Although Harvard’s school color is officially crimson, it seems as though it really should be green. The USGBC announced this month that Harvard University has completed a major milestone, having achieved 50 LEED certified buildings. Over the last 10 years, Harvard University has been actively renovating their historic buildings and constructing new buildings, all while working to make them as sustainable as they can. Harvard’s achievement marks them as the first institute of higher learning to have so many buildings certified. What’s even more impressive though is that they have 40 more LEED projects on the board or under construction right now.
Harvard’s achievement has been the work of the university’s Office for Sustainability, who has set the goals, led the charge and communicated with the various departments, community and students. On USGBC’s blog they comment on how the university was able to achieve their milestone and have gleaned 5 important lessons.
First, the university has set clear and aggressive goals that call for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 30 percent by 2016. Green and energy efficient building standards is one of the most effective ways for them to reach that goal. Second, they have worked hard to engage their entire community through educational programs as well as brainstorming during planning and development stages. Third, the Office for Sustainability has developed tools and resources like the Life Cycle Cost Calculator allows schools to prioritize projects that are economically viable and environmentally beneficial.
Fourth, the office has serves as a forum for change and discussion encouraging the community to come together, learn from each other and share best practices as a way to improve. And finally, the USGBC recognizes the university for celebrating and recognizing their green champions and their success stories. Now with 40 more proposed LEED projects on the way, Harvard is launching itself into unprecedented territory and serving as an example not only for other educational institutions, but for companies, governments and organizations around the world.
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