Wakulla County public school system is seeing a 29.5 percent decrease in funds being spent on its water, sewer, electric, and propane bills over the last two years. “This is not only a savings for the school district to be able to use these dollars more effectively in the classrooms, it is also a wiser use of the taxpayers’ dollars,” states Superintendent Bobby Pearce.
Plus, this greenhouse gas reduction improves the environment as Wakulla partners with Cenergistic, an Energy Conservation Company whose mission includes, “To empower our clients to reduce their energy and water footprint by 30 percent and more.”
Wakulla County School Board first partnered with Cenergistic in 2012 by hiring former Medart Elementary teacher Beth Brown as its Energy Education Specialist. After extensive training with Cenergistic, she spent a full year gathering baseline data at each school site on their water, sewer, electric, and propane usage.
Cenergistic works by analyzing the infrastructure of a system and giving ways for the Energy Education Specialist to help people change their behavior to reduce consumption, much like getting into the habit of turning off lights when you leave a room at home.
Brown works on establishing relationships with the people at each school site and is appreciative of how receptive they have been to helping the school district improve, plus helping to improve the environment.
Observes Brown, “This success would not be possible without all the Wakulla County School District stakeholders’ help. During the school year, faculty and staff turn off lights, computers, and more when not in use. We schedule HVAC to be on only when areas are occupied. We unplug everything we can during the summer. The Operations Foremen and custodial staffs work in groups so that we can run the air conditioning in specific areas. Cafeteria Managers unplug kitchen equipment when the kitchens are unoccupied. It truly is a systemic effort.”
Cenergistic was founded in 1986 as Energy Education and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Their clients are in 48 states and include school districts, colleges, healthcare institutions, and churches.
One concrete way to explain the almost 30 percent cost avoidance since 2012 is to compare the Wakulla School District energy reduction of 27,687,238 kilowatts (kBTU) to 900 passenger cars not driven for one year, or to 110,748 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
“Many of our teachers and staff are passionate about the environment, especially living in beautiful Wakulla. They appreciate having more tools to help teach their students about why we should care about our energy consumption and how we can make the world a better place,” notes Superintendent Pearce. “The School District is a great practical example to use.”