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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.51
Liaison Jennifer Andrews
Submission Date July 27, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of New Hampshire
OP-4: Building Design and Construction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.83 / 3.00 Doug Bencks
Campus Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total floor area of newly constructed or renovated building space (include projects completed within the previous five years) :
262,050 Square Feet

Floor area of newly constructed or renovated building space certified Living under the Living Building Challenge:
0 Square Feet

Floor area of newly constructed or renovated building space certified at each level under a rating system for design and construction used by an Established Green Building Council (GBC) :
Certified Floor Area
LEED BD+C Platinum or at the highest achievable level under another rating system 0 Square Feet
LEED BD+C Gold or at the 2nd highest level under another 4- or 5-tier GBC rating system 120,500 Square Feet
Certified at mid-level under a 3- or 5-tier GBC rating system for design and construction (e.g. BREEAM, CASBEE, DGNB, Green Star) 0 Square Feet
LEED BD+C Silver or at a step above minimum level under another 4- or 5-tier GBC rating system 0 Square Feet
LEED BD+C Certified or certified at minimum level under another GBC rating system 0 Square Feet

Floor area of newly constructed or renovated building space certified under a non-GBC rating system for design and construction (e.g. Green Globes NC, Certified Passive House):
0 Square Feet

Percentage of newly constructed or renovated building space certified under a green building rating system for design and construction:

A brief description of the green building rating system(s) used and/or a list of certified buildings and ratings:

Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics: LEED Gold
(For more, see http://www.pcconstruction.com/blog/unh-project-vying-for-u-s-building-of-the-year-honor/)

UNH has another LEED Gold building, James Hall, which is not included in the totals above because it was certified prior to the past three years. For more, see https://colsa.unh.edu/nren/leed-gold-certification.
Likewise not included above are eight Energy Star certified buildings.

Floor area of newly constructed or renovated building space that is NOT certified, but that was designed and constructed in accordance with published green building guidelines and policies:
141,550 Square Feet

A copy of the green building guidelines or policies :
The green building guidelines or policies:

For a link to the complete guidelines, see https://www.unh.edu/facilities/unh-planning-design-and-construction-guidelines

From Chapter 1: General Principles -
"The overall goals to achieve this vision are:
Buildings must be made of enduring materials, systems and components that require minimal maintenance. Components should be readily available and use common methods for replacement.
Designs must be responsive to the needs and functional requirements of the University as a whole, as well as specific users.
Designs must strive for construction that provides the greatest long-term value for the money spent, not necessarily the least expensive solution. Selection of materials, quality of workmanship, and attention to detail will reflect that.
Designs must provide a safe, healthful, accessible environment, complying with or exceeding all applicable codes and regulations.
Designs must strive to use energy-efficient systems and components, building upon the successes the University has achieved in energy efficiency.
Designs must make efficient and appropriate use of the limited campus land available for development.
Designs will carefully consider the impact to the environment, not only within the campus, but where materials are acquired from and disposed to, and the energy used in the process.
Designs must be adaptable over time to changes in the function and operation of the building. Our buildings will serve many generations, not just current personalities.
All of this must be accomplished while pursuing designs that are distinguished and timeless. The physical image of the University is critical to the recruitment of students and faculty members; therefore, designs must be responsive to the sense of history and place.
All elements of the campus should help form a memorable environment with lively places for chance encounters and spaces that have feelings of collegiality. These aspirations apply to the interior and exterior of buildings, and to the campus grounds."

From Chapter 3: University Planning Standards
Sustainable design is the only option for entities like the University of New Hampshire, where there is a campus that builds and renovates facilities that won’t be sold off, that will need to be operated and maintained efficiently for a very long time, within a larger setting that needs to be safe, healthful, sensitive to the environment, and attractive. Enduring, Efficient, Effective, Adaptable, Engaging and Meaningful are the sustainable design principles that must guide every project. For the University of New Hampshire, this is overlaid by our culture of New England frugality, using every resource to its greatest extent, looking for the best long-term value, and being cautious with building experiments that may not hold up over the long life of a building.

While we do not require projects to seek LEED certification, every University project is expected to reflect these guidelines that will result in a completed project that is equivalent to the LEED silver standard. The effort to accomplish this will start early in project planning and continue through the completion of construction documents. During construction, it is expected that the general contractor/construction manager/design builder will provide some form of verification to the University to show compliance with the intent of the construction documents for things like construction waste recycling, regional origination of materials, certification of wood, etc.
Building commissioning, comparable to LEED Fundamental Commissioning, is required of ALL projects, regardless of their size.

