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Conservation contract renewed in District U-46


By Seth Hancock
  An update on a five-year contract with Cenergistic was given to the Board of Education in School District U-46 at its April 6 meeting, held electronically due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
  In 2017, the “energy saving” contract was approved at a cost of $59,988 for software as well as 50 percent of energy savings achieved through the pact.
  The district expected at the time to achieve $4.4 million in energy savings through the five years while Sheila Downs, director of plant operations said that $1.6 million in savings has been seen over the first two years of the contract.
  Downs called Cenergistic “our third-party energy conservation partner.”
  “They monitor our program within the plant operations department and just really help us optimize the building operations,” Downs said. “As a result, we have saved substantial revenue.”
  Downs added: “They are really influential in the department because they are able to have their energy specialist walk the buildings during the evenings and non-peak hours. So, we’re able to save a lot of energy because they’re able to identify things that we would have never known were running at 2 a.m.”
  The district claims 11.4 percent in consumption reduction since the contract began which it states equates to 4.3 billion smartphone charges, 8,780 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) reduced, 1,829 fewer cars on the road in a year and 225,116 tree seedlings being granted. Tree seedlings that do require CO2 to grow and survive.
  Downs stated that 71 kilowatts per square foot were used in November 2017 which has since been reduced to 62 now.
  Board member Melissa Owens asked if all U-46 buildings were monitored which Downs said: “We’re monitoring every building. Some of it is done manually because not all of our buildings have building automation systems updates. However, they are monitoring and walking every building within the district.”
  “A lot of those savings obviously come from the bigger schools,” Downs added. “So, the high schools and the secondaries are really a prime opportunity just because they host a lot of the afterhours events, and that’s really our opportunity to make sure that equipment that’s not needed isn’t running. But yes, it’s the district as a whole that contributes to these numbers.”

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