Decatur County Community Schools is a collection of K-12 schools located in southeast Indiana. The district serves roughly 2,500 students and occupies more than 385,000 square feet of floor space. Decatur County Schools works with the community to empower students to develop their intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual capacities. District administrators recognize energy conservation as a way to help the environment while also reducing operating costs, thereby conserving funds that can be allocated to the classroom. In 2010, Decatur officials partnered with ENERGY STAR and enrolled the district in the ENERGY STAR Challenge. Working with ENERGY STAR has provided the district with many resources to help reach its energy efficiency goals.
Decatur County Community Schools has been recognized by EPA as an ENERGY STAR Leader for improving energy efficiency by 70 percent compared to a 2008 baseline. The district has also been recognized as a Top Performer for achieving an average ENERGY STAR energy performance score of 100 across its portfolio of buildings. To date, the district has saved more than $2 million in energy costs. Energy efficiency efforts began when school officials decided to hire an energy education specialist. Through proper planning and communication, successful energy efficiency measures have included installing motion sensors, upgrading gym lighting, modifying indoor and outdoor lighting schedules, and modifying HVAC schedules. Through careful planning, multiple freezers and coolers are shut down for several months when school is not in session, and computers are also shut down during evenings and on weekends. Compared to its baseline year, the districts prevents the emissions of more than 3,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by more than 84,500 tree seedlings planted and grown for 10 years.