New HLS Student Center Takes the LEED

Wasserstein Hall, Caspersen Student Center, Clinical Wing—a new sustainabile facility that houses approximately 250,000 square feet of innovative classrooms and student space—opened its doors at Harvard Law School early this January.

The Law School recently submitted WCC for Gold LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and will hear of the building’s sustainability status in the next few months.


Sustainability Coordinator Kathryn A. Cosgrove ’07 steps into one of the new facility’s classrooms, which, she says, were designed to “inspire a different method of teaching and learning.”

She points out features in the space that enhance the building’s sustainability.


Cosgrove first directs attention to the occupancy and daylight sensors on the classroom’s ceiling that facilitate energy-efficient lighting.

Circular vents on the floor, she says, are used for displacement ventilation, allowing both hot and cool air to flow out from the classroom floor and circulate throughout the room.

As the air exits through ceiling vents, it completes a cycle that eliminates cold and hot spots that students often feel in standard classrooms when sitting directly underneath vents or next to heaters.

The building also has integrated carbon dioxide sensors that adjust ventilation for crowded rooms by sensing the rise in carbon dioxide levels associated with an increase in the number of occupants, Cosgrove says.

When windows are opened, the sensors automatically shut off ventilation.

WCC’s green features are not limited to the building’s interior, Cosgrove says. A rainwater capture system uses runoff water to care for the surrounding landscaping along with vegetated roofs that provide insulation and white-painted roofs that deflect sunlight to keep the building cool.

“Productivity is one of the huge cost savings,” Cosgrove says. “The building provides high quality air and lighting, which allows students and their professors to focus more easily.”

Law School Green Living Representative Amrit P. Dhir says that the new WCC fosters a sense of community.

“The Law School is a completely different place now,” he says. “People used to hang out in the library or the cafeteria. The new building has brought students together and moved the center of campus.”



Recommended Articles