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NDSU approved to offer innovative LEED Lab program

photo of Yao Yu

Yao Yu

NDSU has been approved to join the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Lab program, giving students an innovative hands-on learning opportunity.

Yao Yu, assistant professor of construction management and engineering, led the effort to bring a LEED Lab to NDSU. He says the LEED Lab program teaches important career-ready skills that will help graduates standout to employers.

“LEED Lab prepares students to become green building leaders and sustainability-focused citizens,” Yu said. “They will have the opportunity to work on a real LEED-registered project.”

NDSU’s LEED Lab involves applying for a LEED Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED EB: O+M) certification for the A. Glenn Hill Center. Students will learn about building sustainability, then work together in an authentic experiential learning opportunity to collect data, implement measures to make the building more sustainable and submit the project for review.

“LEED Lab will equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to be effective communicators, project managers, critical thinkers, problem solvers, engaged leaders and team players in the field of sustainability,” Yu said.

If successfully certified, the A. Glenn Hill Center would be the first LEED EB: O+M building at NDSU and the first LEED building in North Dakota where all the certification work was done by students.

“We’re focused on providing our students a world-class experience that sets them up for success,” said Michael Kessler, dean of the College of Engineering. “A program like LEED Lab is a win-win because it equips our students with knowledge and hands-on experience that meets the demands of industry.”

The LEED Lab program was officially launched in January 2014 to nurture and train a workforce to address future sustainability needs and improve quality of life in communities. Membership gives NDSU direct access to a LEED Lab coach and technical support from the USGBC. 

“LEED Lab is a key educational tool connecting students’ passion for sustainability with their academic pursuits,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, council president and CEO. “Your LEED Lab will help equip the next generation of sustainability advocates with the practical experience needed to differentiate them in today’s job market, while further showcasing NDSU’s commitment to smart sustainable growth.”

NDSU is one of just 36 institutions around the world to offer the LEED Lab program. Students who complete the course are prepared to sit for the LEED AP O+M professional credential exam, a highly marketable credential that signifies their green building experience and knowledge. They are also eligible to receive a LEED Lab digital badge recognizing their demonstrated proficiency in sustainable operations and maintenance practices.

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