Our Sustainable Campus

One of Michigan Ross’ core beliefs is that businesses should be good citizens in the community and the world. One way we put that belief into action is through sustainable and “green” practices at the school itself.

That starts with our geographic location, which features easy walking access to shopping, restaurants, and banks; nearby U-M Transit Services and Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority bus lines; and large bike racks on site, as well as available bike sharing.  

Our commitment to sustainability may be best seen in the buildings that make up the Ross complex themselves. The design, features, and systems of our buildings incorporate many sustainable measures, and two of our construction projects (three buildings) have sought LEED© certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Ross Building

Ross is among the world leaders in research and academic programming devoted to sustainable enterprise, and the Ross building—which opened in 2009—is an example of that commitment. Using many architecturally innovative and environmentally responsible features, the building earned LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its sustainable design.

25%

The project saves 25 percent more energy beyond ASHRAE 90.1-1999 standards.

42%

Less water than required under Energy Policy Act of 1992

75%

Demolition/construction waste diverted from landfills

  • High-efficiency lighting and daylight-dimming systems reduce power requirements. Overall, the project saves 25 percent more energy beyond ASHRAE standards.
  • "Displacement ventilation" in the central Davidson Winter Garden requires less use of fans and heating/cooling energy.
  • Large skylights bring natural light into offices and teaching areas and reduce the need for artificial light. 
  • Occupancy sensors automatically lower the heat when rooms have been vacant for a period of time. 
  • Two “green roofs” filter rainfall as part of a natural stormwater management system. Planted with sedum, a drought-resistant perennial groundcover, the living roofs help insulate the building, reduce heating and cooling costs, and improve air quality by trapping airborne dust and dirt. 
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures reduce water usage by 42% when compared to the Energy Policy Act of 1992 fixture performance requirements.
  • Native and drought-adapted species and an efficient drip irrigation system minimize water demand for the landscaping.
  • Quiet and durable cork flooring, a rapidly renewable resource, is used in public spaces.
  • 75 percent of demolition and construction debris was recycled. 
  • Recycled material, including concrete, drywall, and steel, was used where possible for construction. 
  • Low chemical-emitting materials chosen for carpeting and paint.

Jeff T. Blau Hall and Kresge Hall

The project to build Jeff T. Blau Hall and completely renovate the adjoining Kresge Hall was conceived as a way to maximize the efficiency of an underused site. A dated, undersized building was demolished to make way for the project, which includes 104,000 square feet of new construction and 75,000 square feet of renovations. The completed project—which opened in August 2016—includes classrooms, collaboration and group study space, and administrative offices.

View the LEED Case Study

The Blau/Kresge project is seeking LEED Silver certification and incorporates many sustainability features:

30%

Estimated energy savings over a code compliant building

41%

Less water than required under Energy Policy Act of 1992

75%

Demolition/construction waste diverted from landfills

Lighting 
  • Effective use of task lighting and high-efficiency light fixtures to further reduce electrical use.
  • Occupancy sensors turn off lights and limit heating/cooling in unoccupied spaces.
Daylight 
  • “Frit” (ceramic particle) glass walls and interior shades make full use of daylight while controlling glare and limiting summer heat.
Building Materials 
  • Low-VOC flooring, adhesives, and sealants.
  • Use of recycled, renewable, and/or regional building materials when possible.
Heating & Cooling
  • Innovative heating/cooling strategies such as chilled beams in the Kresge Building. 
  • Heat recovery wheel system that reduces heating and cooling energy for ventilation.
Stormwater Retention
  • New stormwater retention basins underneath Monroe Mall (the walkway on the north side of the Ross complex) and the interior courtyard.
Green roof
  • Renewal of the Kresge Building’s green roof—a flat roof planted with vegetation that absorbs rainwater, creates natural insulation, and provides wildlife habitat.

The Ross Bur Oak Move

When the school began the Blau Hall project in 2014, concerns arose about the future of a 200-year-old, 65-foot tree bur oak tree that was within the footprint of the new building. The Ross community felt that destroying the tree was inconsistent with our belief in positive business. Instead, we came up with a solution that allowed us to preserve our living history by giving the tree a new home nearby, with more room to grow and better exposure to sunlight. Thanks to the efforts of the entire University of Michigan community, the tree was moved about 100 yards to the west as part of the donor-funded construction project, to its new location on the Ross front lawn.

The five-month moving process began with excavation of the soil outside the tree’s root ball. A platform made of metal pipes was placed under the root ball, which was carefully wrapped. When moving time arrived, massive air bladders were inflated underneath the tree to raise it up enough for wheeled, self-propelled carts to be slid under the root ball. After a slow roll along the Monroe Mall, the tree reached its new home on Nov. 4, 2014. Special follow-up care is taking place for several years following the move.

The City of Ann Arbor’s Historic Preservation Program honored the tree project with a Special Merit Award in 2016.