The latest green design and building techniques will create a welcoming environment that will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the entire neighborhood.

The Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center is designed to be a sustainable part of the CUMC campus for many decades to come.

Energy efficiency and sustainability is a