At OAC, we believe better is always possible — and what better place to start than our schools? They play an integral role in our society, and representing the third largest sector of commercial building energy usage in the United States, they leave a large mark on our environmental footprint. So, let’s make it happen. Playing off a fruitful 10+ year relationship, an existing project between OAC and Bellingham Public Schools evolved and presented a new opportunity – to blend education and address climate change through the district’s first Carbon Benchmarking Report.


What We Did

This project was a natural fit for the district and OAC. Coupling their dedication to sustainability with our carbon accounting expertise, Bellingham Public Schools was thrilled to have the OAC team perform the district’s first carbon benchmarking report. Not only did we see it as an opportunity to put a pen to paper and evaluate the district’s past and current emissions, it was a great opportunity for curious students to learn more about the process and work alongside industry experts — a beautiful example of The Bellingham Promise’s commitment to developing “scientists and mathematicians,” “skilled users of technology,” and “well-rounded community members.”

Our team brought the Bellingham High School (BHS) Environmental Club alongside for the study. The OAC Team spent six weeks with students, utilizing and evaluating historical data provided by facilities to calculate the school’s usage. The final findings were presented to the district’s Sustainability Task Force.



The final report was a variation of the standard, in-depth carbon benchmarking report, which focused on the high school’s electrical, natural gas, and water use. This report allows Bellingham Public Schools to better manage their energy use, produce energy consumption forecasts, and measure progress.

Next steps? For Bellingham High School, this includes completing a full report, consisting of items that were excluded in this first variation. For the district as a whole, the possibilities are vast. The district is home to 22 schools and approximately 12,000 students, and the approach taken and process followed during this first round of benchmarking at BHS can be built upon, adapted, and performed on all schools across the district to make a powerful impact. The partnership was a win-win for both teams. OAC had the ability to flex our carbon accounting muscle and offer a service completely new to the district, the district gained valuable data and a process they can utilize for years to come, and local students had the ability to learn and work side by side with industry experts in the built environment.



This benchmarking exercise allows Bellingham Public Schools to better manage their energy use, produce energy consumption forecasts, and measure progress. Most importantly? This research empowers schools to design thoughtful learning environments — where students, faculty, and guests thrive.


Your Vision, Our Mission

Now more than ever, it has become increasingly important for districts to track, report, and try to reduce GHG emissions. Don’t let the daunting task of carbon benchmarking hold you back from your sustainability goals. Lean on experts you can trust, that empower you to exceed those goals. We embrace the possibilities that come with carbon accounting, and can streamline the complex process.


Let’s Make Better Happen

Contact [email protected] today to learn how we can address your carbon accounting needs.