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A decision support system for benchmarking the energy and waste performance of schools in Toronto

Julian Scott Yeomans

Author Affiliations

Operations Management & Information Systems Area, Schulich School of Business, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada

Environmental Systems Research 2012, 1:5  doi:10.1186/2193-2697-1-5

Published: 14 August 2012



The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) oversees the largest school district in Canada and has been spent more than one third of its annual maintenance budget on energy and waste. This has directed attention toward system-wide reductions to both energy consumption patterns and waste generation rates. In this paper, a decision support system (DSS) that can process unit-incompatible measures is used for rating, ranking, and benchmarking the schools within the TDSB.


The DSS permits the ranking of any set of schools by contextually evaluating their relative attractiveness to other identified school groupings. Consequently, the DSS was used to explicitly rank each school’s performance within the district and to determine realistic energy improvement targets. Achieving these benchmarks would reduce system-wide energy costs by twenty-five percent.


The TDSB study demonstrates that this DSS provides an extremely useful approach for evaluating, benchmarking and ranking the relative energy and waste performance within the school system, and the potential to extend its much broader applicability into other applications clearly warrants additional exploration.

Benchmarking Performance; Data Envelopment Analysis; Decision Support Systems; Energy & Waste