By Katie Davern
SB Hall, the future home of the Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business, is in the process of obtaining Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification. It is a development that the University of Dallas administration hopes will be positive both for the environment and the entire university community.
LEED is a green certification program for buildings, homes and communities. The program guides design, construction, operations and maintenance. Sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, it is the most widely recognized green building program across the globe. More than 54,000 projects currently participate in it. The program recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices, requiring prerequisites to earn a certain number of points and awarding different levels of certification based on the number of points earned.
The College of Business (COB)administration is aiming for LEED Silver certification, the third-highest level of certification. According to Marianne Wilson, Manager of COB administration, they have been working with the architectural firm Perkins+Will and their LEED specialist to develop what they think will work for their project.
“What we’re trying to do is achieve LEED Silver certification,” Wilson said. “To do that you need to achieve a total number of points. They take a look at what already existing things on campus would count for it, and they take a look at what the architects have put into the plan that would count for it.”
In addition to its positive impact on the environment, Wilson notes that the effort for certification reflects an important development in business education and the business community as a whole.
“We want to change the mindset from just sustainability to how can we make our planet flourish. And people in the business world are really interested in that — in having the mindset change from, ‘Well we have to do this to be green,’ to, ‘What can we do to change the world? What can we do to make our campus flourish, for our world here at UD?’” Wilson explained. “It’s a shift in focus from doing less harm to having a ‘net positive impact.’”
Wilson hopes the LEED certification will also help to engage the local business community.
“If you have a building that they know you have tried to accomplish LEED Silver certification [for], then they know that you’re really making an effort to be current,” Wilson stated. “Most of their businesses are doing that or more. They want to be engaged with people who are likeminded. It’s how you get corporate partners, it’s how you bring development funds into the university, so it has a far reaching impact.”
Dr. Bob Scherer, dean of the COB, says he believes that becoming LEED certified will be just one step in helping shape the best leaders of the future.
“Today, it’s the right thing to do. We need to be effective stewards of the resources we have for the college and the university to serve our students and to serve the larger stakeholders of the university, which [are] our alumni and the DFW metroplex,” Scherer said. “Having a LEED certified building reflects that commitment to our mission. And our mission for the COB is that we produce principled and moral leaders.”
Scherer noted that the money saved by the energy-efficient design will benefit the rest of the school as well. By becoming energy efficient, the school will be able to save money on energy bills and that can instead be put toward academics and extracurricular activities.
Scherer said the decision to aim for LEED certification was a joint one.
“The Guptas were committed to the principles of business sustainability,” Scherer said. “And in the discussions that University of Dallas President Keefe and myself had with the Guptas, we felt that it was also important from the university’s perspective.”
SB Hall will break ground on Oct. 17 at 12:30 p.m. The groundbreaking ceremonies will include speeches given by Keefe, Scherer, Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne, and Satish and Yasmin Gupta. Refreshments will be provided after the ceremony in Braniff. The entire university community is invited to participate in the groundbreaking and help celebrate this event.