Where Are the Greenest Schools in the Country?- page 6 | Science | Smithsonian
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Manassas Park Elementary School, Manassas, Virginia. Architect: VMDO Architects, PC. (© Sam Kittner)

Where Are the Greenest Schools in the Country?

The definition of being eco-conscious is so much more than having solar panels on a roof

Sidwell Friends Middle School Washington, D.C.

Sidwell Friends Middle School
(© Albert Vecerka / Esto)

Waste management isn’t the most glamorous of topics, says co-curator Deborah Sorensen, but it is profoundly important whenever you talk about sustainability and schools. She calls Sidwell Friends Middle School, a private school in northwest Washington D.C., a “showcase project” in this regard. In addition to a green roof and a photovoltaic array, which supplies five percent of the building’s electricity, the school, renovated in 2006, has a beautifully constructed wetland that filters wastewater. Once the bathroom wastewater passes through a settling tank, and then the wetlands, where microorganisms assist in cleaning it, and yet another filter, the resulting “gray water” is channeled back into the school’s bathrooms.

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