The Williams College campus integrates historically important and newly-constructed buildings in order to meet the evolving needs of our vibrant campus community. Since buildings are among the most enduring and resource-intensive infrastructure on campus, they play an outsized role in meeting the college’s sustainability goals.
Together with Planning, Design and Construction, Facilities Operations and Maintenance, the Provost’s Office and the Office of the VP for Finance and Operations, the Zilkha Center works to embed sustainable building design, operations and maintenance principles into building renovations and new construction. The college also continues to pursue green building certifications such as ILFI Living Building Challenge, and Net Zero Energy certifications, Passive House, and LEED, where suitable and in conjunction with these guidelines.
The Williams College Sustainable Building Policy stipulates that all building projects of $5.3 million dollars or above must pursue LEED Gold certification (or a similarly high-performance building standard) or higher. The section below lists the certified buildings and explains the sustainable design choices behind them in detail.
While LEED has been a pioneer in the high-performance building standard for some time, in recent years other organizations have brought new and innovative building certifications into the mainstream. The College has experimented with a couple of these certifications that require more sustainable building and operational practices including Living Building Challenge, Zero Energy Certification, and Passive House.
As of 2019, new buildings constructed on campus have been integrating tenets from US Green Building Council (LEED), the International Living Future Institute (Living Building Challenge, Petal, Core, and Zero Energy Certifications), and Passive House International US.
An explanation of the building certifications used at the college can be found here.
The following is a list of capital project undertaken by the college since 2008 and the associated sustainable building certifications.
Building Year Certification Standard Actual/Modeled
Other Info Hollander Hall 2008 LEED Gold Schapiro Hall 2008 LEED Gold Sawyer Library 2014 LEED Gold Weston Athletic Complex 2014 LEED Gold Class of 1966 Environmental Center 2015
LBC Petal certified 2017
Seeking LBC Full Living Certification
'66 Environmental Center website Weston Hall 2016 LEED Gold 44 Horn Hall 2016 LEED Platinum 29/25 Horn Hall "Waking Tour" brochure Williams Bookstore 2017 LEED Platinum 40 Bookstore"Sustainability Tour" brochure Garfield House 2019 LEED Gold + Passive House 28 "Sustainability Tour" brochure
"Garfield House One of Two Passive Houses in State" (2019)
Williams Inn 2019 LEED Gold 60 Williams Inn "Sustainability Tour" brochure CDE Fellows Hall 2019 ILFI Zero Energy ** Fellows Halls "Sustainability Tour" brochure Saint Anthony Hall (CDE) 2019 Awaiting certification (LEED Gold anticipated) 30 Saint Anthony Hall "Sustainability Tour" brochure Hopper Science Center 2018 LEED Platinum 125 (combined EUI Wachenheim & Hopper) Hopper Science Centerr "Sustainability Tour" brochure Wachenheim Science Center 2021 Awaiting certification (LEED Gold anticipated) 125 (combined EUI Wachenheim & Hopper) Wachenheim Science Center "Sustainability Tour" brochure Davis Center -- Targeting LBC petal certification. In Schematic Design as of Jan 2021 Building info on the Davis Center website and the Planning Design & Construction website Fort Bradshaw 2021 LEED Gold + LBC Petal certification 29/30
Fort Bradshaw's Sustainability Brochure
Fort-related upcycling project
Last updated January 2023
*EUI stands for Energy Use Intensity, the amount of energy used per square foot per year. A lower EUI signifies a more efficient use of space.
** The CDE Fellows Hall and St. Anthony’s Hall together have a target EUI of 30, a value that is low due to the residence hall’s achievement of the Net-Zero Energy petal of the Living Building Challenge
*** The combined EUI for the North and South science buildings (Wachenheim & Hopper) is estimated at 137, with the North Science Building (Wachenheim) expected to achieve a much lower portion of the EUI because it will have departments that require offices, not necessarily energy-intensive laboratories
Another tool that the college uses to ensure high efficiency building performance is Green Gauges. Green Gauges is a guided process developed by Williams College to communicate fundamental information about a project’s green building characteristics. This process is employed in addition to—and interwoven with—the standard practice of architectural design and documentation and the college’s Sustainable Building Guidelines. The main goal of Green Gauges is to help Williams clearly understand the measurable effectiveness of sustainable building strategies.
The information generated by the process helps identify what particular systems and approaches can be used to achieve desired sustainable building performance. Specifically, it answers these two basic questions:
“What does it cost?”
“What does it save?”
The first part of Green Gauges allows the Design Team and Project Owner (the college) to evaluate various options early in the design phase, and make informed decisions as they relate to the Project Owner’s cost and sustainability objectives. The next part of the process tracks the results of the built systems, to see whether the building is performing as intended.
Six contractual deliverables are required during design and construction. Each deliverable communicates specific information from the Design Team to the Project Owner about the fundamental building strategies being developed, and how those strategies impact cost, energy and operational carbon emissions. The review of the deliverable by the Design Team and Project Owner provides the opportunity to evaluate key information, make better decisions, and obtain approval for the project’s next steps.