Cork flooring. Ceiling tiles made of sunflower seeds. Desks made of recycled paper. These elements helped The Principal Child Development Center earn its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification in 2009 — one of the first certifications awarded in Des Moines — from the U.S. Green Building Council.
LEED is an internationally recognized benchmark for green building. It provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
Certification provides an independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures. Gold certification is the second-highest ranking of four levels.
The certification also demonstrates our commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility. Through LEED, we receive the tools we need to immediately impact our building’s performance, while providing healthy indoor spaces for our buildings’ occupants—in this case the children of our employees.
LEED-certified buildings are designed to:
"After many months of planning, design and construction, LEED certification validates our commitment to environmentally sustainable projects," says Jed Fisk, vice president of corporate real estate at The Principal®. "One of the first LEED-certified buildings in downtown Des Moines, The Principal Child Development Center is a landmark not only for our corporate campus, but for the city."
Our Principal Child Development Center is not only a Gold LEED certified building, but it incorporates environmentally friendly practices and lessons of sustainability into the learning curriculum, ensuring the children attending the center understand the importance of conservation and the environment.
Dedicated teachers focus on preparing children for success in school and life with an emphasis on the environment, health, wellness and the world around them.
“They talk a lot about the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ concept with the kids. It’s nice to see that taught to children when they’re so young,” says Sarah O’Dear, marketing communication strategist with The Principal, whose child is enrolled in the center.
Children learn why it's important to protect the environment and what they can do to help by including a ‘going green' activity in weekly lesson plans. And during Earth Month, students participate in week-long lessons and environmental activities about recycling, saving energy, protecting nature and what happens to garbage.
"As young children find their place in the world, it's important to understand how their choices impact the environment. Learning early how they can make a difference, at school and home, starts here," says Fisk.
The Principal Child Development Center offers early learning and childcare services to employees of The Principal. The center serves up to 180 children, age six weeks to preschool age.