Our Approach to Sustainability

Stewardship is the expression of our collective capacity to replenish and care for resources of all kinds—with purpose, tenacity, and optimism. Stewardship honors the past and works in the present for the benefit of the future. Through stewardship, we celebrate every entity’s inherent dignity and purpose, valuing people, place, and planet for what they could be, and for what they are.

The Barbara Walters Campus Center will incorporate design strategies and building approaches reflective of Sarah Lawrence’s values, aspirations, campus context, and mission. The following are examples of attributes or systems that will be considered for the project:

Connection to Land and Water

  • The orientation of the building on the project site was carefully chosen to provide opportunities to capture maximum daylight and solar heat gain, thereby reducing utilities consumption for lighting and heating. Shades will be provided in areas of the building that require sensitive control of sunlight to mitigate the quantity of lighting and related solar heat gain, especially during summer months.

  • An added benefit of the building design is that the second floor is being constructed on the higher corner of the building site, thereby minimizing the amount of rock removal and subsequent transportation off-site.

  • A portion of the kitchen and related support spaces will be constructed partially underground therebyhelping to mitigate temperature variation during all seasons.


  • Locally sourced and recycled content

    • The Campus Center and its furnishings will include locally sourced stone masonry and recycled content for the ceiling systems in the kitchen and restrooms, concrete and drywall, as well as the dividers in the bathrooms.

  • Low Volatile Organic Compounds (Low-VOC) and Forest Sustainability Council (FSC) Certified Wood Products

    • The paint, doors, and shades used in the building will be low-VOC and the interior woodwork and flooring will be from sustainable forests.

Energy Use

  • LED Lighting

    • The lighting used for the entirety of the campus center will be 100% LED. Lighting energy consumption will be further reduced through automated lighting controls, including photocells, vacancy and occupancy sensors, and programmable and manual dimming.
  • Roofing

    • A white membrane roof will be used over the multipurpose rooms that will provide a reflective quality to keep the roof cooler, thus reducing energy consumption attributed to air conditioning. The remainder of the roofing material that will be more visible to the community will be a standing-seam metal roof that is both aesthetically pleasing and efficient at shedding water.
  • Exterior Glass

    • The exterior glass will be a solar control, low-emissivity (low-e) glass that reflects 66% of total solar energy while allowing 70% of the visible light to pass through. A low-e coated window reflects unwanted energy back to the sun instead of letting the heat pass through the glass. This glass has received a Cradle-to-Cradle Bronze certification, a standard that incorporates five quality categories: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.
  • Heating and Cooling

    • The HVAC system will be powered by natural gas and comprised of two systems designed to provide maximum efficiency and control over the separate areas for the dining pavilion and the atrium/multi-purpose rooms. In addition, the air handling units selected are high efficiency units that are zoned for all primary spaces to aid in decreasing energy consumption while maintaining a comfortable building temperature.
  • Thermal Insulation

    • All exterior walls will be appropriately insulated to aid in maintaining winter interior temperature within operating limits during the cold months while assisting in retaining air conditioning during the warmer months.
  • Plumbing Fixtures

    • Toilets will utilize a dual flushing system and sinks will have motion sensor faucets designed to aid in water conservation. Water coolers will include bottle fillers.

Food Service

  • Food service will continue to support local food sourcing to minimize the need for storage within the building, and all appliances will be energy-star rated.

  • In addition, food service will continue to incorporate best practices for sustainable food operations, such as small batch cooking, tray-less dining, and reduced packaging.

Built and Natural Environment

  • The design for the building seeks to maximize the use of the site, creating an inviting front lawn, connecting stair, and terraces adjacent to key program spaces, extending the program into the landscape and connecting interior with exterior.

  • The roof over the kitchen area and related support spaces will be a combination of a green roof that will support native plantings along with hard surfaces for terraces and circulation paths.

  • New plantings and grasses will be provided within the project site to provide natural shading and irrigation control and support.

  • A subsurface water collection system will be used to return water run off back to the soil. The system will be located under Andrews Lawn and accommodate 85% of the building’s roof run off as well as a portion of the run off from terraces and circulation paths.