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Shrake to continue at District Energy Specialist

August 22, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

In 2013, Rebecca Shrake took on the role of district energy specialist as Austintown School District began a program with Cenergistic, a company that works with entities to help save on the energy bills. It was a four-year deal that has expired, leaving the district with all the savings.

"We are done paying Cenergistic, so our savings can now cover Rebecca's salary," said Superintendent Vince Colaluca.

The four-year program had the Cenergistic company working with Shrake to find ways to cut the energy costs for the district. From simple things like turning lights off in an unused room to replacing older lights with the energy efficient LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes).

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
District Energy Specialist Rebecca Shrake was approved for re-employment at last week's Board of Education meeting. Wages for the position are being paid out of funds generated from the energy savings program.

"We have an LED program," Shrake said. "It is costing $1.2 million to make the change, but the LED lighting will pay for itself within eight years."

Over the first four years, the program has seen an overall savings so far of $1.7 million. And some of Shrake's programs are actually bringing money back to the district. One such program is the peak energy grids of summer.

"We held district shut downs over the summer, where everything is shut down during high energy use periods," Shrake said. "It helps energy suppliers better meet the demands for air conditioning, and we get a check for doing that, which is a savings for the district."

Colaluca said Shrake has been a big help as program director.

"We would have never had that savings program without Rebecca on the job," he said. "She is always tuned in energy savings. When we would have a holiday, she would walk the halls to insure no lights were left on."

For the future, Shrake and Colaluca said the district is looking into solar panels, since the district has so much flat roof to work with. What ever happens in the future, Shrake will likely have a hand in it as she makes Austintown schools function to the utmost energy efficiancy.

Shrake is a 1996 Fitch graduate who returned to Austintown to teach eighth grade at AMS.



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