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Green Building at Small Liberal Arts Universities: A Proposal for Southwestern

Authors: Kathryn Caudell*, Southwestern University, Lois Durant*, Southwestern University, Dominique Rosario*, Southwestern University
Topics: Development, Higher Education
Keywords: Green Building, LEED Certification, Living Building Challenge, Universities, Sustainability
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Sustainable building design allocates value to environmental impacts that have been neglected in the past. It helps to reduce energy use and water consumption, which directly reduce a building’s environmental footprint. Today, universities are exploring green building design through certifications like LEED. Other universities, however, have started to move beyond LEED and create their own standards. These new campus standards are designed with specific considerations for the university context.
This poster presentation will discuss the steps Southwestern University has taken to create a unique green building policy that integrates LEED standards with context-specific university goals for all future projects. It will outline specific standards targeting principal areas that are often glazed over in more general guidelines. This standard allows Southwestern to remain competitive with other schools that have adopted similar guidelines while also adhering to our goals for sustainability. It ensures that all new construction and renovation on campus is built in the most sustainable way—for both human and environmental health. Finally, it will also address and correct greenwashing and guide the school towards committing to reduce the university’s environmental impact.
We have identified six categories for evaluating the impacts of a building project: 1) indoor air quality, 2) tenant health and well-being, 3) energy use, 4) water consumption, 5) outdoor environment, and 6) materials, resources, and waste.
Each of these action items was carefully considered when creating the green building commitment—they cover a broad scope of environmental and human health needs, while also maintaining an ethos of fiscal responsibility.

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