LEED Lab: Sustainability in higher education goes global
Higher education institutions all over the globe are committing to sustainability and climate neutrality on a daily basis and have shown tremendous leadership in the green building movement. But there is still work to be done, especially in the realm of existing buildings.
Existing buildings hold incredible promise for higher education institutions, offering tremendous opportunities to connect academics with operations. The implementation of LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance on campuses will support an institution’s sustainability goals by reducing the environmental impact of buildings and grounds; creating a positive effect on student, faculty and staff health; and preparing students to be global sustainability citizens.
With the goal of transforming existing campus facilities around the world, we have developed a clear vision for the future: LEED Lab. An innovative solution for integrating sustainable practices into daily campus operations and maintenance, LEED Lab is an interactive, multidisciplinary immersion course designed to transform the academic environment by preparing students for competitive 21st century careers in sustainability.
In the course, students learn the principles of LEED and assess the performance of existing facilities on campus, choosing one building where they will facilitate the complete LEED O+M process with the goal of certifying the facility. At the close of the semester, students are prepared to sit for and take the LEED AP O+M professional credential exam.
LEED Lab beginnings
LEED Lab meets the demands of the market by providing actual LEED project experience and equipping students with the skills needed to enter the market and implement what they have learned. The LEED Lab effort originated with a pilot course created and taught by Professor Patricia Andrasik at the Catholic University of America (CUA). From 2011–2014, CUA partnered with the Center for Green Schools at USGBC and GBCI to test the course concept. LEED Lab officially launched in January 2014, and there are now LEED Lab courses in 18 institutions of higher education.
We are excited to announce that since the launch, LEED Lab has gone global. LEED Lab is now offered at six international universities in India, Latin America, the Middle East and Greater Asia. These institutions strongly believe that their participation in LEED Lab will allow their students to jump-start their careers upon graduation and create a more sustainable future for their universities.
At USGBC, we believe that educating our future leaders to build capacity in the market place is critical to our mission of global market transformation for the built environment. Join LEED Lab today and help us achieve green schools for everyone within this generation.