New course integrates sustainability and LEED for existing buildings into higher education to shape future leaders of the green building industry
India—(June 29, 2016)—USGBC announced today the launch of LEED Lab in India. An interactive multidisciplinary immersion course, LEED Lab utilizes the built environment to educate and prepare students to become green building leaders and sustainability-focused citizens. In the LEED Lab course, students learn the principles of LEED and assess the performance of existing facilities on campus, choosing one building where they will facilitate the LEED Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) process. Students drive the complete process of LEED O+M on a campus facility, with the goal of certifying the building.
The LEED Lab effort originated with a pilot course created and taught by Assistant Professor Patricia Andrasik at the Catholic University of America (CUA). From 2011–2014, CUA partnered with the Center for Green Schools at USGBC and GBCI to test the course concept. LEED Lab officially launched in January 2014, and since then, it has gone global with LEED Labs in 19 different institutions of higher education across the globe, including North America, Latin America, the Middle East, East Asia and South Asia.
Now, we are excited to announce that LEED Lab has been adopted in India by The Knowledge Institute of Technology (KIOT), which will begin its first LEED Lab session this month. Located in Salem, Tamid Nadu, KIOT is a pioneer in the Indian education space. KIOT strongly believes the concept of LEED Lab will allow students to jump-start their careers upon graduation and participation in the course will serve as inspiration to other Indian colleges for adoption.
“LEED Lab is a key educational tool to prepare students for competitive 21st century careers in sustainability,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, COO, USGBC, and president, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). “By educating the next generation of sustainability advocates in India, KIOT is committed to transforming existing campus facilities across India into more sustainable environments, while also providing students with the hands-on-experiences required to enter the workforce. I want to thank KIOT’s principal, Dr. P.S.S. Srinivasan, and the rest of the leadership at KIOT, for partnering with us to nurture and train a workforce that will be essential to addressing India’s future sustainability needs.”
The campus environment serves as the perfect learning laboratory to engage students in projects that are experiential, providing these individuals with the knowledge, expertise and skills needed to solve 21st century challenges. Through participating in LEED Lab, students are also equipped with career-ready skills, knowledge and expertise that can be quickly deployed upon completion of the course. LEED Lab also meets the demands of the market, by providing students with actual LEED project experience and an opportunity to experiment on ways to certify existing campus facilities through direct collaboration with faculty and a third-party green organization.
Higher education institutions all over the globe are committing to sustainability and climate neutrality on a daily basis and have shown tremendous leadership in the green building movement. But there is still work to be done, especially in the realm of existing buildings. Since it can take up to 80 years to make up for the environmental impact of demolishing an old building and constructing a new one, LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance holds incredible promise for existing campus facilities. LEED O+M promotes the ongoing implementation of best practices in building operations with the goal of sustaining high levels of performance throughout the life of a building.
LEED Lab employs these strategies—and by participating in the course, and eventually certifying a building to LEED O+M, campuses across the globe can ensure their buildings maintain and improve current performance over time. The implementation of LEED O+M reduces the environmental impact of buildings and grounds, has a positive effect on student, faculty and staff health, and prepares students to be global sustainability citizens.