sustainable campus building

Carbon Reduction, Energy Conservation and Sustainability in Design and Construction

The University of Michigan has a long history of environmental stewardship in its approach to facility design and construction. Incorporating energy conservation measures and renewable energy sources in building design is one of the most effective ways to reduce the carbon footprint of U-M buildings and the university has required energy stretch goals since 2008..

The following summary highlights U-M’s approach to sustainable design and construction. Additional information is available on the Planet Blue site.

Energy Performance Standards

The university’s current goal of exceeding American Association of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1-2013 energy code requirements is  20% for all new construction projects and 15% for renovation projects with a construction budget of $10 million or greater. U-M requires  numerous mandatory energy conservation measures, comprehensive evaluation of additional energy efficiency measures, comprehensive modeling of energy usage for proposed projects and development of energy impact statements at each phase of design.

Carbon Emission Targets

In November 2022, the university also formally incorporated in the Design Guidelines maximum carbon emissions targets across different building types for all new construction projects as well as major renovation projects with a construction budget of $10 million or greater. These targets further enhance our goals and support  U-M’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions.

LEED Certification

All new buildings and additions with an estimated construction budget greater than $10 million are designed to achieve a minimum of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification level.

Design Guidelines

Several sections of U-M’s Design Guidelines for Design and Construction outline U-M’s detailed requirements related to both energy efficiency as well as sustainable design and environmental stewardship:

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