Cambridge's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School Project Achieves LEED® Platinum Certification

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The City of Cambridge is proud to announce that the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lower School and Putnam Avenue Upper School Project has earned LEED® Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. This is the highest rating attainable in this category, based on Version 2009 for schools. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)* provides third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving environmental performance. 
The 170,000 square foot complex located at 100-102 Putnam Avenue opened in December 2015 as the first near net zero school building in Cambridge. It houses the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lower School, the Putnam Avenue Upper School, and the Department of Human Service Programs’ Preschool, After-School, and Community School programs. 
Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several categories, including energy use and air quality. With a score of 89, the MLK Jr. school building is the second highest scoring new LEED for Schools project in the nation (just behind Dunbar Senior High School in Washington DC, also designed by Perkins Eastman).
Designed by Perkins Eastman and constructed by Rich-Caulfield MLK Venture, the building embodies Net Zero ideals and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) in action. Throughout the building are embedded opportunities for students to explore the arts, sustainability, and engineering concepts, including math-themed interactive artwork and interpretive displays with signage illuminating the facility’s use of insulation and sustainable materials, consideration of natural light, and reliance on systems for solar energy collection, geothermal heating, and grey water reclamation. PhotoVoltaic panels help generate over 40% of the building’s electrical needs; geothermal wells reduce heating and cooling loads, and an underground storage tank collects rainwater that is used for non-potable water. The building is designed to use 60% less energy than typical educational buildings in New England and is a literal teaching tool with cutouts in the corridors that show the mechanical system at work. This enables students to understand how the energy they use, and save, manifests. Signage is placed throughout the schools explaining these processes.
“We were extremely proud to have built a high-quality sustainable facility that serves the children of Cambridge and enhances the neighborhood,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “This project and prestigious recognition were the result of an incredible collaboration between the City, Cambridge Public Schools, the architect, the contractor, and the leadership of retired City Manager Richard C. Rossi, and the Cambridge City Council.

For more information on the LEED certification process and green buildings in Cambridge, visit

Photo: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lower School and Putnam Avenue Upper School Project Classroom. Photo by Robert Benson, Courtesy Perkins Eastman.


About LEED:

*LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving environmental performance, including energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. The LEED program was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.


City of Cambridge Municipal Buildings with LEED certifications:

Cambridge City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway (Gold 2005)

Russell Field House, 82 Clifton St. (Certified 2008)

Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility, 125 Sixth St. (Silver 2010)

War Memorial Building Renovation, 1640 Cambridge St. (Silver 2010)

Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway (Silver 2010)

West Cambridge Youth & Community Center, 688 Huron Ave. (Silver 2011)

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway (Gold 2013)

Alice K. Wolf Center, 5 Western Ave. (Gold 2015)

Page was posted on 7/30/2018 7:18 PM
Page was last modified on 7/30/2018 11:43 PM
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