Sustainability at the University of Maryland

Green Buildings

Both the University and the State are making great strides in green building construction and renovation. These projects will help the campus conserve energy, reduce the use of raw materials, and save money. Over time, more members of the campus community will live, work, and learn in increasingly efficient buildings while enjoying a higher standard of indoor environmental quality.

At a Glance:

Learn More:

Wye Oak Building

The Wye Oak Building achieved LEED Silver certification on 7/27/2015. Substantially completed in January, 2014 this 12,774 GSF building houses units of the Building Landscape Services Department. This building also achieved a rating of Three Green Globes from the Green Building Initiative (GBI) rating system.

Green features include:

  • Stormwater Management: 90% of average annual rainfall is captured and treated on site
  • Heat Island Effect – Roof: Cool/Reflective roof used
  • Water Efficient Landscaping
  • Water Use Reduction: Potable water use (excluding irrigation) reduced by 36% over baseline
  • Optimize Energy Performance: Energy Cost Savings of 23.2% over baseline
  • Construction Waste Management: 91.87% of on-site generated construction waste diverted from landfill
  • Materials - Recycled Content: 20% of materials by value contain recycled content
  • Materials - Regional: 29% of materials by value manufactured and extracted within 500 miles of the project site
  • Low-emitting Materials: Adhesives and Sealants, Paints and Coatings, Flooring Systems, & Composite Wood and Agrifiber Products in compliance with VOC limits
  • Natural daylight in most regularly occupied spaces
  • Achieved Dual Certification of LEED Silver AND Three Green Globes
Chincoteague Hall

Chincoteague Hall is the first LEED Gold Certified Renovation project at UMD. The renovation process of the 22,648 square foot building still managed to divert 92% of construction waste away from landfills.

Green renovations of this building include:

  • About 10% of the materials used in parts of the building are made with recycled content
  • New plumbing system that conserves water and minimizes waste
  • Use of low-emitting materials
  • Automated motion sensor lighting
  • Fitted windows and doors to guarantee energy efficiency
Pocomoke Building

The Pocomoke Building stands proudly on Route 1, having recently achieved LEED Gold Certification. The building reduced water use by 41% and achieved building reuse at 81% after diverting 84% of construction waste management.




The University House

The University House, a 14,000 square foot facility located on the west side of the University of Maryland's College Park campus, recently achieved LEED Gold status, as determined by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Green features of this building comprise of:

    • Geothermal heating and cooling system
    • Solar water heating
    • Low energy lighting systems
    • Energy smart machine room-less elevator
    • Use of significant amount of recycled material

    Learn more about the building plan here.

    Physical Sciences Complex

    The University of Maryland is currently constructing on another LEED building, the Physical Sciences Complex (PSC). This Complex includes a remarkable array of high-tech laboratories with equipment unsurpassed by any university facility in the country.

    Green features of this building will comprise of:

    • The use of low emitting construction materials
    • The use of at least 20 percent of materials made out of recycled goods
    • Water efficient landscaping to reduce the potable water consumption by 50 percent
    • Groundwater used for non-potable fixtures reducing the potable water consumption
    • A green roof
    • A lighting control system to reduce energy consumption when the building is unoccupied or when the ambient lighting levels are exceeded
    • An under floor ventilation system to increase the efficiency of the heating and cooling system

    Learn more about the building plan here.

    Oakland Hall

    Oakland Hall opened in the fall of 2011 as the campus’s second LEED Gold Certified residential facility. This nine story building will house more than 700 students in the North Campus Community, making it the largest residential facility on campus. Oakland Hall’s green features will include:

    • The implementation of recycled construction materials in the creation of the building
    • The use of low emitting materials such as: adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings and carpets
    • The installation of Energy-Star appliances and equipment
    • A solar reflective roof surface to reduce the summer heat island effect and lower the air conditioning energy usage
    • A water efficient landscaping system through the use of native plants
    • The application of dual-flow toilets and low-flow shower heads
    • A lighting control system as well as energy efficient lighting fixtures
    • The use of “green” cleaning products to be used by all housekeeping staff
    • Easy to access recycling containers on each floor

    For more information about the Oakland Hall building plan, click here.

    Denton Dining

    The University re-opened the Denton Dining Hall in the fall of 2011. This dining hall was originally designed and constructed in 1962; however, in 2001 a tornado damaged the building causing it to close. The Denton Dining Hall has undergone significant renovation and has achieved LEED Silver certification.

    More Info
    Some green features of the building include:
    • The reuse of at least 75 percent of existing building materials (floors, walls, and roof)
    • A greenroof for stormwater management and white roofing to improve building energy performance and reduce heat island effect
    • An energy efficient heating and cooling system
    • Energy efficient lighting
    • The use of natural skylights
    • An informational kiosk used to educate occupants on sustainability and the building’s sustainable practices
    • A trayless dining system

    Read more here

    Knight Hall

    Knight Hall, the new home of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, opened its doors in the winter of 2010 as the first University-owned and operated green building. Certified as LEED Gold by the US Green Building Council, Knight Hall features 53,400 square feet of high-tech classrooms, multimedia labs, offices, and spaces for professional journalism centers. Green features of the building include:

    • 97 percent of the waste generated during construction – soil, asphalt, concrete, etc. – was diverted from landfills and recycled.
    • 31 percent of building materials were obtained from regional and local suppliers, reducing the amount of energy and cost required to transport material to the job site.
    • 34 percent of Knight Hall’s building materials were from recycled sources.
    • Considerably less energy is used on an average daily basis through shading devices and specialty glass that reduces solar heat and glare. The building is oriented for optimum natural daylight and solar control.
    • 100 percent of the water needed for landscaping irrigation is supplied by a 10,000-gallon cistern under the courtyard that collects rainwater from the building site.
    • 86 percent of regularly occupied spaces receive natural daylight and 92 percent of regularly occupied spaces have exterior views. Both of these factors contribute to energy savings.
    • A 40 percent reduction in water use – compared to baseline standards – was achieved by using low-flow toilets and automatic sensors on faucets.
    • A great amount of care was placed in selecting outside plant species that will survive and thrive in conditions with minimal maintenance, while providing functions such as shade and aesthetic value.
    • All cleaning products meet the Green Seal standards for industrial and institutional cleaners. These do not contain environmental contaminants and mandate cleaning practices to improve indoor air quality for building occupants and staff.

    The Knight Hall building site is estimated to reduce stormwater runoff by 27 percent compared with pre-construction conditions. This reduction was achieved by converting an impervious parking lot into a green building surrounded by green space and capturing the rain that falls on the site in a large cistern buried under the courtyard. This system collects rainwater from roof drains, channels the water through a high capacity filter in the courtyard, and stores it in an underground cistern. A drip irrigation system detects the amount of moisture in the soil so that plants are only watered as needed. When the irrigation system calls for water, pumps send water from the cistern through the irrigation system for distribution on-site. The cistern is sized to handle the average rainfall for the month of July (worst-case demand scenario). In addition to reducing the campus's use of potable water for irrigation, the quality of the stormwater runoff is also improved by filtering the water collected from the roof through the mechanical filtering provided by the capture system and the natural filtering provided by plants and other organisms in the soil.

    Visit the Knight Hall homepage

    South Campus Commons 7

    In January, 2010, the University of Maryland opened the doors to its first LEED Certified student housing facility. The facility was also the first campus building to achieve LEED Gold Certification. Building 7 of South Campus Commons is a 370 bed, apartment-style residential building that is home to upper-division, undergraduate students. It was constructed through a Public-Private Partnership between the University and Capstone Development Corp. The development team, comprised of Capstone Development Corp., Design Collective Inc., A. Morton Thomas, and the Whiting Turner Contracting Company, collaborated closely with the University to design and construct Building 7 with the following LEED goals in mind:

    • Energy savings
    • Water conservation
    • CO2 emissions reduction
    • Improved indoor environmental quality
    • Stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts

    Building 7 differs from a conventional residence hall in many ways, but one of the most profound is in the area of energy consumption. High-efficiency heat pumps and Energy Star appliances in each residential unit (washers/dryers, ovens/stove tops, and dishwashers) optimize energy performance. The building also includes energy efficient windows and a white roof to reduce heat gain in the summer.

    Adele H. Stamp Student Union Renovations

    The Adele H. Stamp Student Union completed renovations in 2010 that include:

    • Planted green roofs on the Atrium and Prince George's Rooms
    • Water conserving faucets that use 70 percent less water
    • Energy efficient light bulbs with six times the lifespan of previous fluorescent bulbs
    • Long-lasting, low-toxin paint on some building surfaces
    • Environmentally preferable carpeting made from 20 percent post-consumer recycled materials
    • A hydration station with freshly filtered water for patrons, thereby reducing the use of bottled water.

    The Atrium and Prince George's Room in the Adele H. Stamp Student Union underwent renovations in 2009 and now include two new green roofs. Green roofs use plants called sedums, which are thick-leaved succulents that store water in their leaves and are consequently tolerant of extreme weather. These plants sit atop several layers of soil and drainage protection and serve to:

    • better insulate the building from heat, cold, and sound absorb water and air pollution
    • extend the life of the roof by protecting it from the elements
    • provide a habitat for birds and insects

    The Union's green roofs add to the growing network of planted roofs on campus, including the extensive green roof on Cumberland Hall and the fruit, vegetable, herb, and flower plantings on the roof of the Diner (see Dining section).

    State Commitment

    Governor Martin O’Malley signed the High Performance Buildings Act into Maryland law in April 2008 and it became effective July 1, 2008. The Act requires specified buildings constructed or renovated solely with State funds, such as University buildings, to be “high performance” buildings. The High Performance Buildings initiative is a government research program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to reduce the energy consumption of buildings while improving their quality, occupant comfort, and cost-effectiveness using energy-efficiency and renewable energy technologies, recycled and sustainable materials, and site sensitive design to minimize the burden on the environment.

    Design Criteria/Facilities Standards

    The Design Criteria/Facilities Standards (DCFS) are University standards and design guidelines for new construction and building renovations on the College Park campus and at Client Institutions such as the Universities at Shady Grove. The DCFS set the requirements used by the design team to meet the programmatic needs of each project and cover topics including operations and maintenance, safety, energy efficiency, and material finishes. To insure the University’s projects are designed in compliance with the University’s green building commitment and the High Performance Buildings Act, the DCFS is being revised to address environmental stewardship and LEED design criteria.

    Green Roof on Cumberland Hall

    The green roof on Cumberland Hall covers 65 percent roof surface with approximately 6,000 square feet of plantings. The Cumberland Hall roof is characterized as an "extensive" green roof meaning the depth of the growing media is between 3" - 6" and the plants are low growing, low maintenance, and drought resistant. Extensive green roof systems are not designed to accommodate foot traffic.

    As with the storm water irrigation system installation at Washington Quad, this project is designed, in part, to provide Residential Facilities and other interested campus departments with a large scale installation upon which possible future green/garden roof retro-fit installations can be better budgeted, planned, executed and maintained. Click here for a more in-depth look at the environmental, economic, and social benefits of the green roof.

    University Commitment

    The University adopted the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver building standard for all new construction and major renovations. The initiative was championed by Doug Duncan, former Vice President for Administrative Affairs. The LEED Silver standard has helped the campus reduce energy and water consumption, reduce waste, better ensure indoor air quality, and build in a way that is more respectful to the environment.

    Shuttle Facility

    In February 2013, the Lot 4i Shuttle-UM Facility received LEED Silver certification. The facility is now complete with 100% vegetative roof for stormwater management, 35% interior water use reduction, 20.16% energy cost savings. Additionally, the building utilizes a geothermal well field and heat recovery system. This development provides further support to the university's commitment to sustainable design.

    Universities at Shady Grove

    The Camille Kendall Academic Center at the Universities at Shady Grove was constructed in 2007 with environmentally preferable materials such as rapidly renewable wood and recycled metal. It is the largest green higher education building in the State of Maryland and the first USM building to achieve LEED Gold certification. The University of Maryland, College Park is one of nine USM institutions to offer classes in this Rockville facility.