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Future buildings and remodels will aim for LEED Gold standard

MIT’s Office of Sustainability gave a set of recommendations Monday that will help MIT set its long term plan for sustainability on campus; one long-term goal of the plan is to bring new and newly renovated buildings on campus up to the LEED Gold standard.

The MIT news office said the plan focuses initially on buildings, stormwater, land management, materials, and making labs greener, and will be implemented over the course of 10 months under the guidance of the Office of Sustainability.

The plan purports to be “[a]n integrative vision for our buildings, stormwater, landscape and labs.”

The recommendations were released in concert with the recent announcement of the “MIT Plan for Action on Climate Change,” which the Institute issued after a year-long series of discussions.

The plan proposes actions that will reduce the use of energy and water on campus and are expected to be executed in June 2016. The process of executing the long-term plan will be managed by the Campus Sustainability Task Force, which was launched last March.

MIT aims to meet or exceed the most recent version of the national LEED Gold (version 4) certification standard for new campus construction and major renovation. Building E62 (MIT Sloan School of Management) and Building 76 (Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research) have already met this criteria.

The recommendations are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at MIT by a minimum of 32 percent by 2030, an amount that was criticized as being too little by the Fossil Free MIT student group.

The plan will encourage decision-makers keep the entire lifecycle of products and materials in mind when making purchases.

Labs will focus on better conserving water and other resources and reducing the amount of waste generated. The plans are not expected to reduce the labs’ productivity.

An “Idea Bank” will be launched by the Campus Sustainability Task Force in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability and encourage input from the MIT community. The bank is expected to help to carve out MIT’s vision of allowing the campus to grow in a sustainable way. Similar idea banks were set up for climate change and for the future of education at MIT.

—Anshuman Pandey