Energy and Sustainability

  • The Office of Energy and Sustainability oversees utility accounts with vendors for electricity, natural gas, district steam, water, and sewer. Management of these accounts includes tracking usage and cost, auditing, rate optimization, and vendor negotiations. The Office of Energy and Sustainability is also engaged in energy savings initiatives in our schools including the DPSCD Go Green Challenge.

    Impact of Green Schools

    How we use energy in our schools greatly impacts the district’s bottom line, which includes not just financial stability, but also student achievement and community well-being. By working to improve environmental factors—including thermal comfort, lighting, sound, and air quality – our students will be more comfortable in class and better able to concentrate on learning.

    Not only does the school environment affect learning outcomes, but it also affects student health. When our students are healthier, our communities are healthier.

    To learn more about how green buildings can improve student achievement, click on the American Federation of Teachers report: Building Minds Minding Buildings: Our Union’s Roadmap to Green and Sustainable Schools.

    Sustainability Management Plan

    Detroit Public Schools Community District is developing a comprehensive Sustainability Management Plan (SMP). As the plan is developed, we are concurrently implementing best-practices in green and sustainable school management. There are many challenges in greening our schools – but for the sake of our students, we need to move ahead now implementing best-practices that reduce costs, benefit our community, boost student achievement and prepare our students for the jobs of the future.

    The DPS SMP focuses on six areas:

    • Energy and Water
    • Waste and Recycling
    • Transportation
    • Outdoor Environment
    • Indoor Environment
    • Nutrition
    • Sustainability Initiatives

    Some of our current sustainability initiatives include:

    • The construction of seven new schools to LEED green building standards. These schools use less energy and water and provide more natural daylight, healthier indoor air quality and better acoustics for learning.
    • Launching the DPSCD Go Green Challenge a voluntary opportunity for schools to reduce their energy costs and share in the savings by engaging students, faculty and staff in best-practice energy management.
    • Negotiating with Detroit Edison to operate 800 kW of solar energy facilities at two DPSCD schools. The solar leases will generate $480,000 in lease payments to DPS and generate enough green electricity for over 150 Detroit households for 20 years.
    • Office of Energy Management has recovered $195,000 in billing errors from utilities and is constructing a robust tracking and auditing systems with EnergyCAP utility management software. EnergyCAP has twice been recognized by the US Department of Energy as an Energy Star Partner of the Year.


Contact Information

  • Alexander Smith
    Director of Energy and Sustainability
    Support Services Complex, Building C
    1601 Farnsworth
    Detroit, MI 48211
    Office (313) 578-7079