Existing Buildings v2.0
College of Health & Human Services
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5200
LEED Gold 2009
For over two decades, Western Michigan University (WMU) has engaged in energy conservation projects, always striving to implement the latest best practices in building technology.
The LEED Gold certification of WMU’s College of Health and Human Services building helped demonstrate the cost saving benefit of sustainable operations, inspiring the adoption of an enhanced campus sustainability plan. WMU plans to benchmark its current portfolio of buildings, make changes to key policies and procedures, and to LEED certify additional buildings on campus. This commitment reflects the evolution of energy conservation projects into a broader effort to green WMU from the inside out.
Western Michigan University has publicly declared its commitment to campuswide sustainability by signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, joining the Southwest Michigan Regional Sustainability Covenant, and launching a comprehensive Web site to keep stakeholders informed about the school’s initiatives. As a part of its commitment, WMU plans to use LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance as a framework for greening all buildings on campus.
Citing both the hard and soft benefits of having green buildings on campus, WMU has witnessed a cultural shift in occupant behavior across the entire campus since the LEED certification of the College of Health and Human Services. This initial certification proved a great morale booster, especially for employees and students who were involved in the certification process and enjoyed the recognition of their efforts to protect the environment. WMU now requires all construction projects exceeding $1 million to incorporate, at a minimum, LEED Silver design principles.
The College of Health and Human Services building incorporates numerous green strategies, including occupant sensors and a stormwater runoff management system. Additionally, the four-story building features cork and bamboo flooring – both rapidly renewable resources – and rice paper windows to filter interior daylight. Green cleaning products and practices were introduced in the lead up to the building’s LEED certification in 2009.
With help from a $15,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the university was able to assess the energy efficiency of current systems and improve green practices in the Health and Human Services building. Upgrades included water-efficient restrooms and landscaping, daylight optimization strategies, ozone-safe cooling, improvements in the collection and storage of recycling and waste, and updated ventilation standards and air filtration.
WMU purchased two electric vehicles in an initial push to transform the campus maintenance fleet and added preferred parking for alternative fuel vehicles. Chemistry students even earned the project an exemplary performance credit by making biodiesel for campus vehicles from waste cafeteria grease.
About Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University is one of the state’s largest institutions of higher learning, with more than 150 buildings and roughly 25,000 students. The university’s campuses comprise over 1,000 acres across the state.