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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A program aimed at lowering the costs of energy and water for New Hanover County Schools appears to be paying off.

EduCon, the company the school district partnered with last year to help reduce energy consumption and costs, says the school district save almost $1 million the first year of the program. The school board learned about the results at its meeting last night.

According to EduCon, the numbers show the school system’s commitment achieved an actual cost savings of $990,000 (15.4 percent) and adjusted cost savings of $1,479,000 (21.4 percent). The company says adjusted cost savings takes rate increases into account and is a better gauge of the program’s success.

“The first year adjusted cost savings exceeded the school system’s goal of $800,000. That is an excellent result,” EduCon CEO Nelson Jessup said in a news release. “Our focus in year one has been directed at the energy services – electricity, natural gas and propane – which account for 86 percent of utility expenditures. We have made great progress in year one and see many opportunities for an even better year two.”

EduCon says decreases in consumption include a 10.4 million (20 percent) kilowatt hour reduction in electricity and more than 27 million cubic feet reduction in natural gas (37 percent). As a result, the carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) have been reduced by 16.4 million pounds.

“That’s the equivalent of eliminating 1,091 cars from the highway or planting 2,233 acres of trees,” Jessup said.

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