In 2003, The Willow School became the first independent educational institution in the country to design and build a USGBC LEED gold-certified building – the original 13,500± square-foot structure that now houses all lower-school classrooms.
In 2006, in a national study, the National Geographic’s Green Guide ranked The Willow School as the nation’s second greenest school for its progressive integration of sustainable design initiatives into the campus and the curriculum and in 2007 The Travel Channel’s program, Extreme Green, recognized The Willow School as the most eco-friendly school in the continental United States.
When it was completed 2007, our second building, The Barn, became the first in New Jersey and one of only seven other structures in the United States to receive USGBC LEED platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. This building was also recognized by The New Jersey Chapter of the United States Green Building Council as “Project of the Year” in 2008.
In November 2009, The Willow School received the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Stewardship Initiative, which recognized the school for its voluntary and proactive measures taken to go beyond compliance in an effort to improve the environment and help ensure a sustainable future.
In March 2010, The United States Department of Environmental Protection, Region 2, selected The Willow School to receive the 2010 U.S. EPA Environmental Quality Award for our outstanding commitment for protecting and enhancing environmental quality and public health. The Environmental Quality Award is the highest recognition presented to the public by the EPA.
In April 2010, New Jersey Monthly’s issue, “Best of New Jersey”, an article entitled, “Best of the Best”, chose The Willow School as “the most significant architectural project of the past decade”, citing how the building, site and field studies programs are integral parts of the daily curriculum.
In the October 2010 issue of New Jersey Life, in an article entitled “Natural Virtues”, The Willow School was described as a school that has “become a national model of excellence in education and sustainable design.”
In the Friday 8 October 2010 issue, Reuters, in an article entitled “The Sun Rises on Green Schools” reported that “Green schools are more than just efficient buildings; they are incubators for tomorrow’s green leaders, which has been readily demonstrated at model green schools such as The Willow School in New Jersey.
In May 2011, in a national competition, The Willow School was awarded first place in the Community Service Award Program sponsored by The Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education. In the past, this award has only been one by secondary schools – Willow is the first elementary school ever to win this award. The executive director described our program as one “which intentionally encompasses the ethical relationships both between us and our fellow residents of the planet, and between us and the natural world in which we live.”
In May 2012, The Willow School was recognized by both the New Jersey Department of Education and the United States Department of Education as one of the first US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. The Green Ribbon Program acknowledges a school’s successful comprehensive approach to green schools and commitment to environmental stewardship, student health and achievement.