Sustainable Design and Construction

Sustainable Design and Construction on Campus

MIT’s buildings support the Institute’s academic mission, reflect the campus’ rich history, and demonstrate how MIT is transforming to meet future challenges. MIT is committed to playing a leadership role in addressing the complex global issues of sustainable growth and development, beginning with a careful examination of the impact of our own built environment.

Each new building project at MIT is a demonstration of this commitment. Many campus-wide sustainability initiatives are realized and tested through our building projects. Sustainable design solutions for each project are not prescribed, but are discovered through the unique design process for each site, building and program.

All new construction and major renovation projects must earn at least Gold Certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 Rating System. Partial renovation and limited scope projects must use LEED v4 as a tool to evaluate performance options, and are encouraged to pursue LEED v4 Certification if applicable.

Whenever possible, MIT seeks to exceed the requirements of LEED and to pursue other high performance design standards and industry best practices.

The high performance building process

MIT has established sustainability standards to guide all new construction, major renovation, partial renovation and limited scope projects. All projects follow an integrated design process, by which all major stakeholders are involved from the onset of the project. This process begins with an integrative design charrette to explore sustainability goals for each project. The charrette and the subsequent collaborative meetings among stakeholders are documented so that decisions affecting building performance can be traced throughout the project.

The standard process for new construction and major renovation projects includes:

  • Developing energy models to test options and inform decisions about building systems and performance, and to support documentation for LEED Certification and Eversource utility reporting. 

  • Creating and carrying out measurement and verification plans to identify requirements for metering and monitoring for operational management, programmatic needs and occupant engagement.

  • Developing life cycle cost analyses for major design options, including systems related to energy consumption, water use and stormwater management.  The cost analysis is used for project decision-making and is integrated into the value engineering process.

  • Testing the project design options in the MIT Energy and Emissions Impact Calculator in order to determine the anticipated greenhouse gas emissions impact of the project, and selecting options with the least impact.

  • Creating a project-specific commissioning plan during schematic design and updating the plan throughout the design process. MIT pursues ongoing commissioning for campus buildings in order to ensure continual operational efficiency and to anticipate any operational or maintenance issues.

To the extent feasible, these measures are also applied to smaller renovations and limited scope projects.

Renewing the campus

In addition to new construction and renovation projects, MIT invests in renewal projects to address deferred maintenance.  Assets are prioritized according to their significance to the academic mission, as well as their physical condition.  Priority projects are coordinated across disciplines so that sustainable performance criteria are included in the project scope.

Project Partners

Progress and Major Accomplishments

Additional Information

Related Data / Metrics