There are several reasons the University has chosen a LEED equivalent process rather than a formal LEED certification process for all major projects. LEED is a useful tool for us, however, by its very nature it wants to be applied across a very wide spectrum of building types (commercial, developer, public, and institutional). By doing this, it doesn’t always align with the University’s sustainable design values. For example our highest priority is durability, and LEED currently doesn’t have any means to evaluate this for us. So, while achieving a LEED certified gold or platinum project is noteworthy, it doesn’t indicate how well we have achieved our fundamental sustainable design goal of durability. Also, the LEED scoring system assigns points to some project attributes that don’t make a substantive difference as viewed through our sustainability values and Northern New England climate considerations, and some have a cost that is hard for us to otherwise justify. Compliance with these guidelines does not preclude the University from deciding to seek formal LEED certification on selected projects.

Equivalency means that project planning, design and construction must be conducted in a manner that takes into account impacts to the surrounding environment and the site; accessibility and transportation impact; material choices and resource use; energy and water benchmarking and efficiency; and occupant health, productivity and well-being. UNH requires all new space be planned and designed in a manner that is equivalent, at a minimum, with LEED Silver standards. In particular, new buildings and systems must be designed and constructed in a manner that minimizes site impact with a preference to repurpose previously developed sites, follows the University’s precepts of Transportation Demand Management, utilizes environmentally preferable materials, facilitates integration into UNH’s existing energy- and water-benchmarking systems (see http://energy.sr.unh.edu/graph/), minimizes water and energy use, and protects indoor air quality."

Do the green building guidelines or policies cover the following?:
Yes or No
Impacts on the surrounding site (e.g. guidelines to reuse previously developed land, protect environmentally sensitive areas, and otherwise minimize site impacts) Yes
Energy consumption (e.g. policies requiring a minimum level of energy efficiency for buildings and their systems) Yes
Building-level energy metering Yes
Use of environmentally preferable materials (e.g. guidelines to minimize the life cycle impacts associated with building materials) Yes
Indoor environmental quality (i.e. guidelines to protect the health and comfort of building occupants) Yes
Water consumption (e.g. requiring minimum standards of efficiency for indoor and outdoor water use) Yes
Building-level water metering Yes

A brief description of the green building guidelines or policies and/or a list or sample of buildings covered:

The University of New Hampshire Planning, Design and Construction Guidelines are intended to provide general instructions to designers in the planning and preparation of construction documents, as well as general guidance to construction professionals working on projects for the University. Sustainability (operationalized through "LEED-equivalency) is one of the fundamental principles codified in the Guidelines. The purpose is to ensure a minimum standard of quality, durability, consistency, maintainability, and sustainability in building and infrastructure design and construction. The information collected here clarifies what is unique or different about construction at the University as compared to other projects that designers and contractors typically work on.

The Guidelines are a baseline that allow for the introduction of new methods, systems, and materials for consideration by the University due to specific constraints, opportunities, or conditions of a specific project. It is expected that any alternatives will be proposed before the completion of Design Development. The documents are not to be used as specifications for projects, but are to be incorporated, as appropriate, into the specifications for each University project. Nothing in The Guidelines shall preclude or take precedence over compliance with applicable codes, regulations, requirements, mandates, or laws of the State of New Hampshire or the federal government. This is intended to be a living document that evolves through continual review and updates as needed. The Guidelines are available by Web access and it is expected that designers will utilize the latest version available at the time a project proceeds with Schematic Design.


The UNH Planning, Design and Construction Guidelines is organized in chapters that follow the sequence of the project process. Chapter 1, General Principles, addresses several planning guides or master plans that describe the University’s design goals and intentions. Chapter 2, Project Process, provides requirements for developing a typical project and the products that are expected along the way. Chapter 3, University Planning Standards, delineates the University’s expectations and considerations for some of the major design elements and functions of most projects. Chapter 4, Supplemental Project Requirements (under development), contains information on specific protocols and processes unique to the University environment. Chapter 5, Technical Construction and Renovation Standards, is a constant resource to designers from Design Development through the completion of Construction Documents and Specifications. It is organized in the CSI format.

A brief description of how the institution ensures compliance with green building design and construction guidelines and policies:

Each project regardless of size is managed by a Facilities Project Manager who is responsible for ensuring that the design team and the builder incorporate all of the University’s Planning Design and Construction Guidelines. For each project, they identify the best strategies for accomplishing this and there is a detailed review at the end of the schematic design and design development phases. In addition, the project manager oversees the construction contract, reviews all of the product submittals, as well as the construction work itself. On projects with major mechanical system work, there is also a commissioning process to ensure that the controls and various computer systems interoperate appropriately to provide the system's performance that is expected.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Eight buildings on the UNH campus have been awarded the Energy Star label by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In total, the eight Energy Star buildings are preventing pollution equivalent to annual emissions from 230 vehicles - more than 135,000 gallons of gasoline - while saving UNH more than $180,000 per year in energy bills.

More here: http://www.unh.edu/facilities/energy-utilities

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.