10% Improvement (2010)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), in Charlotte, North Carolina, has more 137,000 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The district's 179 schools throughout Mecklenburg County occupy more than 20 million square feet. The district is one of the largest employers in Mecklenburg County with more than 19,000 employees. CMS enjoys a broad base of community support with thousands of volunteers from the corporate and faith communities.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has been recognized by EPA as an ENERGY STAR Leader for improving its energy performance across the board by 10 percent from a 2008-2009 baseline period. With the help of the ENERGY STAR program, CMS reduced its annual operating budget by more than $2.5 million dollars, the equivalent of hiring more than 70 new staff members. The district has avoided greenhouse gas emissions of more than 11,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, equal to planting more than 2,500 acres of trees. CMS is working to improve the efficient use of energy and water resources at all of its campuses by creating, implementing, and following an effective energy and water management plan via the Environmental Management System (EMS), Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education policy, ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management, and applicable regulations. The district has consolidated non-educational programs into fewer facilities, refined a summer energy-savings plan that used a four-day workweek to save about $500,000 in cooling costs and used posters and the district's television station to promote energy efficiency. The district has made energy efficiency an area of focus in its five-year strategic plan, which calls for specific reductions in usage by 2014. A key element of the plan was the implementation of site-based energy coordinators who receive the energy information about their school and pass it along to all staff members and the public. The CMS energy coordinators work closely with Building Services to further reduce energy use. Successful efficiency measures have included lighting upgrades, domestic water replacements, HVAC schedule optimization, HVAC checks (off-hours as well as site checks), mobile classroom thermostat and lighting projects. The energy coordinators also receive checklists and other energy-related information from the CMS Building Services Group and work with Building Services to further reduce energy in their facilities. Student and staff participation is also central to the program's success. Teachers and students receive monthly reports of energy use, and help increase efficiency by turning off lights and computers when not in use.
For more information about Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' facility management program, click here.