EDEN — Due to Rockingham County Schools’ dramatic 15 percent reduction in energy use per square foot over the past five-years, RCS announced Thursday that the school system will extend its initial five-year contract with Cenergistic, an energy conservation consulting group.

Since the program’s start in 2014, RCS has managed to save $3.6 million, significantly cut its utility spending and create a culture of sustainability among students and staff. Cenergistic, a national company, has aided some 1,400 other school districts in energy saving efforts. 

“The continued success of this program is a major reason for our decision to renew,” said RCS Superintendent Dr. Rodney Shotwell. “Seeing such massive reductions in both utility bills and energy consumption allows us to free up funding and pave the way as a leader in sustainability.”

RCS personnel work closely with Cenergistic engineers, experts and specialists to audit and optimize energy systems across the district to achieve peak efficiency. The specialists track energy consumption at all facilities to identify and correct areas that need immediate attention. Savings are calculated using third-party energy-accounting software.

This alliance with Cenergistic has produced noteworthy success over the past half-decade. For example, the program has reduced carbon emissions that would equate to driving approximately 59 million miles. One of the most significant results of this program is a 45 percent reduction in district propane use, further reducing the district’s greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, 13 district buildings have performed well enough compared to their national peers to gain ENERGY STAR® certification.

“Working with a company like Cenergistic has dramatically reduced our energy consumption and become critical to our continued financial success,” said Shotwell. “I’m excited about how the community has really embraced this program, and our students feel emboldened to make a difference.”

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