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The SIS Building

Living Sustainably

Watch as SIS Dean Jim Goldgeier and world-renowned architect Bill McDonough, who designed the SIS building, explore how the LEED Gold-certified building’s innovative green design supports the school’s goal of environmental sustainability.

See live information about energy usage in the SIS building.

The SIS Building

Looking up at the multitude of windows in the atrium of the School of International Service building.

On May 14, 2010, the School of International Service opened the doors of its new building at a symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony. This event celebrated a new 70,000 square-foot, eco-friendly building, and the school’s mission to wage peace. Renowned “green” architect William McDonough designed the new building to reinforce the values inherent in the school’s mission. Its design, construction, and operation reflect the School of International Service’s commitment to advancing ecological stewardship, preserving transparency and human dignity, and working for social justice. As an environmentally-friendly structure, the new building epitomizes healthy living and will reduce energy consumption, minimize construction waste, and create a space that will protect public health.

Our Commitment to Sustainability

Designed for LEED certification with the goal of being gold rated, McDonough developed a building that focuses on key elements of human and environmental health, including sustainable site development, water savings, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. By using natural light, nontoxic materials, and climate controls that ensure the quality of indoor air, AU incorporated each of the LEED pillars.

Faculty and students from the Global Environmental Politics Program within the School of International Service were also involved in the new building’s planning and design. “Thanks to our students, faculty and the leadership of William McDonough, the new School of International Service will be a vibrant center for teaching, learning, and research, that reflects today’s socially-conscious students who are striving to create an environment of global peace,” says Dean Emeritus Louis W. Goodman, who served as dean of SIS during the design, construction, and opening of the new building. 

As a result of its design and various eco-friendly attributes, the new building brings in a large amount of natural daylight through its large expanses of glass and atrium skylights. With its open seating areas, terrazzo flooring, and inviting entryway, the building serves as the ideal environment for learning, sharing ideas, and embracing the school’s dedication to transparency.

“From the spacious windows to the illuminated offices, we wanted the design of the new SIS building to reflect a sense of openness that would welcome faculty and staff to communicate and share ideas and creative solutions,” said Goodman.

Thirty of American University’s buildings are registered for LEED accreditation, the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. Throughout the entire campus, AU continues to make additions to its green campaign, including initiatives in transportation, grounds, water, energy and waste management.