The energy conservation firm helping Charter Oak to reduce its utility costs delivered a presentation of the savings incurred from January to August.
Energy Education, Inc. has provided conservation programs for many schools for about 25 years and claim to have saved their clients about $2.3 billion in utility costs.
From January to September of this year, the district has saved nearly $176,000 in cost avoidance. The district is projected to save about a quarter of $1 million in cost avoidance in 2011, according to Laurie St. Jacques, energy education specialist for Charter Oak.
Cost avoidance is merely the act of reducing, or delaying expenses over a longer period of time by reducing energy consumption while considering current fuel costs, according to energycap.com.
EEI began working January of this year after the contract was approved at the November 18, 2010 board meeting.
The district hired St. Jacques, a former Charter Oak administrator and teacher, because they are required to hire someone with intimate knowledge of the district.
As part of the conservation program, schools implemented major power shut-downs during spring break and summer, turning off computers that are not in use and unplugging other unused appliances.
"It's to generate cost savings ... and teaching students to change their behavior," said Chief Business Officer Kathy Perkins. It's really all of us to learn from and save money at the same time."
Over 300 building audits were conducted district-wide to monitor conservation efforts.
As part of the contract, Charter Oak utilized EnergyCAP software, a program in which all raw utility bill data was entered and computed, while making adjustments for changes in energy savings not generated by the program to accurately calculate the program's effect.
Electricity was by far the most consumed resource by the district at 67 percent of Charter Oak's utility expenses. Water was next at 27 percent, followed by natural gas at six percent.
"To date we have saved over 724,057 kilowatt hours of electricity," St. Jacques said. The district also saved 23,416 therms of natural gas. Factoring in changes in energy unit costs, weather changes and changes in the district's infrastructure, EEI was able to determine that the district spent far less then it did the same period in 2010.
St. Jacques also obtained Summer Discount Credits from SoCal Edison and helped get refund from Covina's Utility Users Tax.
The contract costs, salary costs and other expenses do not come cheap.
Factoring in those along with travel expenses and cost to license the software, net savings would be minimal for the first year, but would grow onward.
By the fifth year the district could see as much as 1000 percent return in cost avoidance.
Shutdowns are planned for Thanksgiving and Winter breaks, while the school will continue monitoring usage of exterior lighting and computer usage and implementing better water conservation.