Articles: Sustainability

There was a time, and not all that long ago, when many organizations looked at energy costs as a fixed cost of doing business over which they had little control.

Colleges and universities essentially operate as self-contained small cities, providing huge amounts of energy to its campuses, in increasing amounts, all day, every day.

In today’s discussions about buildings and architecture for higher education campuses, sustainability is touted for its positive environmental impact. However, sustainable design can be more than just responsible earth stewardship.

Colleges and universities are competing to build the most green, sustainably designed facilities. But some projects, by nature alone, have end uses, or are constructed with materials, that make it nearly impossible to secure U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED certification.

Over the past few decades, colleges and universities have engaged in a kind of facilities arms race to build new, state-of-the-art dormitories, dining halls, classrooms, athletic complexes, and fine arts centers.

"We're the new U." The tag-line is fitting for The University of North Texas at Dallas, which, in September became its own independent four-year university after a decade of being considered a branch campus of UNT in Denton.

More than 300 students from five Kirkwood Community College (Iowa) programs study in state-of-the-art kitchens and classrooms, working alongside a 70-person professional staff.

For many campus building projects, the period following schematic design is critical to the project's future. With the proposed design illustrating the building's significant forms, program, functional relationships and scale, the project enters the fundraising phase.

How committed are colleges and universities to sustainability and climate change--even at a time when such things as record enrollments combined with budget cuts and furloughs top most people’s list?

Green 2010

Going Green is hardly a fresh concept for campuses anymore. Today, sustainability has become a focus in nearly all aspects of college and university management.

Richard Cook spends much of his time listening to college and university presidents ask questions about sustainability. Can we afford this? What if my trustees balk? Is global climate change exaggerated? Is carbon neutrality even possible?

When budgets are limited and staff time is tight,effectively tracking and reporting on sustainability projects can be challenging.

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