New program slated to save District 55 close to $1 million on utility costs

December 5, 2022

Staff Report

In an effort to continue fiscal responsibility at Laurens County School District 55 (LCSD 55), this academic year 2022-23, the district underwent a process of researching the Cenergistic program.

Cenergistic is a company focused on helping others achieve energy savings by applying sustainability principles and proprietary software. Cenergistic is the national leader in energy conservation and optimization.

According to the most recent South Carolina Department of Education risk assessment of federal sub-award recipients, LCSD 55 is identified as “Low Risk.” LCSD 55 prioritizes projects, matches resources where needed the most and monitors the budget closely. 

LCSD 55 Superintendent Dr. Ameca Thomas embarked on an LED update project starting in 2021. The LED project is now in four LCSD 55 schools. The project utilizes Duke Energy rebates and low-interest ConserFund financing, which will save the district over $100,000 per year in utility costs.

Steve Jones, Cenergistic Regional Vice President for Client Development, says Cenergistic could benefit the district by leveraging powerful technology and seasoned energy experts that will help return utility dollars to the classroom for higher student success rates. Cenergistic generally projects a 20%-30% reduction in utility costs.

LCSD 55 has independently confirmed with District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, that the Cenergistic program helped their district reduce energy consumption. Similarly, LCSD 55 independently confirmed with multiple districts in North Carolina about their savings under the Cenergistic program.

In September 2022, the LCSD 55 School Board approved for the district to go under a 5-year contract with Cenergistic. Under this contract, the projected 5-year program gross savings based on comparable properties is $1,540,000, and a net savings of $904,000.00 after applicable program investment fees.

A great feature of the program is it is budget neutral. LCSD 55 does not need to generate new funds to be able to invest in the Cenergistic program. The current 2% budget allocated for utilities will cover anticipated utility bills and fees for the Cenergistic program. Further, the district is not required to invest in new equipment to generate savings. District utility savings are guaranteed to be more than the investment.

Cenergistic guarantees to give LCSD 55 a yearly refund on the investment fees if no savings are generated for a specific year.

The vision for the Cenergistic program in LCSD 55 goes beyond helping the district achieve financial goals. This program will complement Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) programs in the district. It is also envisioned to help start and sustain a culture of energy conservation among students, staff members, and the community.

Dr. Thomas has the vision to redirect savings from the Cenergistic program by sending them directly to the classrooms to address achievement gaps, educational needs, instructional resources, funding positions, and valuable programs, and to update current facilities.