ELP Silver Partner - Aurora Public Schools

Aurora Public Schools Green Stars logo Icon representing energy efficiency Icon representing environmental education 

Aurora Public Schools Green Star Schools Program
Member since 2012

With the Bronze Achievement recognition under our belt from last year (2016-2017), the Natural and Renewable Resources Department with Aurora Public Schools is pursuing the CDPHE’s Environmental Leadership Program’s Silver Level recognition in order to build upon the school district’s energy efficiency and resource conservation programs. Aurora Public Schools has made great strides over the last year to continue to promote sustainability and engage our students and staff to act as change agents in our community. There are three pillars that guide our focus: 1. Innovative resource usage reporting via the online EnergyCAP program and the dissemination of information to our building site coordinators and staff via monthly Building Reports; 2. Student-led efforts and the adoption of district-wide initiatives supported by District Leadership; and 3. Implementation of district-wide Digital Badging Initiative, which allows students to gain credibility for taking responsibility for their education by earning digital badges for participating in, developing, and promoting sustainability and environmental best practices. The following metrics are outlined according to our district’s Energy & Sustainability 2020 Goals listed below:

2020 Goal: 20% Energy Use Reduction per Student

  • Over $1.5 million saved in energy costs (including cost avoidance) over the past 12 months.
  • Managed to reduce energy use by 12% per student across the district since 2014.
  • Successful launch of district-wide Building Dashboard Technology, which allows students, staff, administration, and community access to real-time energy & resource use throughout school buildings.

2020 Goal: 50% Diversion Rates across district

  • More than 712, 754 pounds of waste were diverted to recycling in 2016-2017.
  • More than 169,265 pounds of food waste composted at eight Elementary Schools.
  • In partnership with awarding-winning and locally owned and operated, We Don’t Waste, Aurora West College Preparatory Academy has donated more than 90,000 servings of uneaten/unopened food valued at $45,000 to support food banks in the Denver Metro area.

2020 Goal: 5% Overall Water Use Reduction across district

  • Extensive collaboration with Aurora Water to reduce water use. 
  • Five schools have conducted water audits.
  • More than 1,500 5th grade students participated in Aurora Water’s Youth Water Festival May 2017.
School Gardens
2020 Goal: Development and Implementation of Garden to Cafeteria Program in Five Schools, in perpetuity.
  • The district has a total of 31 school gardens. Through partnerships with Denver Urban Gardens (DUG), eight schools have established school/community garden programs.
    • North Middle School successfully implemented the Garden to Cafeteria Program through collaboration with district’s Nutrition Services Department, as well as implemented the first Youth Farm Stand to sell surplus produce to local community. 
Student Engagement
2020 Goal: All designated school buildings (52) adopt Sustainability Policy & Digital Badging Initiative for Environmental Education.
  • Twenty-eight schools and student groups participated in GSSP between 2014-2016.
  • To date, more than 1,100 students earned badges for individual efforts to promote and actively engage in Environmental Education through the district’s Digital Badging Initiative.