Kenosha Unified School District was created in 1967, and now is a growing, progressive, urban public K-12 school district with an enrollment of more than 23,000 students. Kenosha Unified School District is the largest employer in Kenosha County with more than 2,500 full and part-time staff. The district consists of 44 buildings containing approximately 3.4 million square feet of floor space on 515 acres of land. In the 2004-2005 budget year the district allocated $38,000 from the existing facilities budget to launch a new energy efficiency program.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized Kenosha Unified School District as an ENERGY STAR Leader for increasing its energy efficiency by 20 percent. The district has also earned previous recognition for increasing its efficiency by 10 percent. The district's energy management program has saved in excess of $2.3 million dollars since its inception. This is the equivalent of hiring more than 65 first- year teachers. In the last year alone, the district has avoided more than 6,400 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of planting more than 1,400 acres of trees. These gains were achieved within the existing budget and without hiring additional staff by utilizing the concepts contained in the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management. The district's energy management program began with a school board policy mandating weekly energy inspections of building systems. The facility management team went through each building and performed a retrocommissioning survey, ensuring all systems were working as intended. Behavioral changes have also helped Kenosha Unified School District increase energy efficiency. The energy management policy limits personal appliances like mini refrigerators and hot plates, requires close adherence to temperature setpoints in classrooms, and reminds students and staff to turn off lights and computers when not in use.