Program saves schools nearly half million in energy costs

Sunday Times Newspapers


TRENTON — In a welcome change of pace amid recent tough budgeting decisions, an announcement of greater-than-expected savings was on the Trenton Public Schools Board of Education’s agenda Monday.


From October 2006 to March 2009, the district saved about 19 percent, or $479,000, on its energy costs as part of its agreement with Energy Education Inc. of Dallas.


The company’s projections called for a savings of $110,000 in the first year, and Trenton saved $150,000. The news for the second year was even better, as the district more than doubled the estimated savings of $101,000 and instead kept from spending $211,000. From October 2008 to March of this year, the district saved 19 percent on its energy costs, or $133,000.


Though the district is committed to a contract that pays the company$6,100 a month for 48 months, Supt. John Savel said officials signed up for the program because it stipulates that energy savings will at least equal the program cost, and if not, the company reimburses the district.


“It’s a win-win for the district,” he said. “It’s a very safe program to enter into, and we were very pleased with the results. I really believe having somebody who’s been through it before increases the chances for success.”


Next year is the last year of the contract, Savel said, and it will continue to provide training and advice at no charge after that.


He credited administrators and building officials with helping implement the company’s recommendations, saying that they’ve been doing things like turning off lights in rooms that aren’t being used, as well as switching off computers, printers and coffee pots during down times.


They’ve also been working to see that problems get addressed, he said, and that broken windows get replaced promptly.


“By doing that, you get the results,” Savel said.


Planned renovations on district buildings will continue to benefit the district with additional energy cost reductions, he said.


“With the construction we’re doing and the mind-sets that we’re changing, we think it will get even better,” Savel said.