How Colombia’s Rochester School was able to safely reopen with LEED

Published on: 
4 Feb 2021
Sonja Trierweiler

Feature image: Photo credit Rochester School.

The Rochester School in Chía, Colombia, was the first school to reopen in the country following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The school is a stunning example of how students and faculty can be provided a higher standard of living—by ensuring a healthy and safe learning environment through LEED green building certification.

Additionally, the school’s financial investment in reopening would have been much higher if it hadn’t already been LEED-certified. LEED certification laid the foundation for a healthy space: The school's resiliency has allowed it to easily adapt in order to comply with biosafety protocol required as a result of COVID-19, as well as reopening strategies recommended by both the World Health Organization and the Colombian government.

The Rochester School has an impressive history of sustainability excellence, and recently, it received a scholarship to participate in the 2021 cohort of the Building Learners program, a K–12 education program that uses the operations of a school building to teach students about sustainability and empowers them to use the building as a learning laboratory. Students collect data, analyze and conduct real-world investigations that inform improvements around waste, energy, water, health and transportation at their school.

The school has already been working on tracking its operations data in the Arc performance platform, and now it will begin involving students. Using curriculum provided by USGBC via its Learning Lab online education platform, Rochester students will learn about green buildings, benchmarking and resource use. Then, students will propose action projects and campaigns to build campuswide buy-in and skills in STEM, leadership and communication among students.

Learn more about the school’s commitment to sustainability in its story for Living Standard.

This story originally appeared on Living Standard. Living Standard is the U.S. Green Building Council’s campaign to support its inclusive and resilient vision that healthy people in healthy places equals a healthy economy. An initiative created for sharing personal experiences, best practices and the benefits of building green, Living Standard seeks to create awareness and adoption of healthier spaces, and to champion a better quality of life for people around the world. Share your story today at

Learn more about the school on Living Standard