College of the Mainland was recently presented with the Award for Energy Stewardship for saving enough energy in 15 months to effectively plant more than 53,744 trees.

In addition to the environmental benefits, the college also saved more than $342,402 since partnering with Cenergistic to implement an energy conservation program in 2012.

The savings came from employees turning off electronics when not in use, implementing efficient scheduling, and automating the heating and air-conditioning scheduling.

“Individuals might think that they don’t have a big impact, but when you add everybody’s efforts, then they become significant,” said COM energy specialist Bill Roy. “When we started 15 months ago, the cost of operation per square foot was $2.20. Today it’s $1.52. The environmental impact is the same as taking 437 cars off the road for a year.”

Cenergistic Vice President and Energy Consultant David Goff presented the award.

“COM is truly a strong program with great support from administration and all other departments,” he said. “Energy specialist Bill Roy is outstanding in every way of leading the program.”

Cenergistic awards clients for good stewardship resulting in a positive impact on the environment, including decreased carbon emissions and the conservation of natural resources.

The college achieved results partly through regulating air-conditioning and heating schedules on the main campus and installing Ecobees, thermostats that can be controlled remotely, on the COM Learning Center-North County.

“This energy program is an excellent vehicle to assist our personnel in practicing good stewardship of our resources. The willing participation of each staff person – faculty, administrators, food service, maintenance and custodial people – adds to our success,” said COM President Beth Lewis.

The college plans to continue its energy conservation efforts.

“We’re installing new lighting systems,” continued Roy. “New LED lights in parking lots ... reduce electricity usage by more than half. Before the program this money was wasted, and now it is money we can use on other projects.”

The program is estimated to save the college $2.8 million over the next 10 years.

To measure and verify the program’s success, COM tracks energy consumption using an independent energy-accounting software.

Cenergistic is a technology-powered, data-driven energy conservation company that helps organizations reduce consumption of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and water.