Building Principles

Emissions at Williams come largely from heating, cooling, lighting and ventilating our campus buildings. The College has been investing actively in energy conservation and efficiency in campus buildings since 2007, and will continue to do so – about $1,000,000 every year. That money will be focused going forward on improving building envelopes – air sealing, insulating, weatherizing, and replacing windows. The College’s building principles are represented by its Green Building Policies.


  • Building programs should seek to reduce, or at least not increase, the College’s annual energy-related (heating, cooling, and electric) emissions through energy efficiency and, where feasible the adoption of renewable energy strategies. This might be achieved, for example, through incorporating passive solar energy approaches within the building project, providing energy for the building from an on-site or off-site renewable source, or taking other campus buildings or facilities out of service.
  • The planning and design of a building or renovation program will establish energy goals for the finished structure(s), use energy modeling to project performance, and, where appropriate, will identify additional sources of energy.
  • The energy use and emissions associated with construction should be monitored and minimized. This includes emissions associated with electricity, heating fuel, equipment fuel, and all other fuels consumed during construction and demolition. When practical, construction materials with low embodied energy and other environmental impacts will be selected based upon life-cycle analysis.
  • Projects should conform to high standards of sustainable practices. All projects should seek LEED certification (or a similar industry-accepted standard) at the level of Gold, or higher when feasible. The certification level sought should be established early in the planning process. Special circumstances may dictate that a lower level be established due to inapplicability of the LEED program to a specific building type.
  • The commissioning of new or renovated spaces should be conducted in ways that advance performance goals. New spaces should be evaluated regularly to ensure that performance does not deteriorate over time.
  • The College should seek to understand and, when practicable, develop standards, metrics and associated guidelines for additional sustainability strategies and related initiatives.
  • These guidelines and any associated standards and practices should be reviewed and revised, as necessary, at least every five years. These guidelines apply to building projects valued at $5 million (in 2011 dollars) or more and designed after the guidelines’ adoption.