After years of dedicated energy conservation efforts, including a partnership with Cenergistic LLC, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) attained Goal Achiever certification from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Better Buildings Challenge for 2020.
“Prior to 2016, our district had not done much on energy, and for the next two years, after joining the Better Buildings Challenge, we had only made small, incremental changes in our use. We brought Cenergistic onboard in 2018, and in two years, we’re down 26 percent in energy usage,” said Scott Martin, IPS Chief Operations Officer. “We want to take it even further, shooting for another 20 percent in the next two years.”
To reach Goal Achiever status, IPS cut energy use by 26 percent across its 80 facilities. The partnership with Cenergistic, an energy conservation company, played a major role in this considerable energy reduction. IPS is one of three K-12 school districts to become a 2020 Goal Achiever, and only 20 organizations across the country completed the requirements. Only four K-12 districts have reached Goal Achiever status in the program’s seven-year history.
Goal Achievers are among the national leaders in energy conservation. Through the energy program alone, IPS has avoided carbon emissions equivalent to what the average car would produce on a 110 million mile trip. In other terms, the amount of carbon 750,000 trees would sequester over a 10-year period.
“I am pleased to recognize Indianapolis Public Schools for achieving its Better Buildings Challenge goal,” said Daniel R. Simmons, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE. “Through their commitment to affordable, efficient energy, our goal achievers are displaying leadership and demonstrating the potential for public-private partnerships to drive energy cost savings in buildings and our communities.”
Since the partnership’s beginning in 2018, IPS has earned eight ENERGY STAR® Certifications. ENERGY STAR certification designates a facility among the top 25 percent of its nationwide peers. These eight IPS schools include: Carl Wilde, James A. Garfield, Lew Wallace, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Lee Frost, The PATH School at Stephen Foster, Theodore Potter and Thomas Gregg.
To find opportunities for energy conservation, Cenergistic engineers, experts and Energy Specialists work closely with IPS personnel to audit and optimize energy-using systems across the organization to achieve peak efficiency. Cenergistic Energy Specialists track energy consumption at all campuses with the company’s GreenX software platform, identifying waste and driving conservation. During the COVID-19 shutdown, the Energy Specialists have continued to audit district facilities for energy inefficiencies, both remotely and onsite.
“Gaining certification from the Better Buildings Challenge demonstrates IPS’ commitment to sustainability and economic responsibility,” said Dr. Randy Hoff, P.E., Vice Chairman at Cenergistic. “We are proud to have played a key role in the district’s rise to energy excellence.”
IPS has participated in a number of other initiatives to reduce energy consumption. Partnerships with Energizing Indiana, an organization specializing in solar panel installation training, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) have furthered the district’s efforts to reduce waste. Through the first year of a rebate program with Indianapolis Power and Light, IPS received $335,000 for its districtwide energy reduction.
“The first thing that stands out in our relationship with Cenergistic is the amount of energy that we’ve saved,” said Martin. “Through our relationship with Cenergistic, we’re going to double the initial estimate (of energy savings for the Better Buildings Challenge).”