Edition Date: December, 2011
News Source: Idaho Business Review, Idaho Statesman Business Insider

The Children’s School (TCS) located in Boise’s Historic Northend Neighborhood, recently received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) under the LEED for Schools rating system. LEED for Schools is the recognized third party standard for healthy, high performance, sustainable schools.  TCS is the first school in Boise to receive LEED Certification, only the third school in Idaho, and one of only 217 schools in the nation.

“The USGBC Idaho Chapter commends The Children’s School for creating a healthy and sustainable environment in which their students and families can learn, grow and thrive.  Research has clearly demonstrated that increased natural lighting and healthy indoor air quality significantly enhance student and teacher performance, and it’s great to see an example of this for schools in Boise and beyond,” said Charlie Woodruff, Director of the USGBC Idaho Chapter.

The building was originally built in 1958 and has not undergone a substantial remodel since 1983 after The Children’s School began occupying the space.  The Children’s School worked closely with erstad ARCHITECTS throughout the design and construction of the remodel to achieve their goal of creating an evergy efficient, healthy building for students, teachers, staff, and families.  The school’s commitment to sustainability is a reflection of their pledge to be a “community advocate for the whole and healthy development of children and families”.

The remodel was completed in the fall of 2010 and included all new windows, doors, and a new roof with upgraded insulation, and all new heating and cooling systems along with extensive interior improvements.  Some of the sustainable highlights of the renovation include: a 24% reduction in potable water use; a 27% reduction in overall energy consumption; 45% of construction waste was diverted from the landfill through recycling efforts; and low VOC paints, adhesives, carpet and wood products were used throughout the building.  The Children’s School is also enrolled in Idaho Power’s Green Power Program which provides 35% of the building’s electricity through renewable sources.

TCS’s care for students is exemplified in the much-needed remodel which created a pleasant, more productive learning environment with on-going operational savings for TCS and significantly reduced impacts to Idaho’s environment.  In addition, the remodel, which improved the school’s air circulation system, led to a significant reduction in absences due to illness during the first full school year in the remodeled building.

Idaho Smart Growth awarded The Children’s School the 2011 Award for Smart Growth and Green Building and applauded their decision to remodel the existing building rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch or moving to a new location.  By recycling the building itself, they set a standard from which they didn’t back down through the entirety of the project.