Del Norte County Unified School District (DNCUSD), situated amongst ancient redwoods and pristine rivers in northwestern California, educates approximately 4,200 students in facilities encompassing more than 500,000 square feet of space. This district's mission is to help students become life-long learners who can creatively and effectively communicate, collaborate, and problem solve in a global society. In 2011, district administrators entered into a contract with Cenergistic and hired a part-time energy manager to develop a verifiable energy conservation program. The district became an ENERGY STAR Partner in 2011, and every employee was encouraged to become an active participant in the conservation project.
Del Norte County Unified School District has been recognized by EPA as an ENERGY STAR Leader for improving the energy efficiency of its facilities by more than 20 percent compared to a 2011 baseline and as a Top Performer for achieving an average ENERGY STA R energy performance score of 86 across its portfolio of buildings. For the first time in 50 years, several of the district's boilers were shut down during summer months when school was not in session, which provided great financial savings. More than 90 portable classroom thermostats were replaced with programmable units. Old lighting was removed from a number of schools and new, energy-efficient lighting was installed. Since implementing the conservation project, DNCUSD has saved more than $467,000 in utility costs. This achievement was earned by all areas of the school system; teachers, custodians, administration, maintenance staff members, and students all helped create a climate of conservation by making changes in their behavior and daily routines. Compared to its baseline year, the district currently prevents the annual emissions of more than 800 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is equal to the carbon sequestered by more than of 21,900 tree seedlings planted and grown for 10 years.