Rob Fleming, director of PhilaU’s M.S. in Sustainable Design program, told some 70 educational facilities professionals at a Jan. 9 meeting in The Kanbar Campus Center that there is good news in the world of sustainability in educational facilities.
“I believe that we are coming toward a conclusive and comprehensive framework for sustainability,” Fleming said to an attentive crowd at the Association for Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) workshop hosted by PhilaU.
The meeting was attended by facilities directors, business officers, managers, supervisors and technical personnel from area colleges and universities, K-12 schools, museums and libraries.
The workshop began with a panel discussion by leading industry professionals on best practices in facilities management.
Panelists included Fleming, Tom Becker, PhilaU associate vice president for operations, Glenn Smith, Bryn Mawr College facilities director, and Erin Istanbulluoglu, Tandus Centiva director of environmental and social stewardship.
In a keynote address, Fleming spoke about the importance of LEED ratings in driving the green-building industry and stressed the need to go beyond integrated green practices into campus operations and to pursue what he dubs “authentic sustainainability” – where a much higher bar of positive environmental impact is achieved.
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a widely used sustainability rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Fleming said that while many educational institutions say sustainability is at their core, it is only true for some. Using measures such as the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s STARS ratings systems “puts weight behind it,” he said. “It makes it legitimate.”
As part of PhilaU’s strategic plan, the University is committed to constructing all new buildings at the LEED silver level or better. The SEED Center, a gray-to-green renovated space, was awarded LEED Gold certification in 2012. The DEC Center, completed in 2012, was built to LEED Gold standards and is currently in the certification process.
Philadelphia University is the recipient of the APPA – Leadership in Educational Facilities 2013 Sustainability Award, given annually to the educational institution that best integrates sustainable practices into its physical plant operations.
In 2009, PhilaU became the first four-year college or university in Pennsylvania to win the APPA Award for Excellence in Facilities Management, the highest honor awarded by the APPA.