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District renews conservation partnership after $33 million in savings

Sept. 3, 2020

Cenergistic Pinellas County Schools recently extended its partnership with Cenergistic, a nationwide sustainability company, for an additional three years. The district has slashed its energy consumption 28 percent since 2015 and has achieved extraordinary success over the initial five-year term of the program.

The 28 percent energy use reduction resulted in over $33 million saved, and the district has been recognized with more than 250 ENERGY STAR® Building Certifications — recognition reserved for the top 25 percent of K-12 buildings nationwide. The district also earned ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for two consecutive years. The average cost per square foot to power PCS schools has gone from $1.43 in 2015 to $1.17 today.

“Redirecting critical dollars towards higher priority items was a goal I set with the school board five years ago,” said Superintendent Michael Grego. “Cenergistic partnership has generated enormous savings through energy conservation, and it has proved invaluable during the COVID crisis.”

 Clint Herbic, the district’s Associate Superintendent of Operational Services said the savings of the program has reached a level that could not have been imagined five years ago.

“Getting kids back in the classroom safely has been our top priority, and our energy program has given us the flexibility to do so,” Herbic said. “Cenergistic personnel themselves have even played a key role in helping our facilities teams reopen schools safely.”

To pursue additional savings opportunities, district personnel work closely with Cenergistic engineers, experts and Energy Specialists to audit and optimize energy-using systems across the organization to achieve peak efficiency. The Energy Specialists track energy consumption at all campuses in real time with leading state-of-the-art technology to identify waste and drive conservation. During the COVID crisis, the Energy Specialists have continued to audit district facilities for energy inefficiencies, both remotely and onsite.

“The success of the energy program has been driven by PCS leadership and board members through their support for the past five years,” said Erika Johnson, a Lead Energy Specialist. “Our continued partnership shows their commitment to a sustainable future for PCS.”

Cenergistic’s president Michael Gaal said Cenergistic isn’t just focused on energy bills.

 “In our partnership with Pinellas County Schools, we wanted to have a positive impact on the district as a whole,” Gaal said. “It has been rewarding to work with Pinellas County Schools to promote major savings, so funds can go back into the district to support teachers, bolster student achievement, and promote equity.”