Buildings & Infrastructure

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation reported that US buildings consume 65% of the country's electricity, 12% of its drinkable water, and 40% of all raw materials.  Here at Johns Hopkins, though, buildings account for over 90% of our energy and greenhouse gas emissions, and over 80% of our water consumption.  In addition, buildings are where we live, learn, study, work, and eat, so they must be designed with exceptional attention to detail and must address health and productivity issues as well as environmental ones. Learn more about Eco-Smart Labs initiatives below. 

To help guide our Architectural and Engineering staff, as well as outside contractors and vendors, the Office of Sustainability produced a High Performance Building Guidelines resource in 2014, as outlined as part of the Climate Change Implementation Plan. Given that the latest codes of design and construction are pushed to a higher level of energy performance, the JHU guidelines are now similar to code and requirements. Regardless, these guidelines and original ideas are still utilized in construction projects. Another measure for green buildings is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard.  Administered by the US Green Building Council, the LEED rating system is an international green building program that rates buildings on their environmental performance, and JHU requires a minimum of LEED Silver equivalent for new construction. 

LEED projects (completed or in progress) at JHU include:
  • Homewood, Gilman Hall - LEED Silver
  • Homewood, Brody Learning Commons - LEED Gold
  • Homewood, Cordish Lacrosse Center - LEED Gold
  • Homewood, Undergraduate Teaching Labs - LEED Platinum
  • Homewood, Malone Hall - LEED Gold
  • APL Building 200 - LEED Gold
  • Bloomberg School of Public Health North Wing Renovation - LEED Gold
  • Bloomberg School of Public Health W5010 and W5030 Classroom Renovations - LEED Silver
  • Bloomberg School of Public Health, Lab Corridors W2600, W3700, W3600, and W3300 - LEED Silver
  • Bloomberg School of Public Health, MICUA Labs W5700, W6700, W7600, W7700 - LEED Silver
  • Bloomberg School of Public Health, Rangos Suite 600 - LEED Silver
  • Bloomberg School of Public Health, Hampton House, 9th Floor - LEED Gold
  • School of Medicine, Miller Research Building - LEED Certified
  • School of Medicine, Cancer Research Building I - LEED Silver
  • School of Medicine, Cancer Research Building II - LEED Silver
  • School of Medicine, Facilities Management Office - LEED Silver
  • School of Medicine, Ross Research Building - LEED Certified
  • Bayview 301 Building - LEED Gold

Johns Hopkins University incorporates green building features in its new construction and renovation efforts, with special attention to measures that improve energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, and work environment (such as increasing natural daylighting and reducing VOCs). From an energy perspective, the University typically designs for high efficiency in new construction and renovations. An energy efficiency engineer evaluates energy systems and performs ongoing commissioning. The University also incorporates energy efficiency into capital and deferred maintenance planning to provide a long range outlook into possible upcoming projects. Another initiative the University has instituted is an MRO program in which purchases and contracts are grouped into a University plan which allows for cohesion throughout the University with certain vendors and what they provide.  


Eco-Smart Labs

As a premier research institution, Johns Hopkins has a significant amount of laboratory space critical to the school’s mission, but this space also consumes a disproportionate amount of resources. Laboratories and similar research areas are dense with equipment, and have greater needs for fresh air circulation. The result is four times the energy use, per square foot, than typical space throughout the rest of the university. Laboratories typically account for 70% of an institution's carbon footprint. Laboratories are also the epicenter of innovation; good thing, because it takes some innovation, knowledge, and commitment to reduce the impact of research on our environment.

The Office of Sustainability brings high performance innovation to the core of these research buildings. Our newest laboratory space, The Undergraduate Research Laboratories, is a 105,000 square, four-story building equipped with the latest lab technology to accommodate a variety of teaching methods and synergies between cross-disciplinary partnerships. Behind the scenes, it is an exemplar of resource conservation, using technologies such as heat recovery wheels to recycle the energy in the air exhausted from the space, chilled beams and radiant heating to heat and cool the space as efficiently as possible and in a modular fashion, as well as vacuum pumps in place of water created vacuums to reduce water use. These and other innovations helped the building reach LEED Platinum.

Being Eco-Smart in laboratory space, isn’t just about smarter buildings, but about teaming with researchers who are committed to helping reduce the environmental impact of their operations by adopting and disseminating sustainable practices. To sign up for Eco-Smart Lab tips, receive training, or become more involved, reach out to

Ideas in Action

Think before you print.

Office paper is highly recyclable, but a lot gets wasted. Waste reduction is more cost-effective than recycling because it reduces the amount of material that needs to be collected, transported and processed.