Energy and Sustainability

Updated on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 1:17pm

Energy & Sustainability is responsible for managing utility use and for promoting Social, Economic and Environmental Sustainability for the district.  Between 2009 and 2016, the team has implemented conservation measures that have reduced energy costs by $1.1 million annually.  The team has begun work on a strategy to eventually achieve a district goal of of Zero-Waste and Zero-Net-Energy.

We're taking steps to "go green." That means our schools and district departments are working to be wise stewards of our resources. Learn how we are being energy smart--and how you can do your part. 

Vision Statement

Adams 12 Five Star Schools will develop sustainable practices in our schools and community that will benefit future generations. This will be accomplished through environmental stewardship and education, leaving a smaller footprint on the world.

Business Services Departments

Enterprise Services


  • Cafeterias are serving food on reusable trays and using energy efficient dishwashers. Not only will it reduce the amount of trash that needs to be picked up and transported to a landfill, but students will learn the value of reusing items.
  • Paying attention to health and safety guidelines appropriate for each school level, cafeteria foods will not be wrapped in plastic unnecessarily. 

Environmental Health and Safety

  • Light bulbs with regulated levels of mercury (Hg) are recycled. Veolia Environmental Services properly packages the light bulbs and sends them off to Phoenix for Hg reclamation. The Hg is then resold preventing the need to produce new mercury through mining procedures.


 Energy Management Strategies

  • Offers a voluntary Energy Smart Incentive Program where schools can earn a rebate if they reduce electrical use by 5 percent.
  • Lighting retrofits completed on most facilities. During a retrofit older fluorescent lights and ballasts are replaced with more energy efficient ones.
  • Facilities Services regularly performs preventative maintenance on our facilities.
  • We are a partner with the Colorado Governor's Energy Office. McElwain Elementary School saw benefits through a lighting retrofit project.
  • Three schools participate in the Solar Schools Program coordinated by the Smart Energy Living Alliance.  The program was launched in 1998-99 through funding by Xcel Energy's Renewable Energy Trust.  View real-time data on the PV panels at Century Middle, Horizon High, or Vantage Point High Schools. 

Grounds and Irrigation

  • Tree trimmings are made into a mulch that is then used for landscaping.
  • Legacy High School is irrigated with reclaimed water on appropriate areas.


  • Daily commitment to supporting energy conservation through managing the lighting, the district temperature guidelines, and reducing energy usage during holiday breaks.
  • Integrating environmentally friendly cleaners.
  • Assisting schools who participate in the Energy Smart Incentive Program.

Planning and Design

  • Day lighting, the use of natural light, provides a pleasant environment and allows the district to reduce its energy bill.
  • Ventilation is set to 15 CFM per square foot. A well ventilated building reduces absenteeism and that improves literacy.
  • Buildings are designed to keep background noise from HVAC equipment to 35 dBa.  This helps to reduce difficulty hearing the teacher.   

Materials Management

  • Used textbooks are resold through a contract with Rocky Mountain Textbook.
  • Cell phones are resold to Cellular Recyclers. 
  • Old vehicles or equipment are taken to Roller Auctions.


The Five Star District operates Colorado's first-ever hybrid school bus. Test results indicate several environmental benefits to this hybrid bus technology including a 70 percent increase in fuel economy and a 40 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

The purchase of the hybrid school bus was made possible in part through an alternative fuels rebate from the State of Colorado.

The district also maintains two Hybrid Ford Escapes used by Safety & Security.

Information Technology Department

New Initiatives

  • Over Spring Break 2009 IT implemented a program to remotely shut down all computers in the district, saving thousands of dollars per month in energy costs.

  • Replacing rack Mount servers with Blade Servers.  One midsize server replaces 16 smaller servers.  Energy efficiency is improved through less power consumption and cooling needs in the data center.

  • Power management schemes are being "automatically pushed out" all across the district, which set options such as screen savers, monitor turn off time, and hard drive spin down.  All of these changes save power every day while users are away from their computers. 

On-going Projects

  • Continue to use "intelligent" software tools to control physical devices and save energy.  Purchase LCD monitors and use other "power aware/power efficient" technologies that require less power, saving not only energy costs related to electrical power, but reducing heating and cooling costs as well. 

For more information regarding the Energy & Sustainability team, contact Shannon Oliver, Asst. Director, Energy & Sustainability.