A recognized leader in green building and sustainable practices among independent schools, Bertschi School is on track to open in January the first Living Building in Washington State and the first living building on an elementary school campus in the world. The building will have no carbon footprint, with net-zero energy and net-zero water thanks to solar energy, passive ventilation and rainwater harvesting.
Here's the really cool part, from a development professional's perspective. A "living wall" containing native plants will clean the water, which is then circulated back into the classroom. Bertschi is creatively using this image in their "Give to Grow" fundraising challenge aimed at securing the final pledges to finish their $1 million campaign. There is a mock-up of the wall in the school entry, which will "turn green" with the addition of plants as gifts come in. Volunteers distributed bags with kiwis (which will grow in garden adjacent to the building) with a pledge card to parents as they dropped their children at school this morning.
Bertschi has also launched a grassroots online effort through Facebook's Causes application in an effort to attract donors who support sustainability and teaching students about environmental stewardship. This is a great example of going beyond your school community to cultivate (no pun intended!) new donors. Check it out at Support Bertschi School's Living Building Science Wing. Let it grow!