What Does It Take to Be LEED Certified?


architectural drafting and design degree

From left: Leon Grothe, instructor; Heather Scavo, program chair; Nick Janssen, student; Brian Laidlaw, student at the Eco Village site

Globe University-Woodbury’s architectural drafting and design degree students partner with The Purple Tree in Hudson, Wis., by taking on the challenge of building an Eco Village in River Falls, Wis. The effort is for a St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity project. The students gained hands-on experience learning what it takes to make a project Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified.

“Learning on paper and in the classroom is great, but gaining hands-on experience while giving back to the community is even better,” said Heather Scavo, program chair for the architectural drafting and design program at Globe University.

According to Scavo, the project features the “green” items students are learning about in class, such as a “cleaned” city dump site, rain water collection, local vegetation, photovoltaic cells for power, water heaters and heating/cooling, fox blocks  (insulated foundations, fly-ash/add in concrete, which make the concrete less expensive), and bamboo flooring, which is a rapid growth regenerated product.

“Helping the St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity was a great experience,” said Nick Janssen, Globe University-Woodbury architectural drafting and design student. “We learned all about what they are trying to accomplish at the River Falls Eco Village site for a LEED Platinum rating, including their use of solar panels, both photovoltaic and flat panels used to collect power for electricity and solar hot water.”

What is an Eco Village?

Eco Village homes are built beyond typical code standards and offer a super-insulated design that drastically reduces the demand on heating and cooling systems, thereby conserving vital energy resources. These homes will approach (if not exceed) net-zero energy consumption, thanks to roof-mounted photovoltaic panels and integrated solar hot water systems, LED lighting, energy efficient windows and mechanical systems, and a lot more.

“Not letting the heat or air conditioning escape is important in order to achieve a LEED Platinum rated home,” said Brian Laidlaw architectural drafting and design student. “We learned they are achieving it through the use of R-100 insulation in a 24 inch thick wall, which is about five times as much as a normal house would be.”

What is LEED?

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is redefining the way we think about the places where we live, work and learn. As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

“We wish the Eco Village well and are grateful for the opportunity to learn while being a part of this awesome contribution to the River Falls community,” said Scavo.