been on top of it,” Kopakowski said. “He’s good at working with the staff to manage energy costs.”

It can be difficult to ask people to change their habits, the superintendent said. “But Scott has a way with people.”

William Spears, chairman and founder of Cenergistic, said that saving about $600,000 is a significant achievement

“Middle Township Public Schools has done an excellent job of implementing Cenergistic’s organizational behavior-based approach to energy conservation and maintaining productive efforts at all levels of the organization,” he said in a statement.

The conservation program examines all areas of energy use throughout the schools, including: natural gas and electricity, water and sewer, HVAC systems, and mechanical systems.

Webster tracks energy consumption — including electricity and natural gas — using energy-accounting software, Kopakowski said.

The superintendent said Webster compares current energy use to a baseline period and calculates the amount of energy that would have been used had conservation and management practices not been implemented.

By tracking consumption and analyzing energy use, Webster can identify and correct areas that need attention.

Click here to view original article from The Middle Township Gazette.