In many buildings, sustainability is invisible — it's an unnoticed breath of clean air; it's the reduced use of water in a visit to the bathroom; it's the history of the material that you're standing on while your attention is focused on your activity. But at Pioneer Middle School, DuPont, Wash., the value of sustainable choices and building features is prominent.

After conducting eco-charettes with the owner to develop a sustainable design program, the project team went one step further and met with educators to develop specific educational curricula about sustainability and how to use the building itself as a tool in the learning process through exposed building systems, lesson plans, teaching aids and building signage.

The $23 million, 106,500-square-foot building was completed by DLR Group in September 2008.