Greener Building > Multi-Purpose Space Use

When restructuring sports facility operations, considering a major renovation, or planning a new sports venue on your campus, evaluate opportunities to increase multi-purpose spaces. Creating flexible, multi-purpose spaces in your athletics and recreation departments allows you to meet the needs of the greatest number of visitors and widest variety of athletic interests in your sports facilities without needing specialized rooms for each interest.

Multi-purpose spaces optimize your overall facility space, helping your sports departments meet the needs of more people with less space. Multi-purpose spaces also promote more efficient use of building materials and other natural resources needed for building operations (like water and electricity).


Consider using the following tips to create more multi-purpose spaces within your athletics and recreation facilities:

  • Identify all indoor and outdoor athletics and recreation facilities that can cater to the needs of a wide variety of sports, e.g. any open rooms or areas (such as soccer fields, hockey fields, football fields, basketball courts, tennis courts etc.).

  • Review all existing schedules for facilities and flag all times when existing facilities are not in use.

  • Review all existing scheduling processes and consider opening scheduling privileges to a broader range of campus groups (such as club and intramural teams).

  • Widely publicize timeslots when facilities are not in use and welcome more mixed uses of existing facilities.

  • When next considering sports facility expansion or new construction projects, evaluate whether the demand for the new space could be met with existing facilities.

  • Design new rooms with greater flexibility (e.g. movable room dividers rather than fixed walls) and provide a wide array of equipment alongside open spaces (rather than a greater number of smaller rooms with limited uses).


Promoting multi-purpose space use and greener building operations 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.


The materials, energy, and water used to construct buildings and keep them running smoothly and comfortably all have environmental impacts. Using your facilities as efficiently as possible with flexible design and multi-purpose spaces helps to minimize these impacts on the environment. In so doing, green buildings reduce their contribution to biodiversity loss, global warming, and many other environmental pressures.


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