For many U.S. universities, building a reputation as a center for high education goes beyond what is taught in the classroom. Leading universities strive to set a positive example for their students, demonstrating practices that they should adopt and pass on to future generations. One way in which U.S. universities have strengthened their reputations and their students' future is through working to make their buildings LEED-certified.
The U.S. Green Building Council, the organization behind LEED certification, works with colleges to develop effective sustainability strategies on their campuses. Once buildings have reached certain benchmarks, universities are awarded a level of certification. The LEED rating system is designed to promote improved sustainability practices with regard to water management, energy performance, waste reduction and indoor air quality.
Working toward future goals
Now that university and corporate leaders are truly realizing the advantages of green building, we can be sure to see many advances to sustainability in the near future. According to the USGBC, at least 16,769,615 students are enrolled in schools with eco-friendly policies, a number that is bound to grow as we work toward greater sustainability.
As society continues to find ways of reduce our carbon footprints, universities are emerging as leaders in facilities maintenance practices that provide for a better future on our planet. The LEED rating system offers an objective scale for energy efficiency that colleges can use to document their achievements in green building strategies. In today's world, sustainability is key to prestige and financial success, and the trend toward greener campuses shows that more university leaders are beginning to recognize this.
LEED buildings show visible results
Virginia State University's Gateway Hall is one building that recently earned LEED Gold certification. As evidenced by the energy performance statistics of this building, LEED-certified facilities are significantly more energy efficient than other buildings. According to a report by Archinect Firms, Gateway Hall's green-friendly HVAC and lighting systems resulted in a 21 percent reduction in energy use. More than 96 percent of the total waste produced while constructing the building was diverted from landfills. Efficiently designed faucets, shower heads and toilets are expected to cut the building's annual water usage in half.
This building's improvement in energy performance is indicative of the environmental benefits that universities can reap by working toward LEED goals. And fortunately, the eco-friendly measures of LEED buildings also lead to monetary savings. With a greener energy system installed, universities can cut down on their annual energy overheads and increase their overall budgets.