P. Sue Beckwith, M.D., Boathouse

Sustainable Initiatives

building smarter and greener - commitment to leedLEED logo

The University of Iowa is committed to sustainability in its campus development through the incorporation of green principles in the placement, design and construction of new campus facilities and major renovation projects. The widely recognized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program encourages sustainable building practices.

  • The University maintains a minimum standard of LEED Silver certification for new construction and major renovations.

  • Facilities Management has over 20 LEED professionals on staff.


The University has set a minimum standard of Silver certification for all new building projects submitted for review under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building System; however, the UI has exceed this goal in many cases. Some of the characteristics that make each of these projects 'green' include:

In order of certification

P. Sue Beckwith Boathouse (complete 2009). More info.
LEED Gold certified, 1st LEED project on campus, 22,507 gsf
Environmental & Energy Leadership Award, Green Building Category, Corridor Business Journal

  • Pervious concrete to reduce storm water runoff
  • Geothermal heating and daylight harvesting
  • Local and recycled materials
  • Built-in flood-mitigation strategies

Institute for Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation (complete 2009). More info.
LEED Gold certified, 1st healthcare project in the state to receive this rating, 26,012 gsf

  • Site selected for minimal environmental impact
  • Erosion control and surface water run-off plans
  • Reflective concrete parking lot
  • 81 percent of wood products from Forest Stewardship Council-certified sources

State Hygienic Laboratory (complete 2010). More info.
LEED Gold certified, 114,466 gsf

  • More than one-third of the building products were manufactured within 500 miles of the Laboratory and one-third are made from recycled content
  • Ninety percent of the building has access to natural light
  • Grounds are built with "xeriscaping," which uses plants suited to the climate so that no special watering is needed
  • A tallgrass prairie - Iowa's native ecosystem - has been started as part of the landscape

Stuit Hall (Old Music Building) renovation (complete 2010). More info.
LEED Gold certified, 1st LEED renovation on campus, 22,267 gsf

  • Rain garden to capture roof storm water
  • Occupancy sensors to control electric lights
  • New insulation, replacement windows, and energy efficient mechanicals
  • Recycling storage and collection centers

Information Technology Facility (complete 2011). More info.
LEED Platinum certified, 48,049 gsf
Excellence in Engineering Award, First Place, ASHRAE, Illinois Chapter

  • Bio-retention cell – 7,800 sq. ft. garden-like area on six feet of soil with 1,500 plantings to retain and absorb water runoff serving as a natural filter and providing erosion control
  • High performance energy conservation optimization
  • Six miles of underground conduit; 26 miles of electrical feeder wire
  • The ITF will house servers that are scattered across campus, tucked in small rooms and closets within individual units

Dental Science Building Addition (complete 2011). More info.
LEED Gold certified, 33,754 gsf

  • Energy cost savings of 41% above code
  • Collection and storage of recycling materials
  • 81% of the total wood-based materials are harvested from FSC certified forests
  • All indoor adhesive and sealant products comply with the VOC limits of the standard
  • All indoor paint and coating products comply with the VOC standard
  • All composite wood and laminate adhesives used in the building contain no added urea-formaldehyde resins
  • Lighting controls enable 95% of the occupants to make adjustments to suit individual task needs

College of Public Health Building (complete 2011). More info.
LEED Platinum certified, 1st LEED academic building to received LEED Platinum, 156,698 gsf

  • reflective roofing
  • maximal use of natural lighting
  • storm drainage that uses vegetation and landscaping rather than curbs and gutters
  • low maintenance and zero irrigation landscape design
  • waste reduction and recycling practices
  • occupancy sensors in offices and other common areas to provide lighting as needed
  • proximity to public transportation routes
  • water use reduction through low-flow plumbing

Carver-Hawkeye Arena Addition/Renovation (complete 2011). More info.
LEED Gold certified, 131,000 gsf

