McKinstry Supports Denver Public Schools’ Climate Action Plan and Equity Efforts With Local Business Engagement and Volunteerism

In recent years, as the climate and equity crises have continued to escalate, Denver Public Schools (DPS) leadership has been dedicated to bolstering equity and environmental justice efforts across the district. In addition to STEM mentorship and sustainability education opportunities, DPS has heeded students’ call for climate action with the enactment of a Climate Action Plan. Galvanized by the district’s young climate champions, its Climate Action Plan (CAP) was enacted in 2023 with a vision to position DPS as a leader and steward of accessible, healthy, livable and sustainable environments.

The CAP serves as the guiding light for the district with priority given to three areas of improvement — Environmental, Economic and Social. As a result of these focused efforts, the district has identified several action items including optimizing its facilities through energy efficiency improvements, electrifying its bus fleets, developing useful gardens and greenhouses, improving its resource management, promoting community engagement and developing a sustainability curriculum.

To support CAP efforts and the ongoing sustainability goals of the district, McKinstry called upon our Building Good team to facilitate a community engagement opportunity with local partner, Denver Urban Gardens (DUG). In April 2023, more than 45 McKinstry volunteers and DUG team members worked to build a food forest at DPS Elementary School, Doull. A garden site that mimics the strength and productivity of natural forests, volunteers prepared the land for thriving and bountiful trees through site cleanup, amending soil, planting fruit trees, shrubs, and perennials, and spreading mulch. Doull’s food forest will have a positive impact for generations to come by contributing to the Denver community’s food sovereignty, general wellness and environmental education.

To further its districtwide equity efforts, DPS engaged McKinstry’s Vendor Diversity program to support local minority and women-owned businesses — using their services and expertise to execute its sustainability and energy efficiency projects. To date, McKinstry has worked with DPS Office of Business Diversity to award over 15 minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBE) over $10M in contracts and project scope. In partnership with the district, McKinstry also offers any DPS-affiliated MWDBE access to capital workshops with JPMorgan Chase and the opportunity to apply for our year-long business accelerator program, ScaleUp. The current ScaleUp partner located in Denver’s LoDo district is black, female-owned, Energy Ensight Consulting.

“Students and leadership have made it clear through their Climate Action Plan that equity and environmental justice are essential to building a thriving future. McKinstry is honored to support the district with impactful partnerships that not only demonstrate DPS’ environmental stewardship but grow the local economy while supporting minority-owned businesses.” —Kate Kleyman, Vendor Diversity Program Manager, McKinstry

McKinstry is honored to be a long-time steward and supporter of DPS and their ongoing environmental justice and energy efficiency efforts. Through its stalwart dedication to a true, multi-faceted, strategic Climate Action Plan, the district has been able to build climate resiliency, reach previously unknown energy savings, and engage its students and community in truly impactful experiences that will positively influence staff, students and local residents for years to come. As we continue to highlight this ongoing partnership, we’ll focus on how DPS’s environmental justice goals have led to millions of dollars’ worth of decarbonization projects districtwide.


Denver, CO



Services Provided:

Building Controls Optimization
HVAC, Mechanical and Plumbing
Solar and Renewables

Square Footage:

3.8 million SF

Buildings Impacted


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