Building Eco-Friendly Futures: Child Care Centers Go Green from the Ground Up
- Children at Discovery Communication's child care center learn with recycled materials, understanding the importance of preserving the earth's resources.
- Georgia Power's Bright Generations LEED-certified child care illustrates the organization's commitment to environmental stewardship.
- At Discovery and Georgia Power, caring for our world and ensuring there is as much of it to enjoy and explore for future generations is business as usual.
Honoring Irwin in Crikey CoveDiscovery, the world's number one nonfiction media company, envisioned a child care center at their global headquarters as a tribute to the late Steve Irwin, a wildlife conservationist and long-beloved member of the Discovery family. The result is Discovery Kids Place and Crikey Cove, the adjacent outdoor area, developed in partnership with Bright Horizons. The center, a 10,500-plus square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, is in Discovery's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)* platinum-certified headquarters building. Children have access to the latest educational tools, technology, and materials, along with books, games, and toys that feature animals and nature. Classrooms were built with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize natural light and enable children to closely observe the outdoors. Continuing Discovery's commitment to living and working green, the child care center is eco-friendly in its design and operations, including the use of recyclable materials in children's art materials and biodegradable paper goods made from sugar cane fiber.
In the center, children learn about the environment and protecting the planet through a green curriculum that is part of the Bright Horizon's The World at Their Fingertips signature curriculum. 'At Discovery, we are committed to providing an array of programs that help employees and their families manage their work and life commitments,' said Adria Alpert Romm, Senior Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources at Discovery. 'Discovery Kids Placewill help our employees solve the child care challenges so many working families face today. As a global company, this new offering is essential to attracting and retaining top talent.'
Outside in Crikey Cove, children enjoy a playground replica of the Australian Outback designed to honor the memory of wildlife conservationist Steve Irwin. Young explorers can climb a model of Ayers Rock, captain a sandbox boat, ride on a bike path resembling an anaconda, play in a replica of Bindi Irwin's playhouse carved from a fallen tree, use binoculars to find wooden animals that hide in the trees, and learn about nature in a sensory garden. To build their eco-friendly child care center, Discovery partnered with Clark Construction and architectural firm Gensler.
Broad Commitment from Georgia PowerGeorgia Power's mission is to foster environmental stewardship within the company and community. The electric utility company's two new child care centers, one in Atlanta and one in McDonough, Georgia, extend their mission. From the start of the design and construction phases of the Bright Generations child care centers, the environmental impact was of high importance to Georgia Power. Working with the city arborist and nonprofit Trees Atlanta, the company replaced trees and enhanced landscaping that were removed within the surrounding neighborhoods.
In addition, most of the construction waste material was recycled. Georgia Power even utilized wood-based linoleum flooring that is antimicrobial. Energy efficiency is always a high priority for Georgia Power. The buildings have high energy-efficient lighting controls and HVAC systems that are among the most efficient in the business. Energy-efficient materials like PolySteel insulated concrete will reduce air drafts during the winter. And using reflective roof materials and concrete paving materials for the parking lots, the sunlight is reflected keeping the buildings and grounds cool during the summer. A harvest system was added to collect rainwater from the roof for the cooling system, reducing the need for water. Light shelves were installed to project sunlight from outside into some of the rooms facing south and west, reducing the need for electricity. In addition, exterior window shades were installed to allow light in during the winter and shade the sunlight and heat during the summer.
In addition, Bright Generations has developed lesson plans for the children to learn the importance of being good environmental stewards. From their efforts, both of Georgia Power's child care centers earned LEED certification. The Georgia Power child care center was the result of a collaboration between Georgia Power, architectural firm Heery International, and builder R.J. Griffin.
* The LEED Green Building Rating System?› is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED certification provides verification that a building is environmentally responsible, profitable, and a healthy place to work.