EPA Names DMPS 2015 Energy Star Partner of the Year

DMPS earns award for 4th consecutive year for protecting environment, lowering costs through superior energy efficiency

epa2015The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is presenting Des Moines Public Schools with the 2015 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award for Climate Communications and the Partner of the Year Award for Sustained Excellence. This is the fourth consecutive year the school district has received a partner award, and the second straight year it has earned a partner award in two categories.

As one of the Climate Communications winners, DMPS is raising awareness of students, teachers, families and the community to the impacts of climate change and energy efficiency. DMPS has created communications that encourage their customers to combat climate change with the help of Energy Star and emphasize how energy-efficient behaviors have a positive effect on the environment.

The school district was also one of the Sustained Excellence winners for continuing to exhibit exceptional leadership year after year in the Energy Star program while remaining dedicated to environmental protection through superior energy efficiency.

“Des Moines Public Schools is helping Americans save money, save energy, and do their part to reduce our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “DMPS demonstrates a strong commitment to energy efficiency and to preserving a healthy planet for future generations.”

“The effort we put into energy efficiency is literally paying dividends for both our students and the environment,” said Bill Good, chief operations officers for Des Moines Public Schools. “Each year hundreds of thousands of dollars are being directed towards education rather than energy costs, funds that support our top priority: teaching the children of Des Moines.”

DMPS has taken several steps to become the nation’s leading school district when it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability.

For example, even though the district’s school buildings average 65 years of age, thanks to the Students First school renovation program – funded by the statewide penny sales tax – DMPS has successfully turned historic structures into efficient energy models. As a result, DMPS has avoided more than $2 million in energy costs since 2008, permitting much-needed funds to be redirected to educational programming.

In addition, in 2008 zero DMPS buildings were ENERGY STAR certified; in 2014 46 facilities were certified, representing 69% of all district buildings. The percent of air-conditioned classrooms has also increased from 74% in 2008 to 98% in 2014, while at the same time significantly reducing energy consumption.

The district’s focus on energy efficiency is reflected in an overall emphasis on better stewardship. For example, recycling has increased from an average of 11.33 tons per month in 2008 to more than 35 tons in 2014.

DMPS is also supporting students interested in issues relating to energy and the environment, and created the Iowa Energy & Sustainability Academy, an academic program at Central Campus, which was the first recipient of the Green Ribbon Schools award from the U.S. Department of Education in 2013.

In addition to earning Energy Star Partner of the Year honors, DMPS has also been recognized as a Green Ribbon school district by the U.S. Department of Education in 2014, is the recipient of multiple Iowa Environmental Excellence Awards, and was an inaugural winner of the District of Achievement Award, presented by District Administration magazine, in 2015.

This year’s winners were selected from 16,000 Energy Star partners, including manufacturers, retailers, public schools, hospitals, real estate companies, and home builders, for their dedication to protecting the environment through greater energy efficiency.

For a complete list of 2015 winners and information, and more information about ENERGY STAR’s awards program, visit www.energystar.gov/awardwinners.