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Cate School’s Green Homes Earn LEED Certification

The Carpinteria school has five of only 154 Platinum-certified residences nationwide.

Cate School, a four-year college preparatory boarding school in Carpinteria, received the U.S. Green Building Council Platinum LEED Certification, the highest possible rating, for the sustainable design and function of five new faculty homes. Cate now has five of only 154 Platinum-certified residences nationwide.

The school incorporated into its teachers’ houses solar panels that will produce more electricity than the homes will consume, on-demand hot water heating systems, recycled building materials, wood flooring recommended by the Forest Stewardship Council, nontoxic paints and carpeting, and drought-tolerant landscaping. The homes are also equipped with water and energy conserving appliances.

The new residences have changed the lives of the faculty families who live in them.

“We’ve always been conscious about our impact on the environment,” said learning specialist Marnie Woehr, who recently moved into one of the new homes with her husband and two boys, “but these houses are so carefully designed that we feel we need to live up to them.”

While the Platinum certifications are a tangible recognition of Cate School’s commitment to environmental stewardship, the decision to build the award-winning homes emerged from the ethos that has guided Cate School for nearly a century.

“Ever since Curtis Cate founded this school nearly 100 years ago,” headmaster Ben Williams said, “the community has felt a responsibility to the Mesa we inhabit. Environmentalism is an appropriate and logical part of education, but the marriage of human endeavor and environmental stewardship truly distinguishes Cate School. How fitting that, on the eve of our second century, the facilities constructed upon this Mesa are acknowledged by the U.S. Green Building Council as the new paradigm in sustainability, environmental responsibility and energy efficiency. Neither Mr. Cate, nor those of us fortunate to continue the work he began, expect anything less.”

Additional Sustainability Initiatives at Cate School:

» New Early Childhood Learning Center is awaiting Gold Platinum Certification.

» New water treatment facility (under construction) will enable the school to reclaim all of its water, reducing impact on the community and environment.

» Dining hall uses organic and/or local produce, fruits and breads.

» Student-led projects (including “The Green Team”) to conserve energy and water, and recycle synthetic and organic materials.

» Creek restoration projects.

» Community awareness programs that involve California schools and businesses.

Don Orth is Cate School‘s communications director.

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