Type of Document Thesis Author VanderDoes, Michelle Diane URN etd-07082008-213008 Title An Exploration of the Advantages and Challenges to Sustainable University Buildings Degree Master of Science Department Interior Design, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Jill Pable Committee Member Lisa Waxman Committee Member Mr. Eric Wiedegreen Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 2008-06-30 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis study began with the assumption that universities have an influential impact on their students and surrounding community, and that this influence can be used to spread awareness of sustainability through “green design”. Therefore, the advantages and challenges of creating sustainable university buildings were explored. The primary research question focused on the sustainable design features of three buildings, the motivations for designing those sustainable buildings, and the advantages and obstacles of sustainable design in those buildings.
Three university buildings were chosen as research sites, each having a different orientation and a different impact on the university and its students. The sites include a residence hall, a library and a classroom. Interviews with key players, as well as building tours were conducted, photos were taken, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) documentation was examined. Key players were asked questions focusing on the role they played in the construction of the building, the motivations and attitudes surrounding the design of each building, the reactions and awareness that resulted from the building itself, and the advantages and challenges regarding the design of the buildings. During site visits, the sustainable features were noted, and multiple photographs were taken. After gathering the data from the interviews and site visits, the interview data was organized and categorized into emergent themes.
One of the main themes that emerged from the study included the belief that LEED is a good start for building sustainably, but it may not be enough. The key players thought that the LEED registration process did not have enough requirements for maintaining eco-efficiency after construction was complete, and that more emphasis needed to be placed on the “life-cycle of sustainability”. Another reoccurring theme was that the main motivation for building a sustainable building was because “it’s the right thing to do” and that universities should be involved with sustainability to be a good “role model” who is “leading the way”. Universities were found to already have an advantage in becoming sustainable and LEED certified, because numerous LEED requirements are already developed on a universities campus in what they call “exterior campus points”. All of the key players agreed that in order to become a successful “sustainable campus” that support from the higher administration is essential.
A clear definition emerged from this study in that sustainability and “green building” are the future of design and construction. As an influential and intricate part of our society, universities have the ability and the obligation to be involved and progressive in the sustainable movement.
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