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New UH Law Center facility commended for its sustainability by U.S. Green Building Council

The John M. O’Quinn Law Building was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification.

The University of Houston Law Center 2023 J.D. and LL.M. graduates celebrate commencement at the Fertitta Center on May 13.

The James and Carol Roach Rooftop Lounge, on the 3rd floor of the law building, is a naturally shaded outdoor patio adorned with greenery.

May 31, 2023 — The University of Houston Law Center’s John M. O’Quinn Law Building has received national recognition for being an environmentally-friendly structure. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded the Law Center with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification, receiving 55 points.

Dean Leonard M. Baynes noted that the John M. O’Quinn Law Building is the newest law school building in Texas and expressed his delight that it has met these high standards and is being recognized for being environmentally friendly as well as being beautiful. “The University of Houston is committed to certifying new campus facilities as LEED ‘Green’ buildings,” said Liz Clark, UH Office of Sustainability coordinator. “The Cougar Woods Dining Hall was the first campus building to achieve LEED Silver in 2013. The John M. O’Quinn Law Building is one of the latest campus constructions to earn LEED Silver Certification.”

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED certification is achieved by earning points and adhering to prerequisites and credits that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health and indoor environmental quality. Projects go through a verification and review process by Green Business Certification Inc. and are awarded points that correspond to a level of LEED certification.

“Buildings consume energy and resources at an alarming rate,” the U.S. Green Building Council said in a statement. “We can do better. LEED provides a framework for healthy, efficient, carbon and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement, and it is backed by an entire industry of committed organizations and individuals paving the way for market transformation.”

LEED-certified buildings save money, improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions and create healthier places for people, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. They are critical to addressing climate change and meeting ESG goals, enhancing resilience and supporting more equitable communities. LEED categories can also contribute toward meeting the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Earlier this year, the structure received the Higher Education Award of Merit at the 2023 International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Southwest Chapter Design Awards ceremony.

The John M. O’Quinn Law Building was designed by the women-owned architectural firm Shepley Bulfinch and constructed by Austin Commercial. It officially opened its doors in August 2022.

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