LEED-- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

Education and Social Sciences Building

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system constructed by the United States GREEN Building Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation towards sustainable design.

Many universities across the nation have actively responded to environmental issues with powerful, adaptive sustainability initiatives, including the University of California campuses.

These initiatives are bolstered by its very own student body. Student-led organizations (such as LEED Lab and its own USGC student chapter) are working on campus to implement their own responses to these challenges, ensuring that a legacy sustains. 

The United States Green Building Council constructed the LEED rating system for new and existing buildings. In 2004, UCSB declared that the minimum rating for new buildings should be LEED Silver, in 2012, that was raised to LEED Gold. This commitment to sustainable building design, as well as renovations and upgrades is present across campus-- from residence halls and dining commons, to research and classroom facilities, to faculty and staff housing. 

Additionally, the use of alternative modes of transportation is paramount to maintaining a sustainable campus community. Campus planning involves the proximity of bus stops, as well as pedestrian and bike paths. Currently 92% of students and 37% of faculty and staff use alternative transportation methods, such as public transit, carpools and private vanpools, bicycles, skateboards, and walking.

Bren School of Environmental Studies

Bren School

In 2002, UCSB’s Bren Hall became the first LEED-certified building in the UC system and the first U.S laboratory building to receive USGBC’s highest certification, the LEED platinum. The building received its second certification seven years later for Operation and Maintenance of pre-existing structure. And in 2017, the Bren Hall received an additional Platinum certification for the ongoing Operation and Maintenance of the building. These three certifications were a validation of the commitment that UCSB was putting into maintaining the building to high standards. This project, in turn, set a precedent for sustainability among UC campuses and elsewhere.

UCSB’s LEED-certified include a myriad of structures (new, pre-existing, and in progress) that dominate much of the campus. Projects pursing LEED certification earn points across several categories, including energy use and air quality. Based on the number of points achieved, a project can earn one of the four LEED rating levels:

Certified (40-49 pts.) 
Silver (50-59pts.) 
Gold (60-79 pts.) 
Platinum (80+ pts.)


- Bren School, 2002 Platinum
- Ocean Science Education Building, 2014 Gold
- Engineering II Addition, 2010 Gold
- Library Additions/Renovations, 2016 Gold
- San Clemente Villages, 2009 Gold
- Faculty Club, 2017 Silver
- Education and Social Sciences, 2009 Silver
- Student Resource Building, 2008 Silver
- Marine Science Research Building, 2006 Certified


- Bren School, 2009 Platinum
- Student Resource Building, 2016 Gold
- San Clemente Villages, 2012 Gold
- Marine Sciences Research Building, 2011 Gold
- Ellison Hall, 2012 Gold
- Kohn Hall, 2011 Silver
- Harder Stadium, 2010 Silver
- Life Sciences Building, 2012 Silver
- Recreation Center, 2008 Silver
- Girvetz Hall, 2005 Silver
- Material Research Laboratory, 2011 Certified

San Joaquin Villages

San Joaquin Villages

Many of the buildings that have pursued LEED certification are part of the Housing, Dining, & Auxillary Enterprises department. The three oldest residence halls, Santa Rosa, Anacapa, and Santa Cruz have all been certified LEED Gold after renovations which switched out original windows, boilers, air conditioners, bathroom fixtures, and lighting to new energy-efficent versions. In 2009 San Clemente Graduate Student Villages became the largest LEED certified university housing project in the country when it achieved Gold certifiction. In 2012, San Clemente was recertified Gold under the Existing Buildings category. 

In 2016, the Sierra Madre Villages apartment complex was awarded an LEED Platinum certification in the category of "LEED for Homes."  The Sierra Madre Staff/Faculty Apartments were also designated Platinum in the Homes category, and the Sierra Madre Community Building-- housing administrative offices, study rooms, and a workout room achieved LEED Gold status. The Ocean Walk Faculty Housing at North Campus also received "LEED for Homes" Gold certification in 2011 and 2014, the first faculty housing project in the UC system to receive the certification. Additionally, the San Joaquin Apartments and the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics Munger Residence also received LEED Platinum certification in 2017. 

The campus community of students, staff, and faculty continue to work towards more LEED Certifications. Many of the components of certified LEED buildings are campus-wide initatives such as 100% recycled irrigation water, waste recycling, purchasing recycled products such as papergoods, and sourcing building materials for new construction from locations close to UCSB. 


- IV Theater
- Engineering Sciences
- Counseling and Career Services
- Elings Hall
- Mosher Alumni House
- Music Building
- Intercollegiate Athletics Building
- Humanities and Social Sciences
- Psychology
- Student Health
- Multicultural Center
- West Campus Child Care
- Embarcadero Hall
- Bioengineering
- Manzanita Residence Halls
- Ortega Dining Commons
- Portola Dining Commons

LEED-- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design