Ceres Unified School District is located approximately 90 miles south of Sacramento in the farmlands of the central valley of California. Serving approximately 11,000 students, the district's buildings encompass more than 1.1 million square feet of floor space. The district's mission is to provide a quality, balanced education that results in academic excellence and career preparation while equipping students with the attitudes and skills necessary to produce self-directed, productive citizens. The district adheres to its motto, "Committed to Excellence, Responsive to Every Student." In line with this vision, the district partnered with Cenergistic, Inc. in 2008 to establish an energy-saving program aimed at reducing energy usage and redirecting funds to school programs. The district has been an ENERGY STAR Partner since 2008, when district officials set an initial goal of achieving national recognition for its energy program.
Ceres Unified School District has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR Top Performer for achieving an ENERGY STAR score of 84 across its portfolio of buildings. In 2010, the district was recognized as an ENERGY STAR Leader for improving energy efficiency by more than 30 percent. In fact, the district is now using less energy than it was in 2007 and has since added seven new schools to its portfolio and additional square footage to seven other existing facilities. This achievement reflects a commitment to the program at all levels within the district, including management, maintenance and custodial staff members, teachers, and other staff members. They have all worked together to make this program successful by changing their daily energy use habits. The program has yielded more than $3.2 million in avoided energy costs since the program was implemented and currently saves more than $750,000 per year. Compared to its 2007 baseline, the district is currently preventing the emissions of more than 1,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by more than 35,700 tree seedlings planted and grown for ten years.