Green buildings, sustainability studies going mainstream on campus

More than 110 colleges and universities around the U.S. have or are building eco-friendly structures, saving on energy costs and attracting students who want to go to a school that “gets” being green. At Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, for example, students designed a green roof that now features prominently in class projects, and a recently constructed green dorm — billed by school officials as the first in the country — has become a living lab for students, architects, and engineers studying energy use and sustainable construction. Carnegie Mellon is integrating sustainability into coursework, and leading in a national effort to green up the nation’s 1,500-odd engineering programs. The idea is “to take some of the ideas of sustainability out of the fringes and put them into the mainstream,” says engineering professor and green advocate Cliff Davidson.