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Built Environment

The University is dependent upon places to carry out its educational and research mission.  Since these places house the major activities of the University, it is not surprising that campus buildings were found to consume 77% of all purchased electricity and 93% of all natural gas use, producing nearly 50% of the University’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.


The University of Kansas is committed to a sustainable built environment through research, education, building design, construction, renovation, and operations to reduce environmental impacts on site, to the surrounding community and the world.  We strive to create buildings that enhance the lives of their users, minimize natural resource consumption, generate their own energy, provide a healthy indoor environment, and process building wastes in ways that mimic natural processes. 


Key achievements in working toward this vision, and the corresponding strategy (in parentheses), include:

  • Although formal LEED certification is not anticipated for new KU facilities, Project Designers shall still design new facilities to meet the equivalent of LEED Silver certification compliance, at a minimum (BE 1.1.1).
  • Design Construction & Management (DCM) requires all new buildings, major additions, and major renovations to exceed ASHRAE 90.1-2010 energy efficiency standards by a minimum of 15 percent (BE 1.1.2).
  • DCM has implemented a number of standards including: decreasing building energy consumption; plantings to reduce heat island effect and provide insulation; eliminate ozone-depleting refrigerants; reusing building materials and components where possible; installing high efficiency water fixtures; minimizing and avoiding the use of building materials containing hazardous compounds; and incorporating building components that provide research and educational opportunities (BE 1.1.4).
  • DCM retains architectural and engineering consultants that are LEED-certified for all new buildings and major renovation projects (BE 1.2.1).

Parking Lot 54 was reconstructed with a number of sustainable design

features. Although initial costs were higher than traditional construction,

life cycle cost analysis indicated maintence and operation costs would

be lower over the life of the parking lot.

  • DCM considers opportunities to invest higher capital costs that will result in lower long-term maintenance and operation costs.  For example, Parking Lot 54 was reconstructed with pervious concrete pavement instead of asphalt pavement. While the initial capital investment was higher, the life cycle cost analysis showed that concrete would have a greater useful life and reduced operation & maintenance costs.
  • New facilities for the School of Engineering, the DeBruce Center, Capitol Federal Fall, and the Earth, Energy, and Environment Center were constructed as infill on existing campus sites as opposed to building outside existing boundaries (BE 1.3.2).
  • DCM regularly issues client satisfaction surveys after each project requesting feedback on the services provided by DCM. In addition, DCM regularly performs a review of building conditions prior to expiration of the typical one-year builder's warranty (BE 1.4.1).
  • DCM treats the KU Design & Construction Standards as a living document, continually updating it as necessary/appropriate. Examples include updates addressing new ADA criteria, landscaping requirements, waste and recycling container storage areas, privacy restrooms, mothers' rooms, low flow plumbing fixtures, and other updates. (BE 1.4.3). 

Coronavirus Update

KU Recycling and KU Surplus have resumed services. As part of our efforts to reduce an on-campus presence and promote social distancing, we will continue to limit special collections that are not mission critical. For updated information on KU's response to COVID-19, visit protect.ku.edu

Sustainability Plan

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KU Bike Plan

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