Expert Advice on Green Buildings

Green Jobs: Nonprofits and Colleges Commit to LEED and Green Building Projects


In January 2011, Duke University announced that it is awaiting LEED certification for its Keohane residence hall. This certification would make it Duke's 23rd LEED certified building.

Duke's commitment to LEED certification is a part of its Climate Action Plan.

Duke is only one of an increasing number of nonprofit organizations and institutions have chosen to implement green building strategies, with many earning LEED certification for their projects.

Nonprofits and Green Building: Gates Foundation Earns Platinum

For example, in Fall 2011, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation achieved LEED-New Construction (NC) Platinum certification on its campus in downtown Seattle.

Its LEED-NC Platinum certification makes the project the world's largest nonprofit LEED Platinum building. LEED-NC Platinum is the highest possible certification a development can receive under the rating system.

The project incorporates a number of innovative green building strategies, including a 1-million gallon underground rainwater storage tank and two acres of "living roofs." According to the firm, conservation strategies cut the campus' potable water use by 80 percent. More than 40 percent of the site, which was formerly a parking lot, has been reconverted to green space.

Green Colleges

Similarly, many colleges and universities, such as Duke, have adopted LEED and green building practices on their campuses.

The American College and University President’s Climate Commitment had 672 signatories as of October 24, 2011. This commitment requires signatories to take tangible actions to reducing greenhouse gases.

One suggested action is to "establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or equivalent."

As such, many institutions have mandated LEED certification for construction projects.

For example, the University of Central Florida made a commitment in 2007 to earn at least a Silver certification on all new campus buildings, and is currently seeking certification for 17 new buildings.

Similarly, Western Michigan University requires all construction project exceeding $1 million to incorporate LEED Silver design principles and will green existing buildings using the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance rating system.

Green Jobs for Professionals

Since many nonprofit organizations and institutions have incorporated LEED green building strategies, they will demand professionals who have a demonstrated knowledge of LEED concepts.

Professionals can earn the Green Associate or AP professional credentials to increase their chances of finding a job working on green building projects for nonprofit organizations.

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Expert Advice and Comments

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