Green Building

Green building strategies have the potential to improve buildings by increasing energy efficiency, decreasing operating costs, improving indoor air and environmental quality, and reducing water use. The U.S. Green Building Council developed a building rating system known as LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, as a tool to rate green buildings and to help green building strategies become industry standards. The four levels of LEED certification are Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.


Kent State University has made a commitment that all new construction and major renovation will attempt a minimum of LEED Silver Certification. To date, the following projects have achieved LEED Certification:

Campus Location LEED Certification
Kent The John Elliot Center for Architecture and Environmental Design  Platinum Certified
Kent Center for Undergraduate Excellence Gold Certified
Kent College of Aeronautics and Engineering  Gold Certified
Kent Harbourt Hall Gold Certified
Kent Heer Hall Gold Certified
Stark Science and Nursing Building Gold Certified
Kent Center for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement Silver Certified
Kent Center for the Visual Arts Silver Certified
Kent Design Innovation Hub Silver Certified
Kent Integrated Sciences Building Silver Certified
Kent Koonce Hall Silver Certified
Twinsburg Twinsburg Academic Center Silver Certified
Kent Leebrick Hall Certified
Tuscarawas Tolloty Technology Incubator Certified
Kent Wright Hall Certified

Smaller Projects

For projects that are too small in scope to qualify for LEED certification, the Office of the University Architect has adopted into their Design and Engineering Guidelines some green building strategies to be adopted for all projects, regardless of size. 

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Construction Waste Management 

75% of all construction waste must be diverted away from the landfill by reuse or recycling. The diversion of this waste must be documented.

Water Bottle Filling Stations 

These stations are the new standard on campus. They make it easier to drink healthy water while reducing waste from disposable water bottles.

Material Selection 

There are many ways that building materials can be more sustainable. Project managers seek options outlined by LEED such as those that are locally produced, recycled, low-emitting or rapidly renewable.

Cleaning Products

Kent State University is using Green Seal certified cleaning products. Green Seal Certification ensures that a product meets rigorous, science-based leadership standards. These effective and affordable cleaners are better for human health and the environment.

Green Roofs

Taylor Hall Kent State University’s first green roof was installed at Taylor Hall in 2013. The green roof encompasses roughly 6,200 square feet of the roof plaza area on the lower roof of Taylor Hall. The garden roof has a walkway that partially overlooks the May 4, 1970, Site and Memorial. Green roofs have many benefits including: helping maintain cooler temperatures, reduce cooling costs for buildings, protect roof membranes, so roofs may last longer, slow the speed of storm water to release stress on drainage systems, and they’re visually appealing. The Taylor Hall green roof requires very little maintenance and there is no chemical weed control. The plants, which come in 12 varieties of sedum, are watered by an irrigation system and do not require mowing.  

The John Elliot Center for Architecture and Environmental Design  The CAED was built in 2016 and is 107,000 sq ft in total with 27,000 sq ft roof. The building roof footprint is 27,000 sq ft and the vegetative roof area is 9000 sq.ft (~840 m2), occurring on a continuous 2/12 slope. The West roof is 100 ft and the East 90 ft in length. The final product at installation was 8” of LiteTop® substrate which was added in early 2016 with a dual irrigation from a drip system and sprinkler heads. In the growing season of 2016 the mixed sedum mat was planted. The original plant community was installed by Hydrotech and Sempergreen with a Standard Sempergreen® Sedum-mix (Phedimus) blanket, which was a fully biodegradable vegetation blanket made of coir mat with a twelve to sixteen sedum species. Weed and volunteer species maintenance has entailed pulling plants by hand and herbicides once a year. A crew of up to ten individuals pull weeds for a day, filling twenty to thirty garbage bags with plant material. The stormwater collected from the roof is directed into the rainwater storage tank which has an effective capacity of 15,708 gallons with dimensions of 22’x17’x15’H. This water is then filtered and treated by the cleaning system RWF-100 from Rainwater Management Solutions (RMS) and the grey water is then pumped back into the building to be used for toilets and irrigation. The facilities management team to add blue dye to the system to signify when treated water was being used in the toilets on the building.

The Bike Box Living Roof Lab in Cleveland, Ohio A Kent State led team of team of graduate architecture students let by CAED Associate Professor Dr. Reid Coffman’s green roof project wins international recognition. The Bike Box Living Roof Lab in Cleveland received an Award of Excellence from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities for built projects. Funded in 2013 by the Northeast Ohio Sewer District to profile urban green infrastructure, the 149-square-foot green roof caps a repurposed shipping container transformed into a bike shelter for one of Cleveland’s most popular urban neighborhood corner bars, The Happy Dog. The roof was designed and installed by a team of graduate architecture students to examine how native plants could create local biodiversity and stormwater benefits. It hosts two rare and endangered plant species that are being studied by Master of Landscape Architecture, MSAED and doctoral students studying Biology.



    Students enrolled in an architecture seminar, spring 2017, participated in a workshop investigating, and building a small-scale sustainable project. Taught by Associate Professor Greg Stroh with lab assistance from Chip Clark, of the FabLab at the CAED, the build workshop’s initial research project constructed a solar powered USB charging station for use as a bus wait structure on campus. The students researched materials/fabrication, detailing, assembly and sustainability issues through a set of modules, ranging from the technical to the aesthetic, with the final assembly taking place at the end of the spring semester.  Both traditional and advanced technologies were deployed within the making of the project - from CNC milling of the bench to the hand varnishing of the marine plywood. A solar panel on the roof powers six USB ports, integrated into the bench for powering up devices while patrons wait for the next bus. This solar powered USB charging pavilion is located outside May Prentice House near the PARTA bus stop.




        In 2020, Architecture Professor Greg Stroh’s most recent Build Workshop with undergraduate students Amanda Harrer, Branden Hudak and Thomas Lowry, and graduate students Francesco Aloe, Christopher Brown, John DiAntonio and Alysa Lovich created “The Bend”. In support of Kent State’s sustainability initiative, “The Bend” utilizes a minimal footprint, solar energy for usb charging, and locally sourced materials. A prototype was constructed using the college’s Fabrication Lab for its site on Kent’s State campus [directly off of Campus Center Drive] that offered freedom to test the prototype within the relatively loose confines of public space. Referring directly to the relationship between user, device, and environment, the charging pavilion offers an unexpected collection of functionality. Offering a covered seating area promoting social interaction with usb charging capability and a singular seat framing a view to the woods beyond, the high back seat also deploys a camera stand used for documentation of the campus study pond. The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) awards a College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s (CAED) project Honorable Mention for the 2020 ‘Best of Design Awards’ in the Student Work – Group category.