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Hen Hud Could Save Cash By Saving Energy

MONTROSE, N.Y. – Hendrick Hudson School District is hoping to realize long-term energy savings though a four-year contract with Energy Education, an energy consulting company.

“This is not about asking everyone to change their ways.  It is about asking everyone to pitch in and help.   Every student, staff and faculty member can help out by doing their part and following the policies and guidelines that we are going to set," said Dan Callahan, assistant principal at Hendrick Hudson High School and now part-time "energy education specialist."

A net savings of $432,257 is expected after implementation costs of $556,743, for the four years the district contracted with the firm. Costs will be paid out of the existing utility budget and savings are guaranteed as long as the district "substantially implements" Energy Education's program and keeps an Energy Education specialist on staff.

Savings are calculated from a baseline, or 12-month period before the program is instituted. So two years from now, the savings will still be calculated based on the 12-month baseline, gathered from utility bills from the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

"Most of our clients will tell you that students and teachers are more comfortable after we come in than before. How many times have you gone by a school building in the dead of winter and found the windows open because they're overheated?," asked Jan Noel-Smith, spokesperson for Energy Education.

"Most of the time when we're uncomfortable in a building we're wasting energy," she said. Adjusting thermostats and turning off lights at the end of the day is part of the program, said Noel-Smith, but systems that require specialized knowledge, like boilers and irrigation systems, are also adjusted during the contract.

Included in the contract is payment to Energy Education, Callahan's part-time pay as an "Energy Education specialist," annual travel to a conference and lease of third-party utility accounting software.  

Although savings are only guaranteed for the four years of the contract, Energy Education will provide support to the district free-of-charge under the condition that an Energy Education specialist remains employed by the district, an estimated annual cost of $29,900 for a part-time worker 10 years from now, and as long as that specialist continues to travel to Energy Education conferences. At that point, Energy Education estimates that the district could save a cumulative $2.5 million, compared to baseline rates where energy saving practices were not in place. 

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