Tuesday was an historic day for Americans as President Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.  His two daughters were among the hundreds of spectators who joined President Obama on stage.  As part of the family’s transition to Washington, the girls needed a new school, and the Sidwell Friends School was chosen.  The eldest Obama daughter, Malia, is a fifth-grade student at the LEED Platinum certified Sidwell Friends Middle School.

In order for a building to receive platinum-level certification in the LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) category, a minimum of 52 points is required.  Sidwell Friends Middle School obtained 57 points and was certified as a LEED Platinum institution in March 2007. 

The building received 11/14 points in the Sustainable Sites category, 5/5 for Water Efficiency, 13/17 in the Energy & Atmosphere section, 8/13 in Materials & Resources, 15/15 for the Indoor Environmental Quality and 5/5 for Innovation & Design. 

The project cost was $28 million for the 72,500 square feet of building space, which equals $386/foot.  The measures taken during the construction of the school include a 90 percent reduction in municipal water use. About 80 percent of the plants on the property are native to the D.C. area, and the school uses almost 2/3 less energy than a non-LEED certified school.

Sidwell Friends' attention to the environment does not stop with the LEED Platinum Middle School.  Sasha Obama, Malia's younger sister, attends the Sidwell Friends Lower School.  During the construction of the Lower School, 17% of the materials used were recycled, 80% of the construction waste was recycled and the building uses natural lighting generously.

In addition to the green building standards used in the Lower School, "students bring a vegetable from home each week to prepare soup for an organization that feeds homeless people. Vegetable scraps from this community service project are composted on the Lower School campus." Source: Sidwell Friends

Even the housekeeping program maintains a focus on environmentally friendly measures.  The cleaning contractor only uses Green Seal Certified cleaning products and energy-efficient cleaning equipment.

Sidwell Friends' attention to the environment is admirable and through their actions, they are educating a generation of eco-conscious children. 

Photo by Alessio85

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