Utility program garners Best-In-Class recognition – Nets 21 percent savings
September 6, 2023
By Melissa Winn
The Community News
With the cost of utilities seeing some of its highest rates throughout Texas, it isn’t surprising that finding ways to cut those costs is at the top of everyone’s minds.
Luckily for Weatherford ISD, an initiative that began four years ago has produced $2.32 million in utility savings and earned the district recognition for being healthier and more efficient.
At a special meeting Aug. 28, representatives from Cenergistic, a company that helps clients understand how energy is consumed and provides solutions to minimize waste, shared with the district how its efforts and cost-saving measures equated to 21 percent savings and a 28 percent reduction in energy use.
Additionally, WISD earned a Best-In-Class designation after all 11 of its campuses received ENERGY STAR® Certifications from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The recognition is presented to the most efficient buildings and signifies each are in the top 25 percent.
“Weatherford ISD has created a stellar program,” said Dr. William S. Spears, CEO and Founder of Cenergistic, in an email. “Rising to the top in all the metrics — healthier, more efficient buildings; savings; and comfort, the district is truly Best-in-Class. [WISD Superintendent] Dr. Beau Rees and board, with other administration, faculty and staff members are to be commended for their leadership.”
ENERGY STAR® is a voluntary EPA program that helps business and individuals save money and protect the environment and has strict guidelines of 75 percent or higher to meet to earn the rating.
Since 2019, the rates for electricity and natural gas have risen dramatically. In the base year, electricity has gone from approximately 8 cents per kwh to now nearly 13 cents. Natural gas has risen to $1.47 from $1.15 and while the increase hasn’t been noticeable in water/sewer rates, it has changed by about 10 cents.
To arrive at the numbers, audits of each building are conducted. In the last 12 months alone, 1,087 audits were completed by Cenergistic’s Eric Akins, who works with district staff and his company’s engineers and other specialists, to optimize systems and schedules to get the best results.
“The outcome is healthier, more efficient buildings using less energy and lower related costs,” said Cenergistic’s Vice President Wayne Couldron.
As compared to the state, Weatherford ISD had 34 Energy Use Intensity (EUI) while the state averages 40.
Aside from the financial savings, WISD is also reducing its carbon footprint. Cari DuBose, Cenergistic’s Regional Vice President of Client Development, told trustees at the meeting that the energy not used prevents the emission of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.
According to EPA/EGrid figures, since the program began, Weatherford ISD has prevented carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 28 million miles not driven, 1.4 million smartphones charged, 190,000 pine trees grown for 10 years and almost 12,000 metric tons of CO2.
Due to the district’s efforts and recognition, Cenergistic representatives presented a banner to be displayed and donated $2,500 to the Weatherford ISD Education Foundation.