The Built Environment

Sustainable Construction for a Sustainable Future

Environmental and climate science has revealed time and again the importance of sustainability in building design, and at DU we've integrated that knowledge not just into our existing campus structures but also into our plans for the future of our community. 

Buildings are among the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and waste accumulation, and a healthier future for the environment relies on our ambition in the present. That's why we’ve retrofitted our buildings to achieve higher water and energy efficiency, and why our long-term Campus Framework Plan is written around a goal of massively reducing overall emissions and providing a campus environment that supports our goals in sustainability.

Along the way, we're working to integrate more seamlessly with our surrounding community, building a hub in central Denver that will serve as an example of how sustainable development can work on college campuses.

6 LEED-certified buildings

5 million dollars invested in DU Green Fund

1st Cross-Laminated Timber Building in Colorado

arial view of campus

Land Use & Future Planning

Alongside the IMPACT 2025 plan, we have developed a Campus Framework Plan that outlines an exciting future for the DU community. It specifies that all new buildings must at least meet LEED Silver standards, while improving campus walkability and our connections to the surrounding area.

We're also working to make public transit a viable option for more members of our community, consolidating parking lots to improve air quality and supporting the creation of new green spaces. These initiatives are aimed at building a vibrant campus whose natural beauty will be reflected and honored by more sustainable facilities.

Read the Plan

LEED Certified Buildings

sturm law building

Ricketson Law Building: Gold

Ricketson became the nation's first LEED Gold Certified law school building in 2003, and includes a rain collection cistern, low-impact water fixtures and highly efficient windows that retain heat while allowing in natural light.

ruffatto hall building

Ruffatto Hall: Gold

At Ruffatto Hall, which houses the Morgridge College of Education, 93 percent of occupied spaces feature outdoor viewing access, and water-efficient landscaping reduces water waste.

nagel hall building

Nagel Hall: Gold

One of our largest undergraduate residence halls, Nagel Hall is built with masonry that reduces the number of heating and cooling days needed per year, and also features low-flow water fixtures and a copper roof made from 95 percent recycled material.

administrative office building

Administrative Office Building: Gold

Completed in 2018 in order to house several administrative units such as Shared Services, Alumni Engagement, and Advancement, the Administrative Office Building (AOB) was awarded LEED Gold for a design that optimizes natural daylighting and reduced energy consumption.

AAC building

Anderson Academic Commons: Silver

Our central library and hub of student activity has been renovated and awarded LEED Gold Certification for its efficient windows, building materials, reduced waste processing and low-flow water fixtures. These renovations turned the library into a vibrant central hub of campus, while cutting electricity consumption in half.

margery reed hall

Margery Reed Hall: Silver

A major academic and administrative space on campus, Margery Reed Hall received an update that was awarded LEED Gold Certification thanks to reductions in emissions and water usage.

students sitting in grass by trees

Chester M. Alter Arboretum

One of our most stunning green spaces, the Chester M. Alter Arboretum illustrates the importance of sustainable development with its diverse array of trees and beautiful landscaping. It serves as a popular communal space during warm weather, and helps educate members of the community in how trees play a vital, irreplaceable role in a healthy environment.