Buildings & Grounds

Iowa State could not function without the multitude of physical spaces provided to its students, faculty, staff and visitors. With a diverse array of settings, including classrooms, conference rooms, laboratories, offices and outdoor seating areas, it is of the utmost importance to university administration that these environments remain beautiful, functional, safe, sanitary and sustainable. 

This commitment is driven by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an internationally recognized certification system that grants buildings with sustainability achievement levels of Silver, Gold and Platinum through a third-party verification process. Iowa State's LEED journey began in 2008 when Morrill Hall received Silver to become the university's first LEED-certified building, as well as only the second LEED-certified building in all of Iowa. In 2009, due to the incredible success of the Morrill Hall project, Iowa State established a goal that all future construction and major renovation projects would achieve LEED Gold. With 13 LEED-certified buildings and counting, our university now has the second-most LEED-certified buildings of any institution or business in the entire state.

However, LEED impacts more than the design, construction and renovation of buildings, spurring many campus partners to maintain sustainability initiatives of their own. For example, the university partnered with the City of Ames to establish a LEED-certified Intermodal Facility that serves as a central transportation hub connecting campus with the greater community. Custodial Services also uses green chemicals to clean all campus buildings, while Campus Services has decreased its herbicide use by two-thirds in part to meet LEED standards related to outdoor entryways. Embracing LEED has created positive changes within numerous departments and programs, solidifying Iowa State's role as a pioneer and leader in its approach to physical spaces. Read on to learn more about the sustainable practices our university uses to maintain its buildings and grounds!


    "The decisions we make when planning and constructing our buildings impact the learning and understanding of the students that occupy them. By instilling sustainable design principles in the everyday experience, we provide an experience that our faculty, staff and students take with them, and I hope that they try to apply in their daily lives. I’m proud to be a part of our sustainable heritage at Iowa State."

    -Kerry Dixon, Coordinator of Sustainable Design and Construction