University Architect committed to ‘greening’ Kent

Amy Cooknick

In an era when it seems everyone and everything is “going green” to save the planet, Kent State has made a major commitment to doing its part for the environment.

Michael Bruder, university architect and director of design and construction, said making Kent State as eco-friendly as possible has been his goal for years.

“There’s actually some state mandates now requiring a university to reduce its energy consumption, so Kent State was actually pretty far ahead of the curve on that,” Bruder said. “We’re trying to design the campus so that it’s easy to walk, it’s easy to bike so that people aren’t moving their cars all the time.”

Bruder said he considers energy efficiency a necessity in any building’s design.

At Kent State, the structural efficiency of a building is measured using a globally recognized rating system called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.


is an international standard developed by the U.S. Green Building Council for identifying where a building’s rate of emissions could be reduced and improving the building to minimize impact on the environment. Once a building has been updated or constructed to meet LEED standards, owners can apply to have it formally certified by LEED.

“(LEED has) really become the standard in the construction industry that most people use,” Bruder said.

There are three levels of certification a building can fall under based on its LEED score. Those levels are silver, gold and platinum, with silver being the lowest and platinum being the highest. Buildings receive points out of a possible total of 100 based on how they perform in various areas of environmental design.

“The Kent campus spends approximately $13 million a year just on energy,” Bruder said. “So if we can drive that number down, which we have been able to do, that just helps the institution. We’re trying to be sustainable, not just from that environmental aspect, but to sustain the institution in its economic health as well.”

Bruder said it is important for everyone at Kent State to do his or her part in helping to make the campus run more efficiently. He asked students and faculty to contact maintenance any time there is a problem with air temperature in a dorm or classroom.

“There’s nothing that is more frustrating to us than to see the middle of winter and windows open because the room is too hot,” Bruder said. “Something’s not working quite right, and we don’t have people in every room every minute of the day, so unless somebody tells us, we don’t know. Meanwhile we’re wasting energy.”

Contact Amy Cooknick at [email protected].