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New SIS Building Earns LEED Gold Certification

The AU community celebrated the opening of the new SIS building, May 14.(Photo: Jeff Watts)

The new School of International Service (SIS) building was recently awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, which developed the LEED system, “LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.” 

Louis Goodman, Dean of SIS, commented, “Now it's official that we're not only the largest school of international affairs in the world; we're also the greenest. Thanks to all the students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, architects, contractors, and others who contributed to this outstanding achievement.”

The University's Office of Sustainability aims to achieve carbon-neutral status by 2020, and, in its latest step in its commitment to sustainability, installed plant sedum roof panels on parts of the Mary Graydon Center and Ward Circle Building, bringing the University-wide total of green roofs to seven.

“Dean Goodman wanted a place for students to dream,” noted University Architect Michael Purcell, “and we built the dream that students will remember long after their dreams come true.”

The building boasts a number of record-setting environmentally-conscious features, all of which are the first of their kind in Washington, D.C.: an LED-lit parking garage, a transpired solar preheat system for air intake, and a triple solar water heating system. Additionally, skylights in the atrium bring in natural daylight, sunshades on the windows prevent solar heat gain in the building, and minimize heating and cooling system usage. Low-flow faucets and fixtures reduce water consumption, and two rain gardens on opposite ends of the building are designed to clean and slow storm water runoff.

“This is an achievement of the highest order and reflects the vision of the SIS New Building Committee, dedicated donors, a world-class architecture team, a committed construction company, and the unrelenting persistence of Dean Goodman,” said Joseph Clapper, Assistant Dean of Facility and Administration at SIS.