- Why use LEED at institutions of higher education?
- What issues are unique to projects in higher education?
- How many projects in higher education are registered and certified under LEED?
- How does the latest version of LEED address the unique challenges of higher education projects?
- How can multiple buildings and structures in a campus setting earn LEED certification?
- How does the LEED performance platform relate to higher education?
- What is LEED Lab and how does it relate to higher education?
- What resources are available for higher education?
- Where can I find owner profiles and case studies on higher education projects?
- Does USGBC offer any education for project teams wanting to learn more about higher education facilities pursuing green building?
- Who can I contact for more information?
- Is there a document I can download and send to my team?
Why use LEED at institutions of higher education?
In addition to the benefits that are seen across all sectors (such as building and operating a resource-efficient, healthy building and the value of obtaining rigorous third-party certification) institutions of higher education have increasing pressure from prospective students and donors to demonstrate commitment to environmental sustainability.
The Princeton Review publishes the 50 Top Green Colleges recognizing and ranking sustainability efforts of institutions of higher education. One of the 10 questions that is covered in their rankings directly asks, “are school buildings that were constructed or underwent major renovations in the past three years LEED-certified?”
The Princeton Review has seen a high level of interest among college applicants and their parents in colleges with green practices, programs, and offerings. 66% percent of the 12,845 respondents (college-bound teens and parents) to The Princeton Review's 2020 College Hopes & Worries Survey said that having information about a college's commitment to the environment would affect their (or their child's) decision to apply to or attend a school.
What issues are unique to projects in higher education?
Many campuses do not have whole building meters for energy and water use as their buildings are connected to a larger energy/water loop. To pursue LEED all individual buildings must install energy and water meters (for indoor water use) at the building level. Irrigation water use can be prorated and does not need to be metered at the building level.
How many projects in higher education are registered and certified under LEED?
As of December 2022, there are 8,641 LEED‐certified and registered higher education projects representing approximately 1.02 billion square feet of built spaces. This includes projects certified through the one-off process and those certified through multiple building applications such as campus and volume.
How does the latest version of LEED address the unique challenges of higher education projects?
LEED v4.1 O+M is not dependent on space type so falling into an ENERGY STAR space type category is no longer necessary.
How can multiple buildings and structures in a campus setting earn LEED certification?
Higher education projects often operate on a large scale with multiple buildings spread across a single site. All the buildings, people, and processes are interconnected with each other. To address this, the LEED Campus Guidance was introduced for projects that are on a shared site under the control of a single entity. Its application to LEED projects in higher education represents the complexity and commonality of buildings and infrastructure on a site. LEED Campus Guidance is a useful tool for campuses with multiple buildings, common utilities, and campus‐wide management policies. By utilizing LEED Campus Guidance, project teams can benefit from an increase in streamlined review process, and reduced certification fees under the Master Site approach, leading to successful implementation of LEED projects.
How does the LEED performance platform relate to higher education?
The LEED v4.1 O+M rating system offers a unique performance-based pathway to certify your existing buildings and interior spaces that use Arc, a state‐of‐the‐art platform designed to collect, manage and benchmark your building across five performance categories: energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience.
And what does this mean for higher education? LEED v4.1 can be used to compare projects to other similar facilities pursuing high-performance measures from around the world. Campus facility managers and other stakeholders can continuously monitor the data and make informed decisions to optimize the building performance based on real-time data and analytics. This performance pathway can then be used to certify and recertify the project every 3 years. Learn more.
What is LEED Lab and how does it relate to higher education?
LEED Lab is a multidisciplinary immersion course that utilizes project-based learning and the built environment to educate and prepare students to become green building leaders and sustainability-focused citizens. In the course, students assess the performance of existing facilities on campus and choose one building where they will facilitate the LEED O+M process with the goal of certifying the facility.
In order to be recognized as having a LEED Lab and receive the LEED Lab benefits from USGBC and GBCI, institutions commit to the following:
- Offer the LEED Lab course for credit. The instructor determines the number of credits earned for the work and the type of class (e.g. elective, special topics).
- Register a LEED O+M project. The institution decides the location of the project. If an on-campus project is not possible, USGBC is amenable to having the students work on an off-campus project.
Students that successfully complete a LEED Lab course may take the LEED AP exam at a discounted rate.
What resources are available for higher education?
Learn more about higher education and LEED as well as integrating green building into curriculum.
Where can I find owner profiles and case studies on higher education projects?
- Case Study: UC Davis Peter J. Shields Library
- Case Study: Sustainability at Bentley University
- WSU Elson Floyd Cultural Center Social Equity Case Study
- Ball State Pilot Materials - Chevrolet Campus Clean Energy
Does USGBC offer any education for project teams wanting to learn more about higher education facilities pursuing green building?
Yes! Check out the following sessions in the USGBC online course catalog:
- Master Planning in Higher Education: Course addresses using LEED Campus and SITES at higher education campuses.
- Certifying Buildings in Higher Education: This session explores the most recent updated LEED Certification pathways: LEED v4.1 Building Design and Construction as well as LEED v4.1 Operations and Maintenance.
Who can I contact for more information?
For more information about LEED and how it applies to higher education contact us.
Is there a document I can download and send to my team?
Yes! Click the link below.