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Schools save $1.35 million on energy costs, report says

Henderson County Public Schools' commitment to energy savings has earned a cost savings of more than $1.35 million during the past three years after adjusting for rate increases, an energy consultant says.

The county partnered with EduCon, a Winston-Salem based energy conservation consulting company, to help the school system reduce energy consumption and costs, which in most cases is the second highest line-item in a school system's budget.

Henderson recently completed its three year program with EduCon and the adjusted cost saving of $1,353,721 was achieved without sacrificing safety and comfort or having a negative impact on programs, the consultant reported.

"Henderson County has achieved increased energy savings each year of the program and based on first six months of the current year, they are on their way to having even greater savings in year four," said Nelson Jessup, president, EduCon.

Jessup, a former teacher and administrator, is highly experienced with school systems and knows the challenges they face when trying to balance a budget or find sufficient local funding for programs that are in jeopardy of being cut. "Our program is focused on awareness and change of current behavior without requiring additional staff time, effort and costs," he said.

EduCon works closely with a school system's energy manager to examine all areas of energy consumption. Energy Master Pro, an energy tracking software, is utilized to analyze trends, identify potential problems, provide reports, calculate energy and dollar savings and provide a basis for important energy management decisions.

"We have been truly amazed at the cost savings we were able to achieve and this partnership has taken us to a new level of energy conservation and savings," Dave Lyons, energy manager for Henderson County schools, said in a news release. "As rate increases will continue to rise, conservation as we have learned during the past three years will be even more important."
In addition to the monetary savings that Henderson County has accumulated, the reduction in energy consumption is equally impressive. Electricity usage during the past three years has been reduced by more than 10 million KWH and carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) have been reduced by almost 16,350,000 pounds. "That's the equivalent to eliminating 1,090 cars or planting 2,229 acres of trees," said Jessup.

Employees' hard work also contributed to all 23 school facilities, schools and administration buildings, earning the coveted Energy Star Award, a government recognition for their outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency.