Western Michigan University is proud to announce that many of its buildings meet high standards in sustainability by being LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Development) certified. LEED certification is recognized internationally by implementing green building designs, and WMU is ahead in this category compared to other colleges across Michigan and the United States.
“We have done new constructions and renovations of buildings that focus on being sustainable by making less of an impact on the environment,” said Anand Sankey, representative of maintenance services at WMU. “We aimed to avoid things like concrete and sidewalks by keeping the natural surroundings of the area, such as trees and grass.”
LEED certification does not only look at the exterior of buildings, though. It also looks to see how much impact the building has on the surrounding area through its energy consumption and waste production.
“We have to cut back on the energy consumption,” he said. “By doing so, we will reduce our carbon foot print.”
WMU has several buildings that are labeled LEED certified by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). WMU’s Western View apartments, the College of Health and Human Services, Brown Hall and the Chemistry Building are all certified as sustainable.
Sankey said that there are other buildings in the process of being certified, such as Sangren Hall, Lee Honors College, the new Legacy Collections Building and the WMU School of Medicine. He also said that the new dining facility that will open in 2014 will also be inspected to be LEED certified once it is built. Once the buildings are completed, the Western View II apartments are expected to be certified as well.
“The College of Health and Human Services Building was the first in the nation to receive gold LEED status,” said Sankey. “LEED certification is a standard stewardship that many see as a universal guideline. I believe that we are doing very well in this area.”
Sankey said that WMU ranks high among many colleges when tallying LEED certified buildings. WMU already has seven buildings that are LEED accredited, and there are currently six buildings under construction that will meet these LEED requirements in a few years.
Kalamazoo College has one LEED certified building, Northern Michigan University has three and Michigan State University has nine in the process of being certified.
“I think that we have excelled in the environmental and energy sustainability areas,” he said. “I believe that I should leave this place better than when I found it. It is the environmental impact we have that is important to us.”