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Green Prairie Community Awarded Prestigious LEED Green Building Certification

Posted by Jenna Ray on Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014

The University of Minnesota, Morris’s Green Prairie Community is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified. Established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings.

“We are proud to provide a residence hall where our students can bring their vision for a more sustainable community to life everyday,” said Sandra K. Olson-Loy, vice chancellor for student affairs. “This certification affirms our progress in extending Morris’s model of sustainability to all of our core areas of student life.”

Opened in fall 2013, the Green Prairie Community is an innovative living and learning environment that complements Morris’ focus on environmental sustainability. It achieved LEED certification for conserving energy and water, providing natural day lighting, and using recycled, renewable, and locally sourced materials as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. By using less energy and water, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers, and the larger community.

“With each new LEED-certified building, we get one step closer to USGBC’s vision of a sustainably built environment within a generation,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair, USGBC. “As the newest member of the LEED family of green buildings, the Green Prairie Community is an important addition to the growing strength of the green building movement.”

LEED certification of the Green Prairie Community was based on several green design and construction features that positively impact both the campus and the broader community. The facility is sited to maximize green design potential and connection to the prairie ecosystem, constructed with high thermal mass insulated concrete forms (ICF) to prevent winter heat loss and summer heat gain, and designed with daylight views in all residential and public spaces. Additional green features include:

-Onsite orchard, edible landscapes, and rain gardens
-Interior finishes supporting healthy air quality
-Low-flow plumbing fixtures to conserve water
-Enhanced building systems commissioning to ensure measure energy use and ensure optimal systems function
-Residential programs including green education events, community meals with local foods, and more.

The Green Prairie Community is Morris’s second LEED-certified building. The first is its Welcome Center, which was certified in 2012.

For more information about LEED certification, visit