Sustainability Features

Learn about all the sustainability features in the Armstrong Student Center, below is information found on the Sustainability Wall located on the interior Slant Walk near the building entrance from the Joslin Family Terrace.

SUS·TAIN·ABLE adjective \sə-ˈstā-nə-bəl\

Meeting our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.


In April 2011, President David C. Hodge announced Miami University's Sustainability Commitments and Goals. To promote a more sustainable campus, the University voluntarily adopted a green-building certification standard called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), administered by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Multiple green design, construction, and operational features can be found around, within (and sometimes behind) the Armstrong Student Center’s (ASC) walls. These innovations -- listed below by LEED category -- embody Miami's commitment to student life and sustainability. We hope they inspire students, faculty, staff and visitors to share in Miami's efforts to make our future more sustainable.

What can you do?

  • Learn about sustainability issues, and how your major can address them.
  • Experience campus as a living sustainability laboratory. Look for signs and QR tags in and around the ASC building.
  • Share ideas on how to make the ASC and Miami greener.
  • Visit Miami's Sustainability website for news, events, and profiles.
  • Challenge yourself -- and those around you -- to "Love Red, Live Green."

Sustainable Sites

A LEED-certified building site is sensitive to existing ecosystems and attempts to minimize the negative effects of construction on the surrounding environment. The Armstrong Student Center features:

  • A central, walkable site located close to multiple services and destinations
  • Access to nearby public transit, offering students and visitors a convenient alternative to car travel
  • Open space preservation through redevelopment of existing buildings and parking lots; and addition of green space

What can you do?

  • Walk, bike, or ride the bus. It's more convenient and less expensive than driving. If you have to drive, carpool with others
  • Support the many local businesses or services on or nearby Miami's scenic and spacious campus
  • Consider purchasing a fuel-efficient and low-emitting vehicle
  • Support development that protects sensitive ecosytems like rivers, streams, or wetlands

If every American living within five miles of work commuted by bike just one day a week, it would be like taking a million cars off the road.

Water Efficiency

A LEED-certified building  makes responsible use of one of our most precious resources, fresh water. This category rewards projects for utilizing water efficient fixtures, as well as minimizing the amount of potable water needed for irrigation and waste conveyance. The Armstrong Student Center features:
  • Rainwater harvesting by underground cisterns for landscape irrigation
  • Native and adapted landscaping requiring less water and maintenance
  • Efficient fixtures in toilet rooms, changing rooms, and food preparation areas

What can you do?

  • Enjoy high-quality local tap water, filtered or unfiltered, in a reusable bottle
  • Use water sparingly when lathering hands, brushing teeth, or preparing food
  • Take shorter showers
  • Learn and help cultivate species that are native or adapted to your region

Plumbing fixtures installed throughout the ASC are expected to save 517,300 gallons of potable water annually. Plants surrounding the ASC are native or adapted to our region, saving 100,000 gallons of potable water per year.

Energy & Atmosphere

A LEED-certified building reduces energy consumption and related emissions through smart and efficient mechanical and electrical systems. The Armstrong Student Center features:
  • Highly efficientmechanical and electrical systems that maintain a quality building environment with less energy
  • Additional performance tracking, known as commissioning, to verify all systems are as efficient as promised
  • Recycling of heat vented from coolers and other equipment to help preheat domestic hot water
  • Green refrigerants to protect the atmosphere and ozone layer

What can you do?

  • When replacing light bulbs, choose wisely:  Think performance, price and energy savings.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator if you are able
  • Lower your thermostat in winter, raise it in summer
  • During nice weather, shut off your heating/ cooling and open your windows
  • Explore the many benefits of renewable energy (wind, solar, etc.)

Efficient lighting fixtures, like LED light bulbs, installed throughout the ASC are expected to save 108,850 kWh of energy annually.

The ASC has energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems, which reduce or recycle waste energy, saving 3,796,570,000 BTUs of energy annually.

Materials & Resources

A LEED-certified building conserves materials and resources to reduce waste. To promote sustainability green buildings re-use existing materials and buildings, use locally sourced materials where feasible, and promote recycling. The Armstrong Student Center features:

  • Reuse of existing Gaskill and Rowan Halls within the new Center, preserving their existing resources and embodied energy
  • Recycling of materials during construction, and of paper, metal, plastic, glass and cardboard every day thereafter
  • Composting of kitchen food scrap
  • Local sourced materials from within 500 miles of Oxford

What can you do?

  • Use a reusable water bottle or coffee mug
  • Reduce, reuse, or recycle
  • Refuse what you don’t need:  Bring your own bag and eating utensils
  • Purchase locally- or regionally-made products that utilize recycled content

Although 75 percent of solid waste is recyclable, only about 30 percent is actually recycled. Miami is committed to recycling the majority of its wastes. The ASC re-purposed Gaskill and Rowan Halls, recycling the energy embodied in these buildings (i.e. used during their original construction) and minimized demolition debris during construction.

Indoor Environmental Quality

A LEED-certified building is healthy and pleasant to occupy. Green buildings protect indoor air quality by limiting polluting materials, maximize natural daylight and views, and maintain comfortable temperatures. The Armstrong Student Center features:

  • A smoke-free environment for all to enjoy in and around the building
  • Indoor air quality management during and after construction
  • Low-emitting materials that protect human health by limiting volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Natural lighting and views, including the large skylight above the Slant Walk.

What can you do?

  • Take advantage of natural sunlight instead of fossil-fueled electric lights
  • Avoid using materials that contain harmful chemicals like VOCs
  • Prevent insects by promptly disposing of your unconsumed food and beverages
  • If you smoke, use Miami’s smoking cessation program to help you quit

All materials installed within the ASC were carefully selected to minimize or eliminate use of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), which are known to be hazardous to human health. This creates a dramatically healthier indoor environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

Innovation in Design

A LEED-certified building is innovative, encouraging creative use of design techniques not yet covered in the LEED manual. The Armstrong Student Center features:

  • Preservation and adaptive reuse of existing buildings, integrated through creative design
  • Replacement of an asphalt lot with a centrally-located and walkable building, requiring no additional parking
  • Diversion of 95% construction waste from the landfill
  • 30% of project made with recycled materials, measured by total cost
  • Sustainable building cleaning to minimize harmful chemicals
  • An innovative signage system to educate users about why and how sustainability is built into the ASC.

What can you do?

  • Experience life on Miami's campus as a process of discovery and transformation
  • Be thoughtful, creative, and forward-looking in how you live and work
  • Collaborate with others, on campus and beyond, to promote a more sustainable world for future generations to enjoy

30% of all building materials used throughout the ASC -- such as concrete, carpeting, steel, ceiling tiles, and others -- were recycled (as measured by total cost).