Marshall County schools reduce energy consumption, save money

Friday, April 18, 2014

By Roy "Bam" Haislip

Energy Specialist

While the world celebrates Earth Day on April 22, Marshall County School District faculty, staff and students can participate as well, each one with a strong sense of satisfaction at having done his or her part to control energy use.

The district has an active energy-conservation program which has already achieved more than $82,000 savings through a 7.69 percent reduction in energy use over eight months. That savings translates into significant numbers for Earth Day, as well.

Since Marshall County schools began the program, energyconsumption has been reduced by 2,213 MMBtu. That reduction translates into the equivalent of 265 metric tons of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere, or 55 passenger cars removed from the road, or 6,786 trees planted. "MMBtu" means 1 Million British Thermal Units. One BTU is the amount of energy needed to cool or heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

For Earth Day, the district plans to continue its efforts, and invites the public to join in. Roy Haislip, Energy Specialist, said there are a number of resources available on the Internet that can help individuals learn how to save energy in their own homes.

"It's important for all of us to save energy. While most of the time we discuss it in terms of saving money, for Earth Day we encourage you to be concerned with our natural resources. Being good stewards of both our money and our environment gives us a great sense of satisfaction," said Haislip.

The prices for electricity, natural gas, heating oil and water have steadily increased over the past few years. To combat these rising energy and utility costs, the school system entered into a partnership with Cenergistic to implement a comprehensive organizational behavior-based energy-conservation program throughout all its buildings and campuses. Cenergistic guarantees the conservation program will save taxpayer dollars, save jobs, and preserve important programs while saving vital natural resources.

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 to 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.

Haislip also noted, "Although our partnership with Cenergistic is intended to conserve energy and save money, we are also dedicated to maintaining a comfortable learning environment for students and teachers at all times.

"The results of our efforts are clearly evident. However, our pace was somewhat slowed a bit for the first few months of this year due to an extremely harsh winter. Nevertheless," Haislip continued, "I am confident that our collaboration with Cenergistic and our renewed focus on the reduction of energy consumption will reap huge benefits for Marshall County School District and our environment for many years to come.

"The success of the program depends on everyone!" Haislip exclaimed. None of this would be possible without cooperation, and Haislip would like to thank

* the School Board for proactively implementing our program

* the community for supporting our energy program

* maintenance staff for executing changes in the HVAC systems

* custodians for setting back each night

* teachers for reducing energy waste in their classrooms

* principals and staff for coordinating efforts in their schools

For more information about Earth Day as well as conservation resources for your home, Haislip recommends:

www.epa.gov/earthday (see "Pick 5 for the Environment" for even more ways to save!); www.earthday.org; www.teachersfirst.com/holiday/earthday.cfm; and www.lessonplanet.com/teachers/lesson-plan-celebrating-earth-day.

For general conservation information, go to www.energystar.gov; www.planetpals.com; and www.michaelbluejay.com/electricity.