Harvard Kennedy School Earns LEED Certification for Wiener Auditorium

November 18, 2011
By Jessica Eisenman Parks, Harvard Green Building Services

The Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) receives a golden nod from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

In October, the newly renovated Wiener Auditorium was awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) under the LEED for Commercial Interiors version 2009 (LEED-CI 2009) rating system. LEED is the USGBC’s leading rating system for designing and constructing the world’s greenest, most energy efficient, high performing buildings and was established for market leaders to design and construct buildings that protect and save precious resources while also making good economic sense.

The renovation of the Wiener Auditorium, an approximately 3,000 square foot space located on the ground level of Taubman Hall, was driven by the need to reconfigure spaces to meet programmatic requirements for the HKS stakeholders, support new media and teaching practices, modify acoustical treatments, update finishes and furnishings, and increase the efficiency and quality of the lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, as well as their associated controls.

In line with the University-wide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below 2006 levels by 2016, inclusive of growth, HKS and the project team relied on both the LEED-CI 2009 rating system and the Harvard University Green Building Standards to ensure sustainability and energy efficiency were at the center of all design decisions made throughout this renovation project. These decisions range from product and materials selection to HVAC and lighting system selection, programming and operation. As a result, Wiener Auditorium is the first LEED Gold and the second LEED certified space on the HKS campus.

LEED certification of Wiener Auditorium was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. Among some of the noteworthy features of the project are:

Digital controls for the HVAC system tie into the building automation system (BAS), allowing for enhanced monitoring and operational control. The controls installed as part of this renovation include occupancy sensors, CO2 sensors and an advanced scheduling system connected to Outlook. This system configuration can lead to energy savings through the automatic modulation of the ventilation rates and space temperature set-points in response to the number of occupants in the space and scheduled setbacks based on whether the space is occupied or unoccupied.

  • 100 percent of the furniture from the original space was reused in the project.
  • 88 percent of the construction wasted generated during the renovation was diverted from landfill through recycling or reuse.
  • 26 percent of the project’s total new materials value is comprised of materials and / or products that have been extracted, processed and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site.
  • All bathrooms in the Taubman Building were upgraded by replacing older fixtures with water efficient fixtures to minimize potable water use; in doing this the building achieves an estimated 35 percent reduction below EPAct 1992 Standards. Upgrades included the installation of dual-flush systems, low-flow urinals, and low-flow faucet aerators.
  • 100 percent of the eligible equipment purchased as part of the renovation is Energy Star® rated, such as monitors, the DVD player and the amplifiers for the sound system.

For a detailed case study go to Harvard Green Building Resource.

the newly renovated Wiener Auditorium

The newly renovated Wiener Auditorium.

The renovation of the Wiener Auditorium located on the ground level of Taubman Hall, was driven by the need to reconfigure spaces to meet programmatic requirements for the HKS stakeholders.


John F. Kennedy School of Government 79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-1100 Get Directions Visit Contact Page