Education Green

Providence School Achieves LEED Gold Certification

Little School

Providence, RI – Lincoln School’s co-educational early childhood program, Little School, located in Providence, has achieved LEED Gold certification.

Little School solar panels / Photo courtesy of Josh Mitnick

The Little School project provided additional capacity and created indoor and outdoor spaces fully aligned with the Reggio-Emilia-influenced curriculum and Quaker values. At site scale, the LEED Gold certified, net-zero energy project was designed to improve the campus connection to the neighborhood, support the school curriculum with biophilic interventions, and be energy efficient. The team at studioMLA Architects worked hand-in-hand with the educators  to ensure that the built environment supported emergent curriculum goals, child autonomy, and the connection to the natural world.

When selecting materials and textures, studioMLA made sure they adhered to the Reggio-Emilia principle of considering the classroom environment as crucially important, designing the space to be beautiful and reflective of the child’s learning, and using natural materials frame the child-centered spaces. The materials were sourced from products with no environmental off-gassing and were verified to contain nothing potentially harmful to the health of the occupants. Additionally, the Little School has a green cleaning policy in place to reduce levels of chemical, biological, and particulate contaminants that would compromise air quality, human health, building finishes, building systems, and the environment.

Little School children in the classroom / Photo courtesy of Josh Mitnick

The Little School maximizes natural ventilation and natural lighting while implementing renewable materials and energy. The floor-to-ceiling operable windows introduce natural light and allow views of flora, fauna, and the sky. The high-efficiency design integrates various energy conservation measures, providing energy savings. Notable contributors to cost savings include the high-performance building envelope, the high-efficiency HVAC system, abundant natural lighting, and on-site renewable solar energy.

The building has an indoor LED lighting system and utilizes renewable energy outdoors via a photovoltaic array of 100 solar panels. In addition to the solar array on the roof, light-colored roofing and paving materials strategically reduce heat island effect. Annually, the site generates roughly 128% of the electricity consumed. The Little School expansion produces zero carbon emissions.