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Which University is Breaking Sustainability Records?

By Sharon Chen
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With its recent renovation of the Esteves Hall at the Harvard Business School, Harvard now has more LEED-certified buildings than any other higher ed institution in the world. The university has 100 LEED certified spaces, a significant milestone in its commitment to sustainability. Harvard’s LEED projects are estimated to save close to $5 million annually in utility costs, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 11,000 metric tons each year.

Harvard’s commitment to modeling a sustainable campus through its buildings is important because it shows that energy, water efficiency, and indoor environmental quality (LEED prerequisites) are achievable on a large scale. University campuses, which often operate on a scale similar to cities and municipalities, are testing grounds for and examples of sustainability. By committing to green buildings, implementing sustainable dining programs, and innovating landfill diversion programs, higher ed can help expedite the change that is needed to create healthier, more sustainable communities.

Harvard breaks LEED record

Colin Durrant | Harvard Gazette | November 17, 2015

Driven by the University’s ambitious, science-based climate goal, Harvard’s facilities and project planning teams have embracedLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices to reduce energy and create healthier spaces for occupants.

This fall Harvard reached a major milestone in its commitment to sustainability with its 100th LEED certified space — the Platinum-level renovation of Esteves Hall at the Business School. Harvard now has more certified building projects than any other higher education institution in the world, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

To achieve LEED certification (Platinum and Gold are the two highest rankings), projects must meet a set of prerequisites and earn points in areas such as energy, alternative transportation options, indoor environmental quality, and water efficiency.

“The certification of Harvard’s 100th LEED building is very impressive and meaningful,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founder of USGBC. “As a pre-eminent leader in higher education, research, and the development of the leaders of tomorrow, Harvard is a proving ground for new ideas. The fact that the institution pursues and embraces LEED demonstrates their commitment to sustainability in all of their endeavors.”

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