Featured Stories


Nelson Court receives University’s first dining hall LEED certification


In July, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded LEED Silver certification to Ohio University’s Nelson Court renovation project. Nelson is the first dining hall at OHIO to achieve LEED certification.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system that an increasing number of colleges and universities are incorporating into project planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation, according to the USGBC. LEED projects earn certification points across several areas that address sustainability issues.

The Ohio University Sustainability Plan requires that all building and renovation projects budgeted at or above $2 million receive LEED Silver minimum certification, according to Greg Robertson, associate vice president for architecture, design and construction.

“We are excited that Nelson Court has become our first LEED certified dining hall,” Robertson said. “Culinary Services has been intent on providing a first-rate dining experience to our students and the impressive recent renovations of their facilities have helped to bring that goal to fruition.”

The Nelson project received significant points for water use reduction, the optimization of the building’s energy performance and its indoor environmental quality. Through a focus on concerns such as outdoor air ventilation and utilizing construction materials such as paints, coatings and flooring systems with low VOC (volatile organic compound) content, the project created a space where diners can enjoy a healthy meal in an environment where personal health was considered a top priority.

“The dining hall experience has been rated as a top priority for students and the University wanted to provide a building and renovated space that meets, and exceeds, student expectations,” said Lynnette Bush Clouse, senior project manager in the Office of Architecture, Design and Construction and leader of the Nelson Court project. “Renovation projects also include a lot of work that isn’t immediately visible but that vastly improves the overall quality of the space. The work done to the Nelson building shell was significant, and the end result is a more healthy, energy efficient, and comfortable building for our students.”

OHIO’s Culinary Services is one of the largest self-operated higher education dining services in the nation and takes sustainability very seriously, according to Sam Crowl, sustainability project coordinator in the Office of Sustainability.  

“Culinary Services is on the forefront of many dining hall sustainability initiatives,” Crowl said. “They partner with Facilities Management to compost both pre- and post-consumer food waste and actively study methods to reduce post-consumer food waste. They continue to increase their local food purchasing, which currently is approximately 17 percent of their total food spend, utilize environmentally friendly soaps and detergents and they incorporate design elements such as renewable materials and energy efficient equipment into their renovation projects.”

Four Athens Campus projects managed by the Office of Architecture, Design and Construction have now achieved LEED certification and another seven projects are currently in progress including The District on West Green, formerly known as Boyd Dining Hall. 

This article was provided by Ohio University's Office of Sustainability.