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AU's Green Wave Hits Campus this Spring

The new SIS Building passed its official LEED Certification just in time for spring time green celebrations.

As students flooded back to campus after spring break to take on their exams, the new School of International Service building was preparing for a big test of its own – the official Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. Designed with LEED gold standard as the goal, the official certification offered verification to the design and project teams of time well spent while inspiring (and challenging) the campus as a whole to dream big, and think green, for the future.

The final approval from LEED marked the end of an educational process for assistant university architect Mike Purcell, who said that observing the entire process has given him an appreciation for the detailed LEED requirements and an appreciation for the benefits they deliver. Affecting everything from site selection to energy use during the construction phase to purifying the water before it returns to D.C. reservoirs, the LEED certification left no facet of the SIS building project untouched.

Driven by Dean Louis Goodman’s hope that the SIS building would be a place for students to dream, the design team dove head on into the challenge of making the LEED gold standard possible, and practical. Starting at the bottom, with the first LED-lit parking garage in Washington, D.C., the building includes large windows and open spaces to encourage natural light, low-flow faucets and fixtures to reduce water consumption, rain gardens to capture sanitary water, and it’s capped off by solar panels on the roof.

While the SIS Building certification represents a new chapter in the physical structure of campus, AU continues to celebrate its designation as an arboretum. The dedication of the SIS building comes at the start of AU’s usual “green” spring programming.

Campus Beautification Day, held on Wednesday, April 6, brought together faculty, staff, alumni, and students to prepare the campus for spring blooms. From planting projects to educational workshops, the effort celebrated AU’s tradition as one of the nation’s greenest campuses.

AU’s green programming continues with Earth Week this week. From a community trash pick up to an environmental science career panel, there is no shortage of ways to learn or be a part of AU’s green wave.

Alumni interested in a sophisticated celebration of AU’s green initiatives are invited to a Library Garden Party on Friday, May 20 featuring library and arboretum tours and an expert guided wine tasting with James Bogaty, CAS/BA '76, of Veramar Vineyard.