Columbia University’s New Campus Gets LEED-Platinum 0

The first LEED for Neighborhood Development- Platinum in NYC has been awarded to Columbia University’s plan for its 17-acre Manhattanville campus in West Harlem.

It’s also the first Platinum certification for a university campus plan nationally.

The Manhattanville campus will be built on a former industrial site and will be an energy-efficient, pedestrian-oriented community that combines local retail, culture and green space. It’s designed to create connections between the University and local communities, and between West Harlem and the revitalized Hudson River waterfront.

The campus, with 6.8 million square feet of buildings, is going up north of the main Morningside Heights campus. So far, 33 buildings have been demolished and 90% of the materials are being salvaged and recycled.

And all that work is surprisingly quiet. One of the University’s main goals is to create as little daily disturbance to the community as possible. “What strikes me is how quiet, clean and calm the construction site is,” says Isabelle Silverman of Environment Defense Fund, which works with the project on preventing air pollution. “Columbia’s Manhattanville expansion can serve as a clean construction model for other cities and universities.”

Construction equipment have air pollution control devices and are designed to use either electricity or ultra-low sulfur diesel, which significantly reduces particulates entering the air. Trucks go through washing stations before they leave the area to limit dust in the air and angled noise barriers and blankets minimize noise.

Seven Columbia University buildings are LEED certified – five Gold and two Silver, both for new construction and renovation.

Other universities that recently received LEED-Platinum are  Stanford Graduate School of Business new 360,000 square foot Knight Management Center and University of Southern California – the first for student housing.

LEED for Neighborhood Development integrates principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building – the first national benchmark for neighborhood design. The rating system promotes smart location and design of neighborhoods that reduce vehicle miles traveled, and communities where jobs and services are accessible by foot or public transit.

“LEED for Neighborhood Development bridges the gap between buildings and how they are connected,” says Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the US Green Building Council.

Here’s the LEED for Neighborhood Development website:


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