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World's first K-12 school to achieve both LEED for Schools Platinum and WELL Platinum

K-12 Schools

World's first K-12 school to achieve both LEED for Schools Platinum and WELL Platinum

The John Lewis Elementary School is also the first school in the District of Columbia designed to achieve net-zero energy (NZE).

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | May 7, 2024
World's first K-12 school to achieve both LEED for Schools Platinum and WELL Platinum -  John Lewis Elementary School
Photo courtesy Perkins Eastman

A new K-12 school in Washington, D.C., is the first school in the world to achieve both LEED for Schools Platinum and WELL Platinum, according to its architect, Perkins Eastman.

The John Lewis Elementary School is also the first school in the District of Columbia designed to achieve net-zero energy (NZE). The facility was designed to improve student and teacher performance, health, and well-being, as well as reduce the building’s life-cycle costs. (See more K-12 schools coverage from BD+C.)

The new building replaced an obsolete, brutalist open-plan building. The design retained the best aspects of the open plan, providing flexible space and ease of communication, while improving adjacencies, daylighting, acoustics, security, and outdoor space.

The design emphasizes outdoor recreation and connections with the natural world, known to improve student health and academic achievement. The landscape design embeds natural systems with dynamic play and learning spaces to blur the walls of the classroom. A treasured place for the community, certain school amenities are accessible after-hours and on weekends.

The building offers a series of intimate, child-scaled houses inside and outside that foster collaboration and strong relationships. Designers benchmarked performance against several of the highest performing schools in the country on energy and Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) factors to provide the best daylight, most comfortable, and healthiest learning environments of any school building.

World's first K-12 school to achieve both LEED for Schools Platinum and WELL Platinum
Photo courtesy Perkins Eastman

A high-performance dashboard tracks the building’s energy consumption, showcases the building’s sustainability features, and links to the school’s curriculum to address topics such as social and environmental justice, climate change, and water conservation. Through this interactive, online dashboard, students and teachers can discover how they interact with the building, and how the building and campus influence and are influenced by the larger environment.

The building is paired with Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, concurrently designed, which is also targeting NZE. The excess energy expected to be generated at John Lewis will help Banneker also achieve NZE.

Owner and/or developer: DC Department of General Services | DCPS
Architect: Perkins Eastman DC
MEP engineer: CMTA
Structural engineer: Yun Associates
General contractor/construction manager: MCN Build

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