The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, which is just west of Madison, Wisconsin, provides quality education for more than 6,300 students across more than one million square feet of space. The district prides itself in being a leader in sustainability and energy efficiency. Each of its schools has earned the ENERGY STAR for superior energy efficiency. The district's success is largely due to a commitment by the Board of Education and administration to make energy efficiency and sustainability a major priority. Since 2004, the district's energy specialist has monitored energy usage in all of the district's sites and guided staff in finding unique ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. Due to the district's success, stakeholders have bought into its mission to inspire, challenge, and empower students and staff by incorporating energy efficiency and conservation inside and outside of the classroom. Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District has been an ENERGY STAR Partner since 2004.
Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District has been recognized by EPA as an ENERGY STAR Top Performer for achieving an average ENERGY STAR energy performance score of 88 across its portfolio of buildings. Since beginning its energy program in 2004, the district has avoided nearly $2 million in energy costs. The district has employed a number of tested practices to attain its goals. In recent years, environmental studies classes at Middleton High School have researched energy-saving initiatives, such as reducing run times for lights and computers, while also involving the active participation of teachers. These class projects validated the students' theories regarding the correlation between reduced lighting and energy costs and enhanced their critical thinking skills regarding energy efficiency and conservation. The district plans to involve students and teachers at the new Clark Street Charter School, which will replace the alternative high school, in the redesign of that facility as part of its project-based curriculum. Park Elementary School's "Stars" project involved students and staff in a meaningful semester-long energy competition. The district also has a performance contract with Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls, Inc., which provides an innovative approach to conservation through facility improvements, such as energy-efficient lighting, occupancy sensors, upgraded digital building controls, water conservation, and HVAC equipment optimization and replacement. In addition, the district has demonstrated leadership in renewable energy and sustainability through the creation of a Sustainability Committee and the development of the district's comprehensive Energy Policy and Education Plan, which focuses attention on past, present and future implementation of dynamic renewable technologies such as solar, photovoltaic and geothermal power generation. Compared to its 2004 baseline, the district is preventing the emissions of more than 900 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by more than 23,000 tree seedlings planted and grown for 10 years.