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Des Moines Public School District

Logo for Des Moines Public School District Des Moines, Iowa
10% Improvement (2010)
20% Improvement (2010)
Top Performer (2011)


The Des Moines Independent Community School District is more than 100 years old and serves more than 31,000 students annually. The district owns 67 buildings with a total square footage of 5,900,000. The average age of our buildings exceeds 60 years. The mission of the Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) is to equip students for life by challenging each one to achieve rigorous standards in academics, arts, and career preparation. The school district exists so that students in Des Moines develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to be successful at the next stage of their lives. The DMPS energy mission is to decrease the district's overall consumption and reduce its environmental impact through education, equipment and system upgrades, and responsible energy use. Schools are often the center of a community, and this provides the district the opportunity to model energy efficiency to our students, staff, and the entire community. DMPS educates the entire Des Moines community about the economic and environmental costs of energy use and ways to help curb energy waste. We believe that by educating students to make energy-smart decisions, they will learn to make conscientious energy consumption decisions throughout their lives.


The school district is a community leader in energy efficiency and conservation. The city of Des Moines ranked 23rd nationally on EPA's list of Top Cities with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings in 2010. Of the 60 ENERGY STAR certified buildings in the city, 38 were DMPS buildings. In April 2009, DMPS became an ENERGY STAR partner. Collaborating with ENERGY STAR has provided resources (e.g., EPA's ENERGY STAR measurement and tracking tool, Portfolio Manager) that are used to benchmark building energy performance, as well as educational tools (e.g., webinars and media resources) that are distributed and shared with staff and students. The district is a pledge driver for the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR campaign.


DMPS has received Leaders recognition from EPA for achieving a 10 percent improvement in overall energy performance early in 2010 and 20 percent improvement in overall energy performance by September 2010. As a result of the district's commitment to energy efficiency, we have achieved a portfolio average ENERGY STAR score of 76, up from our baseline score of 54. Since fiscal year 2007-08 through fiscal year 2009-10, DMPS has reduced energy use by 60,913 mBtu, preventing the emission of almost 5,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 1,100 passenger vehicles. In the same two years, DMPS has saved $1.4 million in avoided energy costs, which is equal to almost 47 custodians or almost 29 first year teachers. Our district currently has a $6M shortfall, which will dramatically impact services. Energy savings is a priority to save programs and jobs. We are on track to increase our savings by $2 million by the end of the current fiscal year. The districts success starts with the vision of our Chief Operations Officer and our energy team, and that vision is carried through by the efforts of all DMPS staff and students. Energy-saving strategies are apparent district-wide, through responsible building-level energy use. For example, lights and computers are turned off when not in use, thermostats are controlled based upon occupancy, personal convenience appliances (like coffee pots and mini-fridges) have been reduced or eliminated, and each school has developed individual energy plans. Incentives such as whiteboards for energy savings are part of our plan. In addition, the district has completed energy efficiency upgrades in lighting, HVAC systems, geothermal heating/cooling systems, energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems, motion and CO2 sensors, steam trap replacements, and energy-efficient window replacement. The district also tracks and monitors energy data and utility rates. The energy team reviews all utility use on a monthly basis against baseline data to make sure systems are operating as they should. Occasionally this results in the need to retro-commission.


DMPS is proud of our accomplishments as an energy conservation model nationally.