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New Hanover County Schools Reports Energy Savings

By Jenny Callison, posted Oct 3, 2012

New Hanover County Public Schools saved almost $1 million on its energy costs in the past fiscal year, thanks to the efforts of an energy management company, officials said this week.

Starting July 1, 2011, the school district partnered with EduCon, a Winston-Salem-based energy management/consulting company, to help reduce energy consumption and costs. Results, reported Tuesday during the district’s school board meeting, show the system achieved an actual cost savings of $990,000 (a more than 15 percent reduction) and adjusted cost savings of nearly $1.5 million (a more than 21 percent reduction). Adjusted cost savings takes rate increases into account and is a better gauge of the program's success, according to EduCon.

“The first year adjusted cost savings exceeded the school system’s goal of $800,000. That is an excellent result,” EduCon CEO Nelson Jessup said in the company’s news release. “Our focus in year one has been directed at the energy services – electricity, natural gas and propane – which account for 86 percent of utility expenditures. We have made great progress in year one and see many opportunities for an even better year two.”

The school district has continued its contract with EduCon, company spokeswoman Karen Jarvis said.

Last year, the district’s decreases in electricity and natural gas use district-wide lowered carbon dioxide emissions an amount equivalent to eliminating 1,091 cars from the highway or planting 2,233 acres of trees, Jessup said.

“We are extremely proud of our staff and students who worked diligently last year to help our school system save money during these tough economic times,” said Bill Hance, director of operations for New Hanover County Schools. “Energy costs continue to increase and account for a large percentage of our school system’s budget. So we are thankful to determine ways to save and in turn address other critical school system needs. The partnership with EduCon has taken us to a new level of energy conservation and savings.”

Jessup, a former administrator in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools, established EduCon in 1996 to provide consulting services in energy and construction management to school districts.

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