BEACON FALLS-A change in behavior could amount to substantial savings for the Region 16 school district.
That’s what Mike Bitar, regional representative for Energy Education, told the Board of Education.
Based in Dallas, Texas, Energy Education is an energy conservation company that trains its clients to implement behavioral and organizational changes in order to reduce energy consumption. The company, which was founded in 1986, works mostly with educational organizations, and has more than 1,000 clients in 48 states.
Bitar has been discussing what his company has to offer with school administrative officials since October, and on Jan. 19 he gave his pitch to the school board.
Bitar explained that the company’s program doesn’t involve the district buying and installing any new equipment, such as solar panels. Rather, he told the board, the program centers on changing behavior.
“We focus on the behavioral side,” Bitar said.
Bitar said the company would study the district’s facilities and equipment, how they’re used, and how best to maximize their efficiency. He added the program determines how to reduce consumption without sacrificing comfort.
Bitar projected by following the program, the board would obtain a gross savings of $3.8 million over 10 years.
“These projections are real,” Bitar said. “They aren’t something we just pulled out of the sky.”
If the board chooses to hire Energy Education, the company would first study the district’s energy consumption for a year to create a “base year” from which to work off of.
The board would have to hire a part-time energy education specialist, which would be trained by the company, to oversee the program. The board would also have to buy energy accounting software to track the savings.
The company’s fee would be a percentage of the gross savings. The projections presented by Bitar showed the company would be paid $475,200, split evenly over the first four years of the contract.
Although the program would have costs associated with it, school officials and Bitar emphasized the cost would be paid out of the district’s savings.
“It’s not going to cost the community any money,” board member Sheryl Feducia said.
After the expenses are calculated, Bitar projected the district would net a savings of nearly $3.1 million over 10 years.
Bitar added that if at time during the contract the board doesn’t realize a savings, Energy Education would pay the board what they lost.
“Worst case scenario you break even,” Bitar said.
Although the company is based in Texas, Energy Education is no stranger to the Nutmeg State.
According to information supplied by Bitar, the company has worked or is currently working with nine school districts in the state, each of which has seen success under the program.
Hugh Potter, the board’s business manager, confirmed the program can be successful.
Potter said, at first, he was skeptical. So, he reached out to officials from school districts that are working with the company to gauge the program’s impact.
Potter said the Region 14 school district saved 30 percent in the first summer of running the program, and the Weston public school system saved $400,000 in the first year and about $2 million since beginning the program.
“That’s not chump change,” Potter said.
The board took no official vote on the issue, but agreed to allow attorneys representing both parties to iron out the details of a contract.
What is it going to cost us to pay this company to teach us how to ‘change behaviors?’ Their claims seem grossly inflated. I believe that whatever they plan to teach will be mostly common sense knowledge that could be found somewhere else for free. This company sounds totally bogus to me.