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Developing Sustainable Leaders: Implementing a USGBC LEED® Lab™ Program on Campus

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Installation, Integration, and Development

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

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Paper Authors


James W. Jones Ball State University

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Dr. James W. Jones is the Construction Management Program Director and an Associate Professor in Ball State University’s Department of Technology. He has taught in the areas of leadership and construction management for more than 14 years and has more than a decade of experience managing construction projects in both field and office environments.

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Janet Fick Ball State University

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Registered Architect

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Engineering curricula across many disciplines are increasingly focused on energy conservation, efficiency, and sustainability as topics of study. These new emphases are appropriate responses to meet the changing needs of the profession, but often only provide theoretical or case study preparation and do not provide any “real world” experience prior to graduation. The new LEED® Lab™ program, sponsored by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), offers educational institutions a way to both teach these topics and offer students the experience of actually certifying a campus building through the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) process.

The USGBC has been a leader in sustainable practices in the built environment since 1993, most notably through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program. This program, initiated in 2015, has been adopted and used worldwide. LEED certification was originally developed for new construction but has broadened to include other building types, including a certification process for the operations and maintenance of existing buildings. LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) certification, offered since 2005, was developed for existing structures and is predicated on how it is actually performing, not just its designed performance. The USGBC’s new LEED® Lab™ initiative is supporting universities to simultaneously “green” their campuses and offer students the experience of leading the certification process. Different institutions have adopted different models for implementation and another institution just completed the first building certification through the program.

The objective of this paper is to examine how one institution developed and implemented a LEED® Lab™ program on its campus, from inception through the certification process. Specific practices include course creation, academic disciplines targeted and recruited, administrative partnering, costs and other resources required, and challenges overcome. Additionally, the progression of the certification process as aligned with the academic calendar, faculty involvement, student leadership, and USGBC support will be detailed. Through this examination of one program’s successful implementation, other engineering educators can decide whether the LEED® Lab™ program might be a good fit for their campuses and can build upon the authors’ successes and avoid some of their challenges.

Jones, J. W., & Fick, J. (2017, June), Developing Sustainable Leaders: Implementing a USGBC LEED® Lab™ Program on Campus Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28151

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