Sustainable Campus Development

How does a university find opportunities to grow in a manner that is not detrimental to the environment? Sustainable development is a primary consideration at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

UMB’s Office of Design and Construction incorporates sustainable practices in its Urban Design Guidelines, which act as guiding principles for developing the University’s campus. Cross-collaboration between the offices of Design and Construction and Real Estate, Planning, and Space Management allow for opportunities and solutions for reuse of buildings and creative visioning for space utilization. 

“In the broadest sense, the University seeks to create a campus environment that actively improves the quality of life and the environment for its users. University operations will address sustainability as a continuous process affecting environmental, social, and fiscal concerns. Sustainable practices occur at all scales from the city and campus, to buildings and landscapes, to products used within those buildings.” 

Creating healthy spaces on campus is integral to the mission of UMB. Green design not only mitigates the campus’ environmental impacts when it comes to continued development, but it also provides our students, faculty, and staff with a better quality of life. 

LEED Buildings

UMB has built all new renovations and buildings to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standards since 2007. Following LEED standards helps save money, conserve energy, reduce water consumption, improve indoor air quality, and make better building material choices. To take things a step further, UMB has certified three buildings and two campus spaces.

Building/Space Name 

Rating System 

Certification Level 

Date Certified 

University of Maryland BioPark 

LEED BD+C: Core and Shell 



UMB Pharmacy Hall Addition 

LEED BD+C: New Construction 



Bressler Research Building Seventh-Floor Renovation 

LEED ID+C: Commercial Interiors 



UMB Health Sciences Research Facility III

LEED BD+C: New Construction 



UMB Design and Construction Office Suite 

LEED ID+C: Commercial Interiors 




For additional information, visit the Maryland Green Building Council.

Landscaping and Green Spaces

D&C Green Wall in the Lexington Building

UMB has integrated thoughtful design into its landscaping to provide more green space onto campus, whether that be a small bump-out to incorporate a flower garden along walking paths, finding creative solutions to lessen the impervious area on campus, or saving older trees from new construction and “recycling” them by placing them in other spaces.

Stormwater management on campus also provides opportunities for additional greenery and usage of native plants. When you walk around campus, look around. Something that might look like a simple garden could actually be working hard to help treat rainwater.

Visit the sixth floor of the Lexington Building, which boasts a 20-foot-long living green wall that helps with filtering the air, provides greenery for the office space, and uses a sophisticated irrigation system that reduces the need for water (see photo above). Stop by the School of Nursing addition to check out their new green wall as well.

Additionally the Greene Street Pocket Park is getting a new mural, so be on the lookout for a brighter, more colorful space coming soon.

Green Roofs

Green Roof on Health Sciences Research Facility III

UMB has three green roofs on campus:

  1. Social Work (2008)
  2. Plaza Garage
  3. Health Sciences Research Facility III (2018)
    This green roof is accessible

Green roofs have a number of benefits:

  • Help reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Help reduce building temperature
    • Reduce cooling costs/energy use
  • Help reduce heat island effect
    • Increase human health and comfort
  • Provide a source of stormwater runoff treatment

Green roofs cool and humidify the surrounding air, provide a natural habitat for animals and plants, create biodiversity, reduce dust and smog levels, and absorb contaminants from rainfall and the air.

Additionally, green roofs reduce stormwater runoff, typically, by 50 to 90 percent. Not only do they greatly reduce the volume of stormwater runoff, but they also minimize the impact of stormwater on existing sewer systems.

Buildings with green roofs boast reduced cooling costs and dampened noise pollution. They also increase the life expectancy of a roof by protecting building materials from climatic extremes.

For additional information, visit EPA Green Roof Information.

Mitigating Bird Strikes

Birds generally do not see clear or reflective glass; glass reflectivity and transparency create a lethal illusion of clear airspace that birds do not see as a barrier. At night during spring and fall bird migrations, birds can be attracted to lighted structures resulting in collisions and entrapment, which can result in concentrated bird mortality events.

Save birds during spring and fall migrations by turning off your lights when you leave! If you are unable to turn off interior lights, draw window blinds, shades, drapes or window coverings to prevent birds from seeing the light. Thank you for your cooperation and participation to help make our campus a more environmentally sustainable place for birds and all creatures.

For more information, visit our Lights Out UMB project page.

Download Lights Out UMB Promotional Materials Here