An energy management agency is saving Ogden City School District thousands while giving a hand to the environment at the same time.

Ogden officials say schools have saved 1.3 million kilowatt hours and $270,408 in energy bills in the six-month period they have been working with Energy Education Inc., a national consulting firm that works only with school districts and promises to save more than the consulting fee. If not, their service is free.

Ogden contracted with the organization for about $670,000 for four years. And officials say considering the savings in the past six months, it will save the district millions.

"Our primary objective is that our schools are comfortable and great teaching environments," said Darwin Smith, district education energy manager. "Elimination of energy waste and saving dollars are great added benefits of the program."

He said the district entered into the contract after learning that the agency saved Weber District around $5 million over four years.

Energy Education sends four or five contractors out each month to work with district officials on how to save energy. Smith said experts such as boiler specialists and mechanical engineers have helped the district map out strategies on ways to save.

Some of it is technical, but Smith said it is also heavily "people-based" — making sure lights and computers are off when they are not being used and making sure heating and cooling systems don't come on early or fans aren't running when they shouldn't be.

"We owe much of our progress in energy savings to our teachers and maintenance crews turning off their lights and shutting down computers at night, on weekends and holidays," Smith said.

Environmental Protection Agency calculations translate Ogden's savings as equal to 1,987,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions being prevented, 185 automobiles being removed from the highways annually, or 384 acres of trees being planted.

District officials have seen a 28 percent savings in electricity, 39.5 percent in natural gas, 11.3 percent in water/sewer, and 10.3 percent savings in irrigation.

"We have experienced significant savings and we expected to," said Ogden District Superintendent Noel Zabriskie.

The district's energy management system uses Energy Cap software to track and analyze consumption for building efficiency and the savings impact the district's normal operating budget.

The group is also currently working with Duchesne, Murray, Wasatch and Cache school districts.

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