With 72 buildings totaling more than 6 million square feet throughout the metro, managing and operating schools and other facilities is a big job at Des Moines Public Schools. It’s a job with one goal in mind: how to best serve the educational needs of students in Des Moines. And it’s a job that has earned DMPS earned national recognition.

The list of honors continues to grow as Facilities Management Decision magazine has named DMPS one of eight recipients of its 2017 Achievement Award. The award recognizes the role maintenance and engineering departments play in the successful cost-effective and energy-efficient operation of the nation’s institutional and commercial facilities. DMPS joins other nationally known honorees this year including the Smithsonian Institution, the Denver International Airport, and Oral Roberts University.

Facility Maintenance Decisions magazine is a trade publication for the operational managers of institutional and commercial facilities, including school districts as well as colleges, universities, hospitals, medical centers, government buildings, commercial office buildings, and retail and hospitality facilities.

DMPS is being honored for our work at renovating and retrofitting buildings with an average age of 65 years, and that also serve as cornerstones of Des Moines’ neighborhoods.

In renovating school buildings, the top priority at DMPS has been to maintain and create the best possible educational spaces for students and teachers, including use of the latest technologies. At the same time, an important goal has been making sure buildings operate as efficiently as possible.

At a time when funding for public education sees little or no growth, cutting operational costs makes a difference in meeting the core mission of educating students.

In that regard, DMPS has become a national model in implementing energy efficiency efforts. Consider these facts:

  • In FY 2008, the school district spent $5,990,555 on energy costs. By FY 2016 that amount was cut to $3,986,514, a one-third drop in annual costs that meant more funds were directed back to education.
  • In FY 2008, 74% of DMPS classrooms were air-conditioned, consuming 460,288,075 kBtus. By FY 2016 99.8% of all DMPS classrooms were air-conditioned consuming only 279,344,000 kBtus, a decrease of nearly 40% in energy consumption, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent.
  • In FY 2008, no DMPS building had Energy Star certification. By FY2016, 79% of all DMPS buildings were Energy Star certified.

The latest recognition from Facilities Management Decision magazine adds to several other national and state honors DMPS has earned for its energy conservation and efficiency work, including:

  • Recognized for six consecutive years by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an Energy Star Partner of the Year.
  • The City of Des Moines was recognized this year in the EPA’s list of top mid-sized cities with Energy Star Certified Buildings because of Des Moines Public Schools.
  • Named a District of Distinction by District Administration Magazine in 2014 for long range facility planning.
  • Received Governors Environmental Excellence award in 2012 and 2016 for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and in 2013 for outstanding environmental leadership and innovation.
  • Earned the District Sustainability Award from U.S. Department of Education in 2013.
  • Recognized by MidAmerican Energy three times for Excellence in Energy Efficient Design.

The vision at Des Moines Public Schools is “becoming the model for urban education in the United States.” When it comes to managing our facilities and improving energy efficiency, that vision is being realized.

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