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UC Sustainability

UC Sustainability

LEED Buildings

The physical structures of the places that we live, work, and play influence the way that we construct the world around us, and the University of Cincinnati is committed to maintaining and creating structures of its built environment that support natural systems, foster education, and create a sense of place.

In 2001, UC created the Sustainable Design Policy, committing the institution to build all new construction and major renovations, whenever possible, to LEED Silver standards or higher.  More information on these projects can be found in the Energy Master Plan.  This effort has been recognized with Duke Energy's Power Partner of the Year award in 2012.

Center for Academic Research Excellence/Crawley, 2008


CARE / Crawley Building
* CARE/Crawley
LEED certification scorecard

Teachers College (renovation), 2010, 2018

LEED Silver

Teachers College
* Teachers Dyers College
LEED certification scorecard

Morgens Hall, 2013

LEED Silver

Morgens Hall
* Morgens Hall
LEED certification scorecard

Joseph A. Steger Student Life Center, 2004

LEED Certified

Steger Student Life Center
* Joseph A. Steger Student Life Center
LEED certification scorecard

Van Wormer Hall (renovation), 2006

LEED Certified

Van Wormer Hall
* Van Wormer Hall
LEED certification scorecard

Richard E. Lindner Athletic Center & Varsity Village, 2006

LEED Certified

Richard E. Lindner Varsity Village
* Richard E. Lindner Varsity Village
LEED certification scorecard

Campus Recreation Center (CRC), 2006

LEED Certified

Campus Recreation Center
* Campus Recreation Center
LEED certification scorecard

1819 Innovation Hub, 2018

LEED Silver

1819 Innovation Hub
* 1819 Innovation Hub
LEED certification scorecard

Nippert Stadium (renovation), 2018

LEED Silver

Nippert Stadium West Concorse
* Nippert Stadium
LEED certification scorecard

Marian Spencer Hall

LEED Silver

Marian Spencer
* Marian Spencer
LEED certification scorecard

Scioto Hall

LEED Silver

* Scioto
LEED certification scorecard

Tracking LEED Buildings

Lindner College of Business

Tracking to be LEED Gold

Marian Spencer

Health Sciences Building

Tracking to be LEED Silver


Fifth Third Arena (renovation)

Tracking to be LEED Silver

Scioto Color Studies


Tracking to be LEED Silver


What is LEED?

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance 'green' buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality (U.S. Green Building Council).


Case studies show that LEED can directly reduce building construction and operating costs on college and university campuses. Greater durability and enhanced occupant productivity make green design features and materials even more cost-effective. While LEED is least costly for original designs, there are cost-effective ways to apply it to retrofit existing buildings as well.

The LEED rating system applies different levels of certification depending on varied design elements. Whether LEED is right for a given building depends in part on the goals of the campus planners and the types of amenities they wish to include. (U.S. Green Building Council).

Four levels of certification:
LEED Certified 40 - 49 points
LEED Silver 50 - 59 points
LEED Gold 60 - 79 points
LEED Platinum 80+ points (100 possible)

University of Cincinnati’s Commitment

The University of Cincinnati has a requirement for all new construction, and whenever possible renovations, to be certified LEED Silver or higher.  This requirement demonstrates the University’s commitment to responsible design and construction.  A critical aspect of this intent, particularly by example, is to reduce risks to employee and student health and safety, and to simplify the maintenance and ensure the longevity of buildings and equipment.  The ability to foresee and employ technical innovations to achieve this goal becomes even more critical during times of low available operating cash or credit, which can be an inevitable part of higher education financial cycles, and which must be planned for where feasible.

During the past 16 years of Master Plan construction, The University has experienced a transformation of its campus (nearly 50%) that is historically incomparable. At a commitment of over $2 billion, the journey from departure to destination has produced a cohesive and coherent assembly of new and renovated buildings, recreation facilities, improved residential environments, athletic and performance venues, and sculpted landscapes and plazas.

Green Housekeeping

In addition to how buildings are constructed, how buildings are maintained and cleaned has a significant environmental impact.  UC has instituted a Green Cleaning Policy to mitigate this.  The most recent formal iteration of this policy can be found here.

UC’s Building Services provides routine housekeeping and custodial care to more than 97 buildings totaling over 13 million gross square feet (GSF) of space. Housekeeping is part of Facilities Management, which in turn is part of UC’s Administration and Finance Department. Building Services has approximately 160 staff. Each building has assigned staff that performs routine cleaning on a scheduled basis. To accomplish this task, housekeeping staff use a variety of cleaning, maintenance and disposable products on a daily basis. Since 2005, steps have been taken to shift away from caustic products to safer, greener products. Today many products such as restroom and general purpose cleansers are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Housekeeping monitors the marketplace for effective sustainable products, in order to use sustainable products with equivalent performance, and continually trains staff to use the sustainable products while educating them about sustainability. New sustainable housekeeping products are continually offered in the marketplace. Some products perform well and others do not. Identification and testing of new products occur at the director and associate director level. Once the new products are approved for trial, the managers and building supervisors are trained in their use and the products are tested in the field by front-line staff. Housekeeping assesses new product performance relative to their purchase price and labor costs to use them. For example, cleaning staff utilize both BETCO and Kaivac sustainable green cleaning products, both certified by Green Seal - the nation's number one green product rating system since 1989. Together these product lines offer a wide range of green cleaning solutions. These products were tested by managers, shown to supervisors and then introduced to front-line staff. The uses of these products and other green ones, along with efficiency procedures greatly improves the sustainability of UC's facilities. 

Green Bonds

The Series 2014C General Receipts Bonds (Green Bonds) financed a portion of the Scioto Hall Renovation, a University on-campus residence hall that has been identified as a project promoting environmental sustainability.

In 2013, the University completed the renovation of Morgens Hall, the on-campus residence hall sister building to Scioto Hall, originally built in 1965. A major theme throughout the renovation of Morgens’ Hall was to increase the building’s energy efficiency.

Renovations included the following features:

  • 1‐inch‐thick glass panels with low‐e coatings and manual roller shades with 99 percent closure helping to control the building’s temperature, thereby saving on heating and cooling costs
  • All mechanical systems were designed for energy efficiency
  • 100% LED lighting, resulting in over 20% reduction in overall energy needs in lighting alone
  • Energy recovery system which captures heat from existing bathroom exhaust, using that heat to pretreat outdoor air systems that serve the entire building
  • FSC certified core doors
  • Use of recycled materials
  • Use of regional materials