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The sustainability movement is on pace for rapid growth in the United States, with some analysts predicting it will approach $50 billion by 2013. Stanford University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of California, Berkeley, and MIT top the U.S. News and World Report list of universities offering degrees in renewable energy, sustainable design, and conservation. It was only a matter of time then that a college, focused solely on preparing grads for careers in this field, would appear on the map.

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. It can impact operational costs, support and improve student learning, and even promote change in students’ behavior. Universities should approach sustainability as an expectation, not an add-on, incorporating it into the building process and thinking about all of its potential impact when making design decisions.

“How much does LEED cost”? University administrators and facilities directors across the country are grappling with the need to design and construct their buildings sustainably with all the obvious long-term benefits but within their “first cost” budget.

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. Single-use, standalone parking structures are one such genre of building, and parking design consultants have struggled for years to crack this green building code.

Who are you and how did you find us? That's what admissions officers at colleges and universities all over the country are asking this year as "stealth applications" proliferate.

Rich in natural light, the building aims to help students be inspired by the school's mission, encouraging them to remember the need for accountability and transparency in international service.

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. Design work on higher education cultural projects—such as museums, studio-arts buildings, performance halls and affiliated classrooms, as well as sports facilities, alumni centers, and science buildings—often pauses following schematic design so that university leaders can raise funds for construction.

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.

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? Cook responds with patience and knowledge about the impact of harmful greenhouse gases, about clean energy, and about why it makes fiscal sense to go green. "I liken it to the moonshot," says the former president of Allegheny College (Pa.).

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. From residence and dining halls to it operations and overall campus energy management, higher ed leaders are continuously coming up with new areas and ideas for strengthening sustainability efforts. Read on for dozens of ways your institution might go greener as well as a big-picture update on the presidents’ climate commitment.