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Wake County Public School System

Logo for Wake County Public School System Cary, North Carolina
Top Performer (2013)
10% Improvement (2013)

Wake County Public School System (WCPSS), which operates schools totaling more than 21 million square feet, is the largest K-12 school system in North Carolina and the one of the largest in the nation.  The district is growing at a rapid pace, as WCPSS adds approximately 3,500 students and at least one school to its portfolio each year.  Forty-five WCPSS schools operate on a multi-track, year-round calendar, meaning that they are in session 240 days per year rather than the180 days of operation for a traditional calendar school. The school systems mission is to significantly increase achievement for all students by providing a world-class education that equips students with the knowledge and expertise to become successful, productive citizens. Benchmarking schools using Portfolio Manager, EPAs ENERGY STAR measurement and tracking tool, is a part of the ongoing implementation of the Strategic Energy Management Plan that WCPSS is developing to improve energy efficiency and increase student involvement in the process. An ENERGY STAR Partner since 1997 and the 1998 ENERGY STAR Buildings Education Partner of the Year, WCPSS strives to use energy responsibly not only as a measure of sound fiscal management, but also to model the principles and practices of environmental stewardship that are useful life skills for the WCPSS community.


WCPSS has been recognized by EPA as an ENERGY STAR Leader for improving the performance of its facilities by more than 10 percent compared to a 2008 baseline and as a Top Performer for achieving an average ENERGY STAR energy performance score of 78 across its portfolio of buildings.  WCPSS employs a number of measures to improve energy efficiency, including the use of building automation systems to control HVAC and lighting to improve efficiency during unoccupied periods. The district also employs ongoing data analysis of utility bills to identify high usage and then determine the causes and potential solutions. WCPSS also constructs and renovates buildings using energy-efficient design guidelines. WCPSS has been a pioneer in student involvement with its long-standing EnergySavers program, a student-driven energy conservation program through which students help patrol their school to find sources of wasted energy and water usage. WCPSS hopes to expand these efforts to further increase energy efficiency. Financially, these efficiency improvements meant WCPSS was able to avoid over $4.4 million in energy costs in 2012. Compared to its baseline year, the district currently prevents the annual emission of more than 16,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by more than 425,500 tree seedlings planted and grown for 10 years.