Friday, September 5, 2014

Universities for Sustainability

Back to school means new books, new pens, new clothes, and new LEED certified buildings? Out with the old, in with the new (and improved)! Colleges across the country and beyond are taking new initiatives to promote energy efficiency to benefit both their students and the environment.

With the push towards sustainability picking up more and more momentum, it's no surprise that new residence halls around the country are following suit. Across the country, universities have been striving towards creating initiatives that reduce waste, incorporate renewable materials, and promote healthy lifestyles. These leaps in sustainability have also been seen in the way many new buildings, especially residence halls, are being designed. In fact, two recently built dorms, one at Pacific University and another at UW - Madison have gone so far as to achieve LEED Gold Certification. Both residence halls boast unique designs and are built with the occupants' and environment's health and well-being in mind. 

Pacific University most recently opened the doors to its Cascade Hall, which achieved LEED Gold Certification this year. This building is the sixth building on the Pacific University campus that has achieved LEED Certification. For more information regarding Pacific University's LEED successes visit

On the UW - Madison campus, Aldo Leopold Residence Hall opened in August 2013 and just recently achieved its LEED Gold Certification. The residence hall prides itself on its solar paneled roof, green power (wind), as well as numerous other features that add to its impressive sustainability strides. For more information about UW's sustainable building designs visit

Additionally, at New York University there are many sustainability projects in effect around campus. NYU Unplugged 2014 encouraged residence halls to turn off lights and unplug devices when they were not in use. The initiative saw an energy reduction in over a dozen residence halls. NYU has also promoted initiatives to encourage recycling and composting throughout the dining halls in the hopes of reducing the carbon footprint. The benefits from these initiatives will no doubt have incredible positive future outcomes in addition to their current success. The NYU Sustainability Initiative is a relatively new task force and the work they have already accomplished is immensely impressive. 

Interested in learning more about sustainability and LEED? Visit for a full line-up of LEED Exam Prep courses. GreenEDU also offers a number of Energy Efficiency Training courses to learn more about energy audits, retrofits, and energy-saving practices!