Alumni Center Awarded LEED Gold, Increases University Green Building Achievements

The Columbia Alumni Center recently received the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the United States Green Building Council, the nation's foremost coalition of leaders in sustainable building design and construction and developers of the LEED building rating system. The building, a social center for almost 300,000 alumni and home to the University's Office of Alumni and Development and Columbia College Alumni Affairs and Development, was recognized for its "green" construction elements, including innovation in design, access to alternative transportation, and implementation of an indoor air quality management plan during construction and before occupancy. This is the second University building awarded LEED Gold.

"Whether it's the renovation of older buildings or new construction, Columbia is committed to sustainable design and green construction," Columbia University Facilities Executive Vice President Joe Ienuso said. "The Alumni Center's LEED Gold certification is another example of our sustainable efforts, and we are proud of this achievement."

The creation of an environmentally-friendly alumni center was a collaborative goal among University departments, including Facilities, the Office of Alumni and Development, and Environmental Stewardship. "This was something that each organization encouraged and everyone's suggestions were in line with our green construction goals," said Joe Mannino, associate vice president, Facilities Capital Project Management.

As part of the project, the building, which was built in 1908 and previously housed the University's School of Social Work, was historically preserved through a top-to-bottom rehabilitation of its façade. The building's interior utilizes lighting that adjusts to natural light, occupancy sensors that monitor motion and body temperature, and recycled heating through the use of preheated air. In addition, when maintaining the Center, Facilities Custodial Services embraces cleaning products and procedures that promote healthier buildings and simultaneously reduce environmental impacts.                      

The Columbia Alumni Center joins a growing list of LEED certified University buildings, which includes Faculty House (LEED Gold) and the Gary C. Comer Geochemistry Building at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LEED Silver). For more information about the construction of the Alumni Center, visit To learn about Alumni Center programs and events, go to