LEED Lab in action: Ball State University

Published on: 
16 Apr 2015
Janet Fick

Ball State currently has nine LEED certified buildings, with three more anticipating certification. All are (or hopefully, will be) certified under LEED-NC or LEED-CI, with the first certifications awarded in 2010. How have they been performing? Are we really seeing the reductions in energy consumption and water usage that we anticipated? It is time to find out. LEED® Lab™, a program developed by USGBC to certify buildings under LEED-EB: O+M, was offered for the first time in the Spring 2015 semester.

Getting Started

The course is being team taught by myself, Jim Jones (Associate Professor in Construction Management) and Kevin Kenyon (Associate Vice-President of Facilities Planning and Management, LEED-AP). It was set up as an “immersive” class, which means it is student-driven (with faculty mentors), interdisciplinary, with a client and a tangible outcome. The course was developed with David Shepherd, Energy Engineer in Facilities Planning and Management as our client. The faculty selected an interdisciplinary group of construction management, architecture and interior design students. Of the eight students this semester, five are LEED Green Associates and all have a strong working knowledge of LEED. 

In the beginning, we needed to determine which of our existing LEED certified buildings to study. The students worked in teams to complete feasibility studies for eight of the buildings on campus. Comparing two buildings at a time, they addressed the following questions: Would these buildings be able to certify under LEED-EB: O&M v2009?  Would these buildings be able to certify under LEED-EB:  O&M v4?  Are there any specific obstacles for certifying under either system?  Of these buildings, for which do you recommend that we pursue LEED-EB: O&M certification?  Under which version, v2009 or v4, do you recommend?” As they formed their conclusions they narrowed down the list of buildings eligible for  certification, eight buildings became four, four became two and finally we had a winner – The Glick Glass Center.

Understanding Glick

The Glick Glass Center opened in July of 2010 and was already LEED Certified under the LEED v 2009 New Construction rating system. It houses the glass program in Ball State’s art department. Glick was chosen because of its size (9,254 SF), its previous certification level and because it is under the jurisdiction of our faculty member, Kevin Kenyon’s, department. Glick provides open spaces for the creation of glass art, including a “hot shop” and a “neon shop” along with display and office spaces. We chose to pursue LEED EB: O&M under v2009 rather than v4 since the building was already certified under the v2009 version.


After selecting our building and the version, it was time to become more familiar with the building. We decided to focus this first semester on the prerequisites. We met with Ball State representatives to learn more about their areas of expertise, whether solid waste management, green cleaning or sustainable purchasing. The University Energy Engineer, David Shepherd, worked with us to evaluate the energy and water usage data for the building. With a week left to go in the semester we are near our goal of completing all of the prerequisites. 


Looking Ahead

In the fall semester we will start with a new group of students and will begin working on the credits. Since the course is student driven, I am interested to see the path they recommend and which credits they want to pursue to continue the progress. It has been a fun semester! 


LEED Lab is a multidisciplinary immersion course that utilizes the built environment to educate and prepare students to become green building leaders. In the course students assess the performance of existing facilities on campus and chose one building where they will facilitate the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED EB:O&M) process with the goal of certifying the facility. At the close of the semester the students are prepared to sit for the LEED EB:O&M professional credential exam. To learn more visit LEED Lab. Under “How” the Welcome Packet and LEED Lab Timing Chart are available for download. To express interest please complete this form

Learn more about LEED Lab