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updated: 11/9/2017 11:29 AM

U-46 seeks to reduce utility costs

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  • Elgin Area School District U-46 is looking to save millions on utility costs.

      Elgin Area School District U-46 is looking to save millions on utility costs.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

Elgin schools' officials are considering contracting with an energy conservation company to save on utility costs.

Elgin Area School District U-46 spends nearly $5 million yearly on natural gas, electricity and water. The proposed five-year contract with Cenergistic is expected to result in more than $4.4 million in savings over the contract term.

Cenergistic delivers customized, comprehensive energy conservation programs focusing on changing human behavior to reduce energy and water consumption without equipment upgrades. It serves roughly 1,400 clients in 48 states, including school districts, large churches, community colleges, universities, hospitals, and local governments. On average, clients saved 26 percent on utility costs, documents show.

"This is basically an efficiency type of contract," U-46 Chief Operations Officer Jeff King told the school board this week. "They are supplying the expertise."

U-46 would pay $59,988 for Cenergistic's energy accounting software, which is the only expense. The company would provide three employees to monitor the district's 53 campus buildings nightly for usage.

"They are looking at all of our buildings," King said. "All the other energy companies are equipment based. I have not seen any others that offer a similar program. We will update the board as to how we progress."

Last year, the district budgeted $3.2 million for electricity costs, and $1.8 million for natural gas, though no amount was specified for water usage.

If Cenergistic does not generate savings, it won't get paid, officials said. The contract proposal will be voted on at a future board meeting.

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