Last week in Washington, while their President-elect dad announced his Cabinet nominees and promoted a plan for stimulating the economy, soon-to-be ‘first daughters’ Sasha, 7, and Malia Obama, 10, were busy attending their new school. The girls are enrolled in the Sidwell Friends School, a private Quaker school where environmental stewardship is a core value. School officials demonstrated their commitment to this value in the 2006 expansion and renovation of the Sidwell Friends Middle School that Malia Obama attends. This building received the US Green Building Council’s highest rating for environmental sustainability––the platinum level of the popular Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™. The middle school building’s many green features include natural lighting (daylighting), non-toxic building materials, and an energy efficient design that is expected to reduce the building’s energy use by 60 percent compared to comparable buildings that meet energy standard ASHRAE 90.1-1999. It is not yet known whether the Obama girls noticed these amenities their first week, but they will soon. LEED for Schools includes a curriculum component to teach children about the green features of their schools.

EESI and the High Performance Buildings Congressional Caucus Coalition highlighted the benefits of high-performance green schools in a briefing last October. For more information from this briefing, please click here.

For more information about the Sidwell Friends Middle School, which the American Institute of Architects included in its Top Ten Green projects, please click here.