Oceanside's energy contract creating savings


Oceanside School District is seeing results in its mission toward energy efficiency. In 2021, the School District entered into an energy performance contract with the energy-saving company Energy Systems Group. The goal was to upgrade energy production equipment and incorporate conservation measures across the district’s facilities.

By upgrading energy production equipment and incorporating energy conservation measures, the district anticipates substantial reductions in energy expenses over time. These savings are expected to offset the initial investment in the project, ensuring that the upgrades effectively pay for themselves through reduced energy costs. Michael Ryan, project leader at Energy Systems Group gave an update on the projects at the April board meeting and highlighted the impact already being had.

“The project is going to produce $850,000 worth of savings of utilities, such as electric, oil, and gas,” Ryan said. “Those savings then will be used to start paying towards the project so the project is self-funded. One of the cornerstones of this project is solar energy. There are solar (panels) going on eight of the buildings. At 2.6 megawatts in magnitude, it’s one of the biggest systems being done in school districts on Long Island.”

By enhancing energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption, the district is taking proactive steps to minimize its carbon footprint and mitigate its environmental impact. Upgraded facilities will operate more efficiently, consuming fewer resources and emitting fewer greenhouse gases, aligning with the district’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Through planning and collaboration with energy savings companies, the district identified 11 energy conservation measures to be implemented as part of the contract. These measures include LED lighting installations, rooftop HVAC upgrades, solar panel installations, and boiler burner controls.

The project aims to develop a customized STEM education program, providing students with hands-on learning experiences related to energy efficiency, sustainability, and environmental conservation.

Through guaranteed savings, the upgrades are designed to be budget-neutral, meaning they will not impose additional financial burdens on taxpayers. Instead, the savings generated from reduced energy expenses will enable the district to allocate resources more efficiently, safeguarding its financial health in the long run.

“With the energy reduction that they’re proposing, not only is the district going to be receiving energy efficiency upgrades, but the reduction of energy usage, ultimately, has a financial impact because that’s less that we’re going to be charged and have to pay for, and have to budget for in utilities,” said Oceanside assistant Superintendent for Business, Jeryl Cokley, who was pivotal in the district entering the energy contract.

Throughout the process, the district has prioritized transparency and community engagement. Detailed FAQs and informational sessions have been conducted to ensure residents are well informed about the contract and its implications. As the energy contract progresses, the district remains committed to its goals of sustainability.

“The quicker that we can get all of our energy conservation measures in place, with the new construction and the upgrades and testing, the quicker we can shift the dial to seeing the reduction in energy consumption, but we should also see a reduction in energy costs,” Cokley said.