As the second largest school district in the State of Delaware, the Red Clay Consolidated School District serves approximately 16,000 students in 14 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools, four special schools, one performing arts school, and three charter schools. Together, these 25 facilities have a combined total of more than 2.8 million square feet of space. Using the district's mission to deliver a quality education in a safe and secure learning environment as a starting point, Red Clay established an Energy Excellence Program in 2004 to address the difficult problems of a strained district budget and skyrocketing post-deregulation energy costs. Red Clay's Energy Excellence Program encourages using energy efficiently and purchasing energy competitively. The district instituted heating and cooling temperature set points, building schedules and equipment operating procedures, and guidelines for lighting, personal appliances, and other equipment. Red Clay also became the first state agency to purchase electricity from third party vendors. This arrangement enables the district to purchase approximately two-thirds of its electricity from a variety of vendors, which is sold at fixed prices for varying lengths of time, and one-third at the real time cost. A percentage of the money saved from these efforts is given back to individual buildings to enhance the learning environment for students.
Using EPA's Portfolio Manager, the district plans to continue tracking the progress of individual schools as it completes renovations and works to further increase energy savings. Since 2004, the program has succeeded in improving district energy efficiency by more than 30 percent, achieving a district-wide energy rating of 76 and earning Red Clay recognition as an ENERGY STAR Leaders Top Performer. The district's energy management strategy has yielded a cumulative savings of more than $4 million and a decrease in CO2 emissions of more than 4,000 metric tons in the last year alone, the equivalent of the emissions from more than 800 cars or the planting of more than 1,000 acres of trees.