To have a LEED certification is an honorable feat in the world of sustainability. A product of the U.S. Green Building Council, the multi-tiered LEED certification system has been a pioneer and leader in sustainable building initiatives around the world.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes responsible building designs and practices. In pursuit of sustainability, NOLS has jumped on the LEED train and is successfully taking the school toward a greener future.
On Jan. 22, 2015, the Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus received one gold and five platinum LEED certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council for their caretaker house and student housing units, respectively. These high-end certifications echoed the standard that the Wyss Campus set when the educational facility became LEED Platinum certified in November of 2013. Over the course of about 18 months, the project team focused on a variety of details to achieve the six recent certifications, and the result is worthy of admiration.
Certifying these residences is absolutely an accomplishment as far as the environment is concerned. Not only are the facilities designed to work with the elements that they are set in, but they also create a learning opportunity for the students who spend time in them.
“For many students, this is their first opportunity to live in a building that requires active engagement. After a month at the Wyss Campus, students are more likely to reach for the window than the thermostat to manage comfort,” noted NOLS Wilderness Medicine Assistant Director Shana Tarter.
The environmentally friendly components of the student housing on the Wyss Campus encourage students to appreciate and pursue greener practices.
The positive impact of this achievement resonates beyond the NOLS community, as NOLS is now a leader in LEED Platinum certification within the state of Wyoming. With LEED Platinum being the highest of certifications, the Wyss Campus has set a wonderful example for other groups seeking to build green.
Editor's note: Post updated 3/13/2018
Becca is the spring 2015 Stewardship and Sustainability intern at NOLS.