AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

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Sidwell Friends Middle School

This photo shows the entryway through the courtyard.
Photo credit: © Barry Halkin


  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Building type(s): K-12 education
  • 54% new construction, 46% renovation of a 1950 building, last renovated in 1971
  • 72,200 ft2 (6,710 m2)
  • Project scope: 3-story building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed September 2006
  • Rating: U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1--Level: Platinum (57 points)

The master plan for the Sidwell Friends School, a pre-K through 12th-grade Quaker independent school, focuses on meeting programmatic needs for its two campuses in Washington, D.C., and Bethesda, Maryland, including the unification of the campuses through coherent landscapes and enhanced pedestrian circulation.

The renovation and addition to the middle school transforms a 55-year-old facility into a school that teaches environmental responsibility by example. The 39,000 ft2 addition more than doubled the size of the existing building, providing modern spaces for music and art, science and computer labs, counseling, and a library while retaining and enhancing the value of the existing structure.

This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2007. It was submitted by KieranTimberlake Associates, LLP, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.

Environmental Aspects

Designed to foster an ethic of social and environmental responsibility in each student, the facility demonstrates a responsible relationship between the natural and the built environment.

Bicycle storage and showers are available, and the building is located within walking distance of a subway stop and several bus stops. Parking is available in an underground lot. A green roof and constructed wetland reduce stormwater runoff, improve the quality of infiltrated runoff, and reduce municipal water use. The wetland treats wastewater for reuse in the toilets and cooling towers.

The building was sited to take advantage of passive solar design. Together with high-efficiency electric lighting, photosensors, and occupancy sensors, daylighting minimizes lighting energy use. Solar-ventilation chimneys, operable windows, and ceiling fans minimize the need for mechanical cooling. Rather than develop a utility plant for this building alone, a central plant was created to serve the entire campus. A photovoltaic array generates about 5% of the building's electricity needs.

Reclaimed materials include exterior cladding, flooring and decking, and the stone used for landscaping. Interior finishes were selected for their high levels of recycled content, low chemical emissions, and use of rapidly renewable materials.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by Sidwell Friends School, Corporation, nonprofit
  • Typically occupied by 405 people, 40 hours per person per week


Green framework, Green specifications, Commissioning, Wetlands, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Wastewater treatment, Massing and orientation, Glazing, Passive solar, HVAC, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, On-site renewable electricity, Adaptable design, Benign materials, Salvaged materials, Recycled materials, Local materials, C&D waste management, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Low-emitting materials

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Last updated: 4/23/2007

Our thanks to the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to the U.S. Department of Energy, and to BuildingGreen, Inc. for hosting the submission and judging forms.

For more information about the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, contact AIA/COTE. For help on how to use this Web site, contact .

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