Branson School District was given the Cenergistic Award for their efforts to minimize their carbon footprint on the environment.
Bert Kimble is a marketing consultant for Cenergistic, an energy conservation company in Texas, and he presented the award at the school board’s meeting Thursday.
“Essentially, it’s the equivalency of impact of savings on natural resources and the environment as a whole,” Kimble said.
The school district has taken 940 vehicles off the road for approximately a year and has planted 134,000 seedlings, which is the equivalency of taking 5,237 metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the environment, Kimble said.
There weren’t just savings on the environmental side, Kimble said.
“The main reason most districts get into this is the dollars saved,” Kimble said. “To date, you guys have saved $720,000. By my math, that’s about $24,000 per month.
“These are dollars that would normally be going to your utility companies, instead of staying in this district, used by this board of administration for those things you see fit.”
Branson is a partner district to the Dallas-based company that works nationally, Kimble said.
“Not every district that participates as a partner is going to receive awards, so it’s very nice that Branson has had these numbers and is being recognized,” Kimble said.
Assistant Superintendent Don Forrest said the award is a “great accomplishment” for the Branson School District.
“We’re obviously saving dollars that we can use for other things, so as an educational institution, we’re promoting positive things for our environment, which is neat for the kids,” Forrest said.
Forrest and Physical Plant Director Dwight Cutbirth agree that the numbers are a result of behavioral changes.
“We started turning things off when we weren’t here,” Forrest said. “As we’ve learned the behavior, we’ll just continue that. We’re not going to see the drastic savings in addition to what we’re seeing now, but we’ll continue the savings. If we stop the behavior, we go right back to spending more money.
Technology has played a role in the savings, Cutbirth said.
“With the web-based programs that are out there, I can sit here on my iPad and look at cameras all over the district, I can sit here and look at the energy usage in buildings across the district,” Cutbirth said. “At the high school alone, it’s $300,000 for electricity just to run the high school. So, you know, big dollars, big savings.”
Cutbirth added that the school is making investments to save more money.
The money the school is saving will go back to students, Forrest said.