Marietta Schools honored for energy efficiency

Three years into an energy efficiency program, Marietta City Schools has saved approximately $359,000.

Mike Bitar with Texas-based Cenergistic Energy, presented board of education President Greg Gault with an Energy Pacesetter Award Monday to recognize the district as a model of energy conservation to other schools.

“You’ve exceeded our early projections,” Bitar said.

Formerly known as Energy Education Inc., the company helped the school district identify energy-saving steps like shutting off machines and processes when school buildings aren’t in use to reduce electricity and natural gas usage. The for-profit company shares in those savings to the tune of $69,000 a year – provided that much in savings is realized – but only for the first four years.

“The real good news is we’ll be sharing in it for (only) one more year,” said Bitar, noting the company will still offer consulting services to the district at no additional cost.

Gault said the program has done everything the board hoped for when it approved participation and then some.

“The only hold-back with the board was that it seemed like it was too good to be true,” he said.

Marietta High School Assistant Principal Chad Rinard, who coordinates the program for the district, had the head custodians of several of the district’s school buildings come up front to display a symbolic check for the $359,000 in savings and cited their cooperation and support in making the savings possible. Bitar said that kind of buy-in at the building level is important in sustaining the program.

“The whole object is to inculcate, if you will, this into the organization,” he said.