K-12 School Districts

K-12 School Districts

K-12 school districts spend nearly $8 billion annually on energy costs, the second largest expense after teacher salaries. Aging facilities combined with limited school budgets result in deferred maintenance of facilities with an estimated $270 billion needed for infrastructure repairs.

Learn about hot topics from the experts: On-Demand Better Buildings Webinars
Find Financing for Your Energy Efficiency Projects: Financing Navigator
Meet Our Goal Achievers

Better Buildings Goal Achievers are leaders in energy efficiency and stand as an example for their peers. Meet the partners who have met their commitments to reduce portfolio-wide energy use by 20% - 25% in 10 years or less.

Watch Recorded Webinars

Watch all previously recorded webinars in the On-Demand Webinars library sorted by popular topics such as resilience, zero energy buildings, and more.

2022 Better Buildings Progress Report

To date, the 900+ Better Buildings partners have saved more than 2.5 quadrillion Btus, saving more than $15 billion and 155 million tons of CO2.

Featured Solutions

This resource helps states, local school administrators, school boards, and facilities personnel supporting rural school districts make prudent decisions around the use of funds for energy efficiency improvements as a part of their master facilities management plan. 
This collection of Solutions-at-a-Glance from the Better Buildings K-12 partners provides various unique approaches to addressing energy efficiency issues in K-12 public schools. 
This toolkit covers a wide range of guidance, case studies, specifications, and more related to lighting technologies in K-12 schools.
Developed as part of DOE's Zero Energy Schools Accelerator (ZESA), this guide outlines 8 steps to creating a Zero Energy school.
Los Angeles Unified School Disctirct (LAUSD) lacked a comprehensive framework for tracking and measuring energy consumption and engaging staff, students, and the community. The District developed a suite of programs focused on health and wellness, education, recognizing partnerships, optimizing performance, improving efficiency, and sharing best practices to help achieve these goals.
Aurora Public Schools created an incentive-based energy conservation program to improve energy efficiency and student engagement district-wide, and has achieved a 12% energy reduction as of 2017 from a 2013 baseline.
This document includes steps that building owners and operators can implement to achieve smart, healthy, and low-carbon primary schools within their existing building portfolios. Primary schools often use packaged rooftop units for heating, cooling, and ventilation.
This document includes steps that building owners and operators can implement to achieve smart, healthy, and low-carbon secondary schools within their existing building portfolios. Secondary schools often include complex heating and cooling systems or packaged rooftop units and can include specialty equipment for gymnasiums, pools, and buses.
This report challenges the assumption that zero-energy K-12 schools are cost-prohibitive. By examining the costs of a subset of existing ZE schools and the strategies used to contain those costs, architects, engineers, owners, and researchers are challenging the notion that cost is a barrier to building ZE schools.

Other Resources


BBC K-12 Schools presentation at the 2017 Green Schools Conference & Expo on successful strategies to energy management.
This workshop-style session enabled partners and other interested stakeholders to sharpen their tools in the areas of building energy efficiency, renewable technologies, fleet conversions, and financial mechanisms.
This session covered funding options, design and road mapping, and communication strategies implemented by Better Buildings partner school districts.
This conversation explored alternative fuel school bus conversion and potential funding sources for school bus fleet conversions. Experts highlighted available programs and case studies from K-12 school districts around the nation. 
State-based energy efficiency programs and legislation for school facilities enable K-12 school districts to accelerate energy efficiency upgrades and improve learning environments while saving on utility costs. Several states provide examples of state funding models that offer centralized support for financing school improvements, technical assistance, and project implementation, like the Tennessee Department of Education's Energy Efficient Schools Initiative (ESSI).
This forum helped participants address the challenges of operating 19th-century education facilities and bridging to the best practices of 21st-century smart education campuses. Starting with the basics of benchmarking buildings to advanced design and construction of zero energy schools, our presenters shared the latest methodologies, tools, and gains in creating optimal learning environments for students at all levels. This session was open to all higher education and K-12 facilities professionals as well as supporting administrators, architects, engineers, and other building professionals.


From affordable student housing to high-infill offices, a rapidly accelerating building trend is the proliferation of zero energy buildings. This webinar explored the financial, technological, and design process innovations that make these projects a reality.
This webinar covered energy efficiency and renewable energy resources and strategies available to small and rural schools and showcased K-12 school districts that are successfully proving that energy efficiency provides a worthwhile ROI.
This webinar reviewed comprehensive lighting guidance for K-12 schools along with an overview of the newest lighting technologies and strategies for classroom optimization and proficiency.
This training is geared towards practitioners considering ESPC for their energy efficiency projects and includes tools for making this decision and establishing the conditions for ESPC.
This webinar highlighted the National Laboratories and how your organization can work with them to enhance your energy efficiency.
In this webinar attendees learned how school districts are managing energy costs, maintaining healthy environments, and meeting STEM academic requirements.

Sector Priorities

Meet the Sector Committee Chair