Ruffing Montessori is honored for its commitment to sustainability

Ruffing Montessori School has been named a 2010 Emerald Award winner by Crain’s Cleveland Business for successfully implementing sustainable practices that trim costs, increase cash flow and reduce the school’s environmental footprint. Ruffing recently completed a campus renovation using sustainable building techniques and materials, and achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification this year, making it the first LEED-certified building in Cleveland Heights.

Honored for having scored high on the “triple bottom line” (profits, people, and the planet), Ruffing has lowered electricity costs by 10 percent, created a healthier and safer building, reused its existing site, recycled 80 percent of the demolished construction materials and transformed the school’s learning environment.

Ruffing’s respect for the environment inspired its campus redevelopment and sustainability initiative. The school has developed a unique, green curriculum centered on activity-based learning, following the Montessori method and using the building’s green features as a working lab. At every age level, students are introduced to increasingly complex ideas about sustainability and stewardship.

Some of the high points of the school’s recent campus renovation include a 53 percent savings in energy costs over the minimum required by code, access to natural light from 90 percent of the school’s indoor spaces, a 28 percent decrease in water use and the production on site of five percent of the energy used by the school. Ruffing credits a recent four percent increase in enrollment in part to the school’s heightened environmental consciousness. Head of School Gordon Maas noted that, because of its environmentally friendly building and unique green curriculum, Ruffing will continue to send ambassadors of sustainability into the world year after year.

Ruffing Montessori was established in 1959 and serves a student body of 315, ranging in age from toddler to eighth grade.

Carol Provan is director of development for Ruffing Montessori School.

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Volume 3, Issue 10, Posted 10:58 AM, 09.27.2010