  • Water efficient landscaping was utilized with no irrigation system installed
  • Water use reduction above 40%
  • Significant energy cost savings of 51% with a payback on incremental costs of just over eight years
  • Over 20% regional and recycled content of the new materials installed
  • As part of the renovation of the existing building, over 90% of the original structure
    was reused

Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex - Indoor Turf Addition (complete August 2014)
LEED Silver certified, 87,000 gsf

  • 96% of the construction waste on this project was recycled
  • Water-efficient plumbing fixtures installed use 55% less water
  • 63% of the materials used came from sources within 500 miles of the site
  • The HVAC system is 49% more efficient than ASHRAE 90.1 requirements.  The system utilizes VRF technology coupled with high-efficiency boilers and a closed loop geothermal system
  • Storm water quality was high, based on use of bio-retention cells, water quality units, grass swales and the existing adjacent wetland area

Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building (complete July 2014)
LEED Gold certified, 258,000 gsf

  • Diverted over 75% of construction and demolition debris from the landfills through recycling.
  • Used regionally-sourced materials to support the use of indigenous resources, reducing the environmental impact resulting from transportation.
  • Designed with water efficient landscaping that uses no potable water.  The building collects rainwater on the roof with the help of three green roofs and the site for landscape irrigation. Native grasses were used, no mow in some locations.
  • Over 30% water use reduction to reduce the burden on university water supply and wastewater systems.
  • Designated Brownfield Redevelopment as a result of asbestos abatement on the site of the old Steindler Building.
  • Reduced heat island effect for both roof and site to minimize impact on microclimate and human and wildlife habitat.
  • Enhanced MEPT (Mechanical Electrical Plumbing Telecommunications) commissioning and building envelope commissioning.
  • Provided alternative transportation including public transportation access and bicycle storage/changing rooms.
  • Implemented an indoor air quality program during construction and before occupancy to help sustain the comfort and well-being of construction workers and building occupants

Hansen Football Performance Center - Indoor Practice Facility and Football Operations, Phases I and II (complete 2014)
LEED Gold certified, 224,000 total gsf (Phase 1 112,500 sf, Phase II 110,500 sf)

  • Water to water heat pumps with radiant floor heat for field
  • Natural ventilation system
  • Overhead HVAC system for operations building
  • DOA units for locker rooms, therapy rooms and plunge pool
  • Variable frequency drives
  • Daylight harvesting, LED lighting, dimming daylighting controls, occupancy sensors
  • $1M lower life cycle cost over 25 years, utility rebate of $743, 200
  • 32% recycled building materials used
  • 97% construction waste diverted from landfill
  • Projected water savings of 45% below LEED v3


Mary Louise Petersen Residence Hall (complete July 2015)
LEED Gold certified, 178,906 gsf

Total GSF of LEED buildings on UI campus: 1,302,659 gsf


  1. Visual Arts Building (completed, pending LEED Gold)
  2. Hancher Auditorium (completed, pending LEED status)
  3. Voxman Music Building (completed, pending LEED Gold)
  4. College of Engineering Seamans Center Addition (in construction, targeting LEED Gold/Platinum)
  5. College of Pharmacy Building (in design& construction, targeting LEED Silver)

UI Health Care Facilities: Iowa River Landing, LEED Silver; Ambulatory Surgery Center, pending LEED Silver; Stead Family Children's Hospital, pending LEED Silver


"College of Public Health achieves LEED Platinum certification," Hawkeye Network, May 2013. Interviews with Rod Lehnertz, director of Planning, Design & Construction, and Sue Curry, Dean, College of Public Health.

"LEED Buildings on the UI Campus," profiles the Beckwith Boathouse, College of Public Health Building and the Information Technology Facility, 2013. Interviews with Rod Lehnertz, director of Planning, Design & Construction, and Liz Christiansen, director of the UI Office of Sustainability.

More Information

For more information on University of Iowa LEED projects, contact Facilities Management Planning, Design & Construction at 319-335-5500.

Learn more about the University's commitment to sustainability in the University of Iowa Design Standards & Procedures.