Solar on Schools: 100% Clean Energy School Districts

Campaign Toolkit and Handbook can be found on our website.

Climate Parents are working to move school districts around the country to adopt 100% clean energy. School districts are major energy consumers. Powering them with renewables is a climate solution that benefits kids and communities. This effort builds on the success of Ready for 100 (more Colorado members than any other state!) and Colorado has more cities committed to 100% clean energy by 2030 too.  

Moving school districts to 100% clean energy is important to our kids and communities for many reasons, including: cutting climate pollution, saving districts money, creating STEM learning opportunities and expanding community resiliency.

Schools represent a surprisingly large share of fossil fuel use. According to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, school districts manage two million acres of land and as much building space as half of the entire commercial office building sector. School districts are a leading consumer of electricity in many municipalities, spending $8 billion each year on energy costs, school districts’ largest expense after personnel. We can help make schools, the heart of our communities, healthy spaces that help put in place the clean energy future our kids deserve. State and local governments invest more capital in K-12 school facilities than in any other infrastructure sector outside of transportation. Let’s seize the opportunity to help steer these investments into schools that run on clean energy! Take action to support your school district in committing to 100% clean energy. Launch a 100% Clean Energy School District campaign in your community.


To build the movement and progress forward on climate action, we are working toward the following outcomes:

Invest money saved on energy bills into students and classrooms.

  • Energy efficiency measures alone can save U.S. schools $2 billion/year, a quarter of total energy costs.
  • The cost of solar panels is one-third of what they were 10 years ago.
  • Space heating and cooling represent half of all energy use in schools
  • Efficient air-source or geothermal heat pumps can offset significant energy use.
  • Money saved can be redirected to academic and enrichment programs or facility upgrades.

Shifting American K12 schools to 100% clean energy would reduce the same amount of climate pollution as taking 1 in every 7 passenger cars off the road.

Improve kids’ health and academic performance

Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that health effects from mold, poor ventilation, uncomfortable temperatures, inadequate lighting, and noise can undermine achievement and disadvantage students who already struggle in school. Many clean energy solutions can address these challenges.

  • Asthma causes more than 13 million school absences per year. Low-income kids and children of color are disproportionately impacted.
  • A shift to clean energy can improve ambient air quality.

Position school districts as leaders on climate action

  • Schools can lower their carbon emissions by 30% or more through efficiency measures, and can entirely offset the climate impacts of their energy use by shifting to 100% clean energy.
  • Because young people are particularly vulnerable to both health risks from fossil fuel pollution and climate impacts, school communities are important avenues for climate solutions like 100% clean energy school districts.

Expand educational and leadership opportunities

  • On-campus clean energy projects provide exciting real-world project-based learning opportunities for classes in science, technology, engineering, and math.
  • Schools inspire broader awareness in our communities about clean energy solutions.

Build community resilience

  • Schools are a leading go-to for emergency shelter and services. By coupling clean electricity and power storage, schools can maintain power and heat, expanding their ability to serve communities during hurricanes, fires, and other disasters.

Create new jobs

  • 60 percent of funds spent on energy efficiency goes to labor, and local suppliers provide half of all energy efficiency equipment available to schools.

Lisa Hoyos of GreenLatinos can help! • 100% Clean Energy School Districts Toolkit. A comprehensive, user-friendly resource complete with templates and tools for advocates who want to move your school district to make a 100% clean energy commitment.• 100% Clean Energy School District Handbook. A guide for school district staff detailing the pathways to achieve 100% clean energy.• A learning network of parents and others moving school districts to 100% clean energy around the country.• Staff support and partnership in launching and implementing your campaign. Please reach out to Lisa Hoyos, Climate Parents at: or (415) 977-5749. Thank you!


The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) Energy Savings for Schools program (ESS) provides technical resources for rural and low-income schools across Colorado. The program provides a consolidated platform for all of CEO’s K-12 supported programs and includes a free energy audit, preliminary renewable energy assessment, technical support and energy coaching, and implementation support for identifying funding/financing options for completing projects. Schools also are connected to other resources that can help them meet their energy goals. The ESS program collaborates with school staff to achieve measurable savings and create sustainable energy programs.

ESS helps schools implement energy efficiency measures and leverage low- to no-cost options to pay for upgrades that yield long-term benefits. Schools reap the benefits of lower monthly utility bills and higher classroom comfort and safety, and students increase their energy literacy and gain a valuable understanding of how their behaviors influence consumption of resources.

ESS Program Successes

  • 54 schools enrolled
  • $1.5M projects funded
  • 3.5M kWh saved
  • 200K Therms saved
  • 12.5M Gallons of water saved

ESS also connects school districts to other K-12 programs supported by CEO including:

Additional ESS Information

If you have questions or would like to get started with ESS, please contact Michael Turner, Colorado Energy Office, at

Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs)

Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) are administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), with technical energy support provided by CEO.  SEPs are a means by which penalties for environmental violations may be mitigated by directing funds toward environmentally beneficial projects. SEPs create a means for K-12 schools to benefit from an energy audit, feasibility study, or implementation of an energy efficiency or renewable energy project. An introduction to SEPs can be found HERE.

For more information, contact Michael Turner at:


The Renew Our Schools (RNOS) program is an energy conservation competition in which schools compete to win a $20,000 prize for energy retrofits.

In conjunction with the Energy Performance Contracting and Energy Savings for Schools programs, the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) is supporting the expansion of the RNOS competition to Pueblo School District in fiscal year 2019. CEO will provide matching funding as a conduit for further energy management assistance and performance contracting at participating schools and school districts. More information about the RNOS competition can be found HERE.

For more information, contact Michael Turner at