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School system considers way to save $7.2 million

Washington County School Board members are considering a proposal from Energy Education that could save the system $7.2 million in utility costs over a 10-year period.
“Many of the schools in Tennessee have decided to adopt their services, and the board is trying to determine if they are a good value,” Director of Schools Ron Dykes said.
The directors and maintenance supervisors in these systems are being contacted for more information regarding the savings, and board and staff members are working proactively to find out if these resources are available locally at no cost.
The Finance Subcommittee on Energy Education met last week with representatives from the Johnson City Power Board to learn about available programs.
Eight schools in Washington County have seen benefits through participating in the Green Schools program the JCPB offered in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Authority. The conservation practices begun in the schools continue even though that program has ended.
Angela Shrewsbury, director of advertising and energy services, said the JCPB can’t commit a person to the schools, but will offer help when possible.
Subcommittee Chair Todd Ganger said he thinks the system is headed in the right direction with the programs already started, and there is no need to bring in a third party if the JCPB is willing to help.
Maintenance Supervisor Phillip Patrick said a colleague was able to provide significant savings for his system by discovering the energy use in the buildings was being calculated incorrectly.
Shrewsbury offered to provide a report on the meters in Washington County schools, adding the rates are not negotiable or based on the location in the county.
Dykes asked if the JCPB has a program to determine energy savings in a particular building. “An incentive program is being offered, but we’re unable to measure (the results),” he said.
Taking the ages of the buildings into consideration make the process even more difficult, Patrick added.
No program like this is currently offered, according to the JCPB representatives, though a program for residential customers is supposed to be able to provide peak usage times to avoid.
Ganger asked Dykes to invite Energy Education to make a presentation to the full school board to provide more specifics on the estimated savings and the costs associated with their services.
“Being able to turn $7.2 million back into the curriculum is worthy of pursuit,” Dykes said.