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PSD Leads the Way with Sustainability Management System

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Poudre School District (PSD) in Fort Collins, already a nationally recognized leader in energy conservation and green building, continues to be a pioneer with the first known sustainability management system (SMS) for K-12 schools in the U.S. An SMS moves an organization toward sustainability by focusing attention on critical environmental, economic, and social issues.

In its SMS, Poudre School District identifies existing sustainable practices, as well as measurable goals in the areas of sustainable education, resource conservation, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and transportation. The SMS also defines how to measure progress over time and illustrates PSD’s commitment to continued sustainability through a dedicated SMS team and annual reporting. “The district’s SMS is a plan of action and a method for integrating sustainability into all levels of our operation and decision making. We are committed to a program of ongoing awareness, training, and implementationâ€, states PSD’s Pete Hall, Director of Facilities.

With completion of the SMS, PSD also became the first Climate Wise member to create a sustainability management system. Climate Wise is a voluntary, city-run program that is dedicated to helping businesses minimize environmental impacts while maximizing the potential of local business. Climate Wise members are known as leaders in environmental stewardship and greenhouse gas reduction; with Poudre School District’s SMS, PSD is not only leading the way among school districts, it is leading the way to sustainability across industries.

PSD’s SMS is built on the premise that sustainability involves meeting the needs of the present without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to do the same: in other words, living off the interest of the earth, not the capital itself. The SMS expands and broadly integrates sustainability into all areas of operations, including curriculum. “This SMS demonstrates our commitment to providing healthy, productive, and safe environments for our students and staff,†commented Bill Franzen, Executive Director of Operations for Poudre School District. “ We believe that by reducing life-cycle costs and conserving energy and natural resources for the long term, we can more fully support our educational mission through fiscal responsibility.â€

PSD developed its SMS in partnership with The Brendle Group, Inc., a local consulting firm specializing in engineering sustainability through the built environment and organizational change. The Brendle Group also enlisted the help of “outside experts†including a City staff representative from Climate Wise.

Judy Dorsey, President of the Brendle Group, acknowledges the breakthrough nature of PSD’s SMS and what it means for the district and the community as a whole, “As a parent of school-age children in Fort Collins, I’m proud that our school district is making this integrated effort to institutionalize sustainability. Enhancing the physical environment through resource conservation sends the right message to students, staff, and the community.â€

Schools in the United States spend more than $6 billion per year on energy – an amount that exceeds the cost of both computers and books. In fact, the funds allocated to energy are second only to what is spent on salaries. Through its SMS, PSD is finding sustainable ways to reduce resource consumption while enhancing its learning and working environments.

Download PSD’s complete Sustainability Management System at psdsms.brendlegroup.com/2006 PSDSMS.

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