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Students LEED the way in green building on campus

Catholic University of America's LEED Lab certifies students in green building
University Business, November 2014

Back in September, the Crough Center at The Catholic University of America (D.C.) became the first building in the world to be LEED certified by students as part of a formal course.

Developed in 2011 by Patricia Andrasik, assistant professor of architecture, the LEED Lab course not only teaches students about green building codes and projects, but certifies them in LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance, or EB: O+M.

That gives architecture students a leg up upon graduation and advances the university’s sustainability efforts, Andrasik says.

Students in LEED Lab regularly work with administrators to implement greener alternatives around campus, such as installing aerators so sinks use less water and turning off the lights during the day when sunlight is sufficient. One group of students taking the course also convinced the university to install $120 motion-activated lights in a campus building, which saved around $10,000 in one year alone, Adransisk says.

“Seeing these students facilitating these meetings and engaging with administra-tors is very exciting,” she says. “LEED Lab students are truly the catalyst for change at CUA.”

Other higher ed institutions—including Colorado State University, Pueblo; North Carolina State University; and Purdue University in Indiana—have since added a LEED Lab course or something similar, says Andrasik.

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