Best K-12 Schools

Manzo Elementary School & Bertschi Science Wing

Manzo Elementary School

The Reconciliation Ecology Project at Manzo Elementary is transforming lives and communities through the promotion of stewardship, healthy choices and innovation in learning and educational facilities. From the earthen water collection jars, to the chickens, composting, and gardening, Manzo has used all of its green initiatives to enhance learning and as the basis for its counseling program, while empowering its students (overwhelmingly from economically disadvantaged families) to become sustainability natives and future advocates for their communities. Manzo is re-connecting young children to nature and their food sources. Families once dis-enfranchised from participation in this neighborhood school are now becoming engaged and active participants through the green programs. Green entrepreneurship is being promoted, and sustainability is becoming the new norm.

Bertschi Science Wing

Seattle’s Bertschi School Living Science building is the first project in the world built to the Living Building Challenge (LBC) v2.0 standards and in an urban setting. This elementary school wing, collaboratively designed with the students, follows LBC requirements that includes 20 “Imperatives.” These Imperatives, which include net-zero water, net-zero energy, must be proven over a one-year period of occupancy. A 20-kilowatt PV system produces all of the electricity for the building and allows students to participate in real-time monitoring of the buildings energy use and photovoltaic production. All water needed for the building is produced and treated on site. The design brings the natural science-based curriculum inside the classroom for a direct connection with students the most important aspect of the project is that all the sustainable features are visible and functional for students to learn ecological concepts that can become intrinsic values for future generations. The entire design team performed the project pro-bono for the non-profit school.