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Built Environment


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. 


Goal 1:  Create a built environment that enhances and sustains the human, environmental and economic well-being of the campus

Objective 1.1:  Update standards for existing buildings and new construction to support a more sustainable built environment

Campus design standards establish expectations for architectural and engineering firms working with the University on projects and encourage the innovative design required to create truly high performance buildings.

Strategy 1.1.1:  Require all new construction to meet or exceed criteria for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification

Strategy 1.1.2:  Establish specific targets for credits within LEED categories that will result in high-performance buildings

Strategy 1.1.3:  Incorporate performance standards outlined in the Goals for Existing Building, New Construction, and Operational Standards (see Appendix D)

Strategy 1.1.4: Develop complementary performance standards for renovation projects in existing buildings

Strategy 1.1.5:  Review existing building performance based on LEED Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED EB: O&M) standards

Strategy 1.1.6:  Consider alignment with the Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge (LBC) and the Sustainable Sites Initiative Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks (SITES)

Strategy 1.1.7: Ensure that all design standards support universal design practices to create a campus environment in which all people feel welcome.


Objective 1.2:  Use decision-making processes that facilitate sustainable design in all new projects  

Making a fundamental shift in the way we evaluate projects and make decisions can create a more sustainable campus.

Strategy 1.2.1:  Assign a LEED Accredited Professional to all construction and renovation projects

Strategy 1.2.2:  Use an “Integrated Project Delivery Process,” to involve all stakeholders throughout the decision making process, including building occupants and key operations and maintenance personnel

Strategy 1.2.3:  Employ life cycle and “triple bottom line” analysis to evaluate the environmental, social, and economic costs and benefits over the entire life of each building

Strategy 1.2.4:  Establish funding for construction and major renovation projects that allows for potentially higher capital costs balanced by lower long-term maintenance and operation costs


Objectives 1.3:  Plan the built environment with an approach that minimizes our physical footprint

Campus sprawl increases infrastructure costs, reduces walkability, and leads to additional environmental impacts related to transportation and habitat loss.

Strategy 1.3.1:  Aim to exceed the Board of Regents utilization standards for classrooms and class laboratories to negate or delay the need to build additional space

Strategy 1.3.2:  Concentrate development within existing campus boundaries through appropriate use of infill and redevelopment


Objective 1.4:  Establish a feedback loop to evaluate projects and provide feedback to the design process

In order to create a more sustainable campus, we must constantly evaluate our situation, learn from our successes and failures, and keep pace with advancements in technology.

Strategy 1.4.1:  Complete comprehensive “Post Occupancy Evaluations” to assess employee satisfaction, performance and wellness, technical operations, environmental impacts, and economic aspects of projects within two years of initial occupancy

Strategy 1.4.2:  Maintain data on the outcomes of individual practices and decisions (e.g.: performance of materials and equipment, maintenance requirements, etc.)

Strategy 1.4.3:  Annually update the design standards to integrate feedback from campus projects

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

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