What is Sustainability?  

Sustainability has been applied to many organizations through various avenues.  The definition of sustainability as defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 is; “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In conjunction with this definition, in higher education and K-12 sustainability initiatives have been focused on three pillars: economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social development.  In business terms this is defined as the triple bottom-line- People, Planet, and Profit.

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Sustainability is integrated in both the operations and education of Douglas County School District.  The Office of Sustainability assesses current operational practices and identifies areas for resource management, operational efficiency and fiscal responsibility.  Additionally, the department works closely with schools to develop student’s 21st century skills through world class outcomes that are applicable to sustainability and project based learning models.  Sustainability is a tool to engage our students with their community and become civic leaders through global awareness, environmental stewardship and financial literacy.

Why Energy Management?

The nation's school districts spend more than $7.5 billion a year on energy. Schools are the largest energy consumer in many municipalities, and up to 30 percent of that energy is used inefficiently or unnecessarily (Eco-Schools USA). By implementing energy-conservation measures and using energy-efficient technologies, schools can significantly cut their energy use. The result is financial savings as well as a reduced environmental impact.

DCSD has been successful in implementing efficient energy management systems. Through mechanical and electrical upgrades, as well as changes in student and staff behaviors, DCSD has saved more than $18.3 million over seven years. The District is using 30 percent less energy per square foot than when the program started. While we celebrate our success, there is still more energy to save.