New Jersey

Schools save over $1M in energy costs

 The Board of Education was presented with an “Environmental Excellence Award” for saving over $1 million over past 42 months as a result of energy conservation.Charles Fasnacht, Cenergestic regional president, presented the award to the board during its June 24 meeting.”Cenergistic is a savings partner which we have been using the last few years in the district as part of our energy reduction and cost savings program,” said Carol Boyne, board president. “We hit a major milestone this year in terms of savings and so they are here to present the team with an award.”

Mr. Fasnacht said, “Cenergistic the energy conservation company recognizes the district for conserving our nation’s precious resources through the excellent implementation of Cenergistic’s energy management program, and serving as a model of energy conservation to fellow educational organizations. Robbinsville schools is hereby presented the Environmental Excellence Award for outstanding environmental and financial resource stewardship over $1,148,000 in savings in over 42 months.”

He continued, “We have been partnering with the school system for the past 42 months. In that time you have been quite successful in energy conservation in fact to the tune of 26 percent.”

   Mr. Fasnacht said “we consider this a leadership award.””It’s really a team effort so that everybody is part of the solution for energy conservation,” he said.John Blair, energy educator, also took a few minutes to speak after the award was presented.

”I wanted to give a big thank you because it’s more than just one person, it is an entire group,” said Mr. Blair, adding that every single person who works in the Robbinsville School District is responsible for the award and savings.

The country, in general, wastes about 25 percent of the energy it uses, he said.

”All we are doing here is taking the equipment that we have and using it as efficiently as possible and also changing the behavior of all of the employees in the district,” he said. “It doesn’t cost anything to do that. We can’t control the cost of electricity or gas. We can’t control the weather but we can control our behavior.”

Simple things help save energy including shutting off the light when leaving a room, turning off a computer monitor at the end of the day and adjusting thermostats, he said.

He highlighted the efforts of Hugo Estrada and All Cleaning as well as several other people.

”When we first started this All Cleaning would see me coming into the building when the schools were closed and all of a sudden the lights would start going off,” he said. “Now you go and the lights are off. See the behavior change. They only light up the hallways they are working in.”

He noted that Pam Watson in the Board of Education office reviews the bill for mistakes that add up to additional savings for the district.

”If she sees a mistake in the bill she highlights it so I can find it,” he said. “Believe it or not, I would say at least, and I am estimating here, a $100,000 of that savings is due to the clerical errors on the part of PSE&G and JCP&L because if they do make a mistake it is going to be in their favor obviously.”

He also noted that the air conditioning no longer runs all day long during the summer or in unoccupied classrooms.

”He (Greg Grafton) has adjusted the time of day schedule,” he said.

Superintendent Steven Mayer took a minute to note the reality of the savings.

”The reality is we have roofs because of this,” said Mr. Mayer. “We have programs that we have been able to hang onto because of this. These savings have really gone directly to help the district, which I think the board can be very proud of. Kudos to you guys for doing a great job.”

   Ms. Boyne noted that the “savings are reinvested.””The savings are things that we reinvest into the programs for the students,” Ms. Boyne said. “This is one of the many programs that we do. It’s really about reducing the costs of operations so that we can reinvest into student activities.”The board got creative in displaying to the public what $1 million dollars in savings looks like by spelling it out with cupcakes, fake $20 bills, fake $100 bills, and showing its weight with a bar bell and comparisons to what a million dollars could be spent on in different eras.

Click here to view original article on The Messenger-Press.