VINELAND - The city's school district is performing an energy audit of its facilities that officials said could save the district more than $12 million over the next decade.

The audit is being performed by the Texas-based company Cenergistic, which will eventually receive 50 percent of the energy savings received by the district.

Savings will come following energy audits that will be done during routine and odd hours, such as holidays, weekends and overnight, said Wayne Weaver, the school district's executive director of facilities. The inspections will be done by Ivan Escobar, the school district's recently retired assistant maintenance superintendent, who will serve as Cenergistic's energy specialist.

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"He knows the district inside and out," Weaver said of Escobar. "He will be able to get in on weekends and holidays. We already know that our heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems are the largest consumers of energy and … we'll be looking at that first."

The district expects to find the biggest savings when its buildings are empty, he said.

"They call these 'phantom loads,' where unused equipment is still consuming energy," Weaver said. "Many of our systems are computer-controlled, but even in the setback mode there is equipment running that doesn't show up on our computers but could be powered down. Ivan is going to have significant responsibility in assessing these systems to determine how we can change the usage profile to save money."

Weaver said the district expects to save about $856,000 in energy costs during the first year based on a preliminary survey by Cenergistic.

"I gave them preliminary usage numbers and their analysis indicated we could save that much money through directed shutdown of equipment and employee behavior modification," Weaver said.

Weaver said that staff and student comfort will not be compromised as a result of the energy audit.

Cenergistic will create a new energy program for the district based on the audit results. That program will direct the shutdown of equipment at certain intervals to maximize energy savings.

The agreement between Cenergistic and the school district calls for the district to keep 100 percent of the energy savings for the first four months. The district and Cenergistic will split the savings after that, officials said.

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