Greener Building > Green Building Certifications

When designing or renovating their facilities, increasing numbers of collegiate sports venues are turning to green building certification programs as guides to help them improve their environmental performance and boost their bottom line.  The most popular to date is the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Green buildings and operations are designed to minimize these impacts by using environmentally preferable construction materials and techniques, including reducing water and energy use, minimizing waste, and making better use of natural features like shade, daylight, and rainwater. By streamlining and improving design and construction, green buildings reduce their contribution to biodiversity loss, global warming, and many other environmental pressures.

The green building standards outlined below, which cater to a variety of building projects and types, incorporate a range of environmental and public health considerations, including energy efficiency, building site selection, indoor air quality, and water use. Materials and resources used to construct buildings and keep them running smoothly and comfortably all have environmental impacts.

LEED – U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL

The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized green building rating system created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000. It is a voluntary point-based sustainability assessment program for building projects. Each project is awarded scores based on a set of credits and the sum of the points awarded determines the level of certification achieved–Certification, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.

LEED is structured on a set of performance-based criteria. Project teams can use a variety of different paths to achieve their desired level of certification by selecting strategies that meet specific criteria.

LEED v4, the latest version of the LEED certification, addresses the design features of a building project across seven main credit categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Integrative Process, and Location and Transportation.

Typically, the building project team will have a LEED Coordinator who runs a “charrette” (a brainstorming meeting) with all of the various building stakeholders to identify which credits to pursue. This individual will work with the team to complete the credit templates, which are submitted to the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), which grants building certification.

LEED has become the dominant green building ratings system globally and is the most commonly-used system in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and India. It is widely used in most of Europe (particularly Western Europe), China and the Gulf region.

Examples of LEED Certified Collegiate Sports Facilities:

As of 2013, at least 24 collegiate sports venues in the United States and Canada have received certification for one or more LEED standards and more than ten others are currently pursuing certification.

June 2006 – Penn State University, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, LEED Certified for New Construction (first LEED-certified baseball stadium in the nation, professional or collegiate)

August 2007 – University of Connecticut, Burton Family Football Complex and Mark R. Shenkman Training Center, LEED Silver Certified for New Construction (first LEED-certified NCAA sports venue in the nation, as Medlar Field is classified as a minor league ballpark)

February 2008 – University of Florida, Baseball Locker Room Facility, LEED Certified for New Construction

May 2009 – University of Florida, Heavener Football Complex, LEED Platinum Certified for New Construction (first LEED Platinum sports venue in the nation) & Golf Course Clubhouse, LEED Silver Certified for New Construction

July 2009 – Bowdoin College, Sidney J. Watson Arena, LEED Silver Certified for New Construction (first LEED-certified hockey arena in the nation)

August 2009 – University of California at Irvine, Anteater Recreation Center Expansion, LEED Gold Certified for New Construction

September 2009 – University of Minnesota, TCF Bank Stadium, LEED Silver Certified for New Construction (first LEED-certified football stadium in the nation)

February 2010 – Baylor University, Allison Practice Field, LEED Silver Certified for New Construction

August 2010 – University of Arizona, Student Recreation Center, LEED Platinum Certified for New Construction (first LEED Platinum recreation center in the nation)

August 2010 – New Mexico State University, Football Coaches’ Office, LEED Silver Certified for New Construction

December 2011 – University of Pennsylvania, Weiss Pavilion, LEED Gold Certified for New Construction

February 2011 – University of Florida, Lacrosse Locker Room Facility, LEED Gold Certified for New Construction

April 2011 – University of Virginia, Davenport Baseball Stadium Addition, LEED Certified for New Construction

August 2011 – Arizona State University, Weatherup Center, LEED Gold Certified for New Construction (first LEED Gold collegiate arena in the nation)

October 2011 – University of Florida, Southwest Recreation Center, LEED Gold Certified for New Construction

October 2011 – University of North Texas, Apogee Stadium LEED Platinum Certified for New Construction (first LEED Platinum football stadium in the nation)

October 2011 – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Football Addition, LEED Silver Certified for New Construction

May 2012 – University of Colorado at Boulder, Basketball Training Facility, LEED Platinum Certified for New Construction

June 2012 – University of California Los Angeles, Spieker Aquatic Center, LEED Gold for New Construction

April 2013 – University of Oregon, Matthew Knight Arena, LEED Gold Certified for New Construction

May 2013 – University of California at San Diego & San Diego State University, Mission Bay Aquatic Center, LEED Platinum for Existing Buildings, Operations and Maintenance

May 2013 – University of Florida, Gymnastics Facility Renovation and Addition, LEED Gold Certified for New Construction

June 2013 – Texas Christian University, Amon G. Carter Stadium Locker Room, LEED Silver Certified for Commercial Interiors

LEED RESOURCES

Visit the USGBC’s Resource Center for LEED guidance and information, including the LEED Calculators.

Peruse LEED case studies for examples of the variety of buildings that can be certified under the LEED rating systems.

ENERGY STAR – U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program established in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Clean Air Act. The goal of the ENERGY STAR Program was defined in the Energy Policy Act (2005) to “identify and promote energy–efficient products and buildings in order to reduce energy consumption, improve energy security, and reduce pollution through voluntary labeling of or other forms of communication about products and buildings that meet the highest energy efficiency standards.”

The system consists of both product ratings (e.g. household appliances) and building ratings (residential, commercial and industrial). Buildings are rated using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and commercial buildings are required to achieve a score of 75 or higher, as verified by a Licensed Professional (professional engineers or registered architects are eligible to apply for the ENERGY STAR rating).

A Licensed Professional must verify the following:

  1. All energy use is accounted for accurately
  2. Building characteristics (e.g. square footage) have been properly reported (including the square footage of the building
  3. The building is fully functional in accordance with industry standards
  4. Each of the indoor environment criteria has been met

ENERGY STAR estimates cumulative greenhouse gas reductions of 1903 million metric tons of CO2 between 1993 and 2012 from their programs as a whole, including appliance standards as well as building ratings.

BREEAM – BUILDING RESEARCH ESTABLISHMENT

The Building Research Establishment (BRE), an impartial research based consultancy in the United Kingdom, launched their Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) in 1990. BRE was originally a government department but was privatised in 1997. BRE is also a founding member of the U.K. Green Building Council.

BREEAM sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design and construction. BREEAM is used as the main rating system in the U.K. It is a global scheme and there are a number of countries where country-specific schemes have been developed in Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden. It has been used widely in Europe and is gaining ground in other regions too.

BREEAM’s main goals are:

  1. To mitigate the life cycle impacts of buildings on the environment
  2. To enable buildings to be recognized according to their environmental benefits
  3. To provide a credible, environmental label for buildings
  4. To stimulate demand for sustainable buildings

The ratings aim to demonstrate how environmentally sustainable a building is. The Outstanding rating is intended to be achieved by innovators making up less than top 1% of U.K. new nonresidential buildings. The Excellent rating is aligned with best practice buildings making up the top 10% of new non-residential buildings. Very Good reflects “advanced good practice” (top 25%), while Good could be achieved by the top 50% of U.K. non-residential buildings. Finally, the Pass rating applies to the top 75% and is considered standard good practice.

Assessments are carried out by licensed BREEAM Assessors who are members of the project team. New assessors undergo a four day training course which includes an examination. Once the course has been passed, assessors submit their assessment reports. These reports undergo a quality assurance (QA) process by BRE.

*HELPS EARN AASHE STARS POINTS*

Promoting greener building practices throughout athletics and recreation can help your institution earn up to 8 points within the “Buildings” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

The materials, energy, and water used to construct buildings and keep them running smoothly and comfortably all have environmental impacts. Green buildings are designed to minimize these impacts on the environment by using environmentally preferable construction materials and techniques, including: reducing water and energy use, minimizing waste, and making better use of natural features like shade, daylight, and rainwater. In so doing, green buildings reduce their contribution to biodiversity loss, global warming, and many other environmental pressures.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

NRDC: Green Building
NRDC: LEED Introduction
USGBC: LEED
EPA: ENERGY STAR For Buildings
About BREEAM
BREEAM Case Studies
CoreNet Global: International Sustainability Systems Comparison
A Comparison of International Sustainable Building Tools