John Lewis Elementary School Achieves Double Platinum – LEED and WELL – Certification

Perkins Eastman DC has designed the first school in the world to achieve both certifications at the platinum level.

Washington, DC — Award-winning architecture and design firm Perkins Eastman DC (PEDC) is honored to announce that John Lewis Elementary School in Washington, DC, is the first school in the world to be both WELL™ and LEED® certified to the platinum level.

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The achievement of both WELL and LEED Platinum ratings comprise the first two steps of the ambitious three-part sustainability approach for John Lewis Elementary, which is also designed to be the first school in the District of Columbia to achieve Net Zero Energy (NZE). The prestigious WELL Platinum distinction was awarded through the International WELL Building Institute’s (IWBI) WELL Building Standard, the premier standard to focus on enhancing people’s health and wellness through the buildings where we live, work, and play. LEED v4 Platinum was awarded in March of 2024 as part of the U.S. Green Buildings Council’s LEED® for Building Design and Construction: School rating. The world’s most widely used green building rating system, LEED certification provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings, which offer environmental, social, and governance benefits.

The design of John Lewis Elementary School focuses creating a high-performance, 21st-century learning environment that emphasizes civic presence, community connectivity, and—most importantly—student experience and wellness.

“From the very beginning, the district wanted this project to establish a new benchmark for our on-going investment in school facilities, with the aim of enhancing community sustainability and resilience AND fostering health and well-being among the students and teachers who use the building every day. Achieving “Double Platinum” at John Lewis Elementary School celebrates the collaborative commitment involved in realizing this inspiring vision that will enable DC’s students and communities to thrive,” said Sean O’Donnell, FAIA, leader of Perkins Eastman DC’s k12 practice.

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Shilpa Khatri, Deputy Chief of DCPS Facilities & School Planning and her team championed the pursuit of the certifications, noting that NZE, WELL, and LEED provide a great framework to help the district pursue their education and sustainability goals.

“DC Public Schools is dedicated to providing sustainable learning environments in which the district’s students can thrive. In partnership with PEDC and DGS, we are excited that we were able to leverage John Lewis Elementary School’s unique site conditions and new construction opportunities to pilot a robust model of WELL certification, Net Zero design, and LEED certification. Our planning and design experience embodies “building as pedagogy,” truly emphasizing the educational value in facilities and ensuring paths for long-term maintenance and durability,” said Khatri.

Beyond John Lewis Elementary School and the recently completed Benjamin Banneker High School and Bard High School Early College DC, Perkins Eastman DC have 4 more net-zero energy-ready schools currently in the design and construction phases. These projects, along with pre- and post-occupancy evaluations for these and other district schools, are now informing DC Public Schools’ approach to school design and infrastructure, as well as expanding to other districts in the United States.