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I taught a LEED workshop at the University of Maryland today but I’m the one who walked away with an education.
Bottom line – the Terrapins are greening themselves.
A diverse group from the university attended the workshop, LEED 101 – a basic introduction to USGBC and the rating systems –including vice-presidents, directors and staff from student affairs, residential life, dining services and other campus operations. Amazingly, not one person was there because they wanted to sit for the exam. This is a first for me – an audience without aspiring LEED-APs – most of my workshops are filled with ‘em.
Last year the university adopted LEED Silver green building standards for all new construction and major renovations. These folks are not the ones responsible for implemented this mandate – they simply wanted to learn about LEED.
Many were already informed about sustainability through wide-ranging campus initiatives. In 2002 the campus adopted a Facilities Master Plan establishing environmental goals to guide its activities. It’s an impressive document that’s been supplemented by a new initiative for becoming carbon neutral.
The university’s environmental bona fides were established last fall when its LEAFHouse took second place at the Solar Decathlon. Moreover, in 2007 the First Year Book Program chose The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas and the Coming Death of America’s Coastal Cities by Mike Tidwell in order to promote discussion around global climate change.
This school does not shy away from controversial issues nor does it avoid tackling pressing environmental solutions. The Office of Sustainability was formed last year to implement a campus-wide mission to reduce the university’s adverse environmental impacts.
Do I sound impressed? You bet!