Cherry Creek School District and Johnson Controls Pave the Way for Colorado’s Healthy, Sustainable Future

  • Upgrades expected to generate net savings of $20 million over 20 years after funding the $69 million project
  • Project aligns with Colorado’s building performance standards by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 2021 baseline; will conserve 1.8 billion gallons of water over the project term
  • Johnson Controls OpenBlue platform will be integrated to manage utility spend, assist with operational excellence and provide students and community with increased visibility of sustainability measures

AURORA, Colo.April 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) and Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI), the global leader for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, are embarking on a sustainability initiative expected to reduce annual carbon emissions by 25%, water usage by 1.8 billion gallons and provide net savings to the school district of $20 million over the next 20 years – all while creating a more improved learning environment throughout Colorado’s fourth-largest school district.

Cherry Creek Schools is dedicated to excellence in all aspects of public K-12 education. A key component is aligning our facility operations with our values,” said Superintendent Christopher Smith. “Our partnership with Johnson Controls will make our buildings more environmentally friendly, lower utility costs and improve the learning environment for our 60,000 students and staff members.”

This $69 million project will generate savings that will fund the entire project, in addition to generating net savings of $20 million over the 20-year term. While emissions reduction will be top of mind throughout the project, CCSD and Johnson Controls carefully considered how these upgrades will support the district’s efforts to achieve equity within the communities the district serves. In support of this effort, 10% Minority- and Women- Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) are contracted to work on the project.


Groundbreaking upgrades
The overall CCSD initiative includes several innovative technologies and solutions integrated by Johnson Controls, including:

  • LED light fixtures and controls to enhance learning environments and reduce energy consumption
  • Water plumbing and irrigation control upgrades with expected total annual cost savings of nearly 20% and 1.8 billion gallons saved over the project term
  • HVAC systems to address deferred maintenance and improve indoor air quality
  • Computer power management to reduce computer-related energy use by 25-35%

Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue technology platform is at the heart of the updates to ensure operational excellence and manage utility spend. This comprehensive, AI-enabled solution provides advanced data insights in a single-source dashboard to help CCSD develop an energy use intensity roadmap and optimize its operations across facilities while providing new educational opportunities to students. The solution also offers full transparency to the community via GreenHub, a powerful public-facing module that enables CCSD to showcase its energy conservation and sustainability measures.

“We’re making LED lighting, water and controls upgrades the centerpiece of the project because of their immediate impact on occupant health, student productivity and utility costs,” said Jenny Stentz, Johnson Controls vice president and general manager, HVAC & Controls. “These enhancements, powered by the implementation of the OpenBlue technology platform, will supercharge Cherry Creek’s healthy building efforts, so it can stay on the cutting edge even as sustainability targets shift. These are solutions with immediate impact that can grow and adapt with the district’s evolving needs.”

Powerful impact
Passed by the Colorado legislature in 2021, HB21-1286 establishes a building energy performance standard for buildings over 50,000 square feet. According to the Act, building owners must collect and report on energy-use benchmarking data and comply with energy and GHG emissions reduction requirements of 7% by 2026 and 20% by 2030 from a 2021 baseline. This project expects to outperform these targets with an anticipated annual greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 25% from its 2021 baseline, six years earlier than the compliance date.

“The key to building a successful sustainability program is to think beyond requirements,” said Chief Financial and Operating Officer Scott Smith. “The steps that Cherry Creek is taking today will have long-term positive benefits, not only for its students and staff but for the communities it serves. This project and partnership with Johnson Controls will allow CCSD to ensure that its facilities aren’t just meeting new regulations but surpassing them — and ensure that CCSD keeps its classroom environments clean, healthy and comfortable for years to come.”

To learn more about how Johnson Controls develops healthy, sustainable and connected K-12 environments, visit

About Johnson Controls
At Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI), we transform the environments where people live, work, learn and play. As the global leader in smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, our mission is to reimagine the performance of buildings to serve people, places and the planet.

With a history of more than 135 years of innovation, Johnson Controls delivers the blueprint of the future for industries such as healthcare, schools, data centers, airports, stadiums, manufacturing and beyond through its comprehensive digital offering, OpenBlue. With a global team of 100,000 experts in more than 150 countries, Johnson Controls offers the world’s largest portfolio of building technology, software and service solutions with some of the most trusted names in the industry. For more information, visit or follow us @johnsoncontrols on Twitter.

SOURCE Johnson Controls International plc