Buildings fundamentally impact the health of the planet. In the US, buildings use one-third of our total energy, two-thirds of our electricity, one-eighth of our water, and transform land that provides valuable ecological resources. At UCCS, buildings produce over half of our greenhouse gas emissions. Our objective is a sustainable infrastructure with buildings that exemplify best practices with regard to sustainable development: materials, energy and water conservation, and occupant health, safety, and well-being. As well, our objective is to provide a sustainability living laboratory -- a learning experience above and beyond the classroom. Consistent with Colorado Senate Bill 07-51, UCCS will institute a policy of constructing and operating to the highest LEED certification possible (within 5% of the budget) for buildings that receive a minimum of 25% funding from the state. For other non state-funded buildings, UCCS will institute a system to internally audit buildings to achieve a LEED Silver or equivalent certification.
The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Materials and Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
A sixth category, Innovation and Design Process, awards points for exceptional performance above the requirements set by LEED and/or innovative performance in green building categories not specifically address by the LEED Green Building Rating System. Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of LEED green building certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within each LEED category.
LEED benefits include:
- Lower operating and life cycle costs
- Lower water and energy resource use and reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Serve as a living laboratory and foundation for future sustainability efforts
- Demonstrate the university's commitment to sustainability and the health and wellness of building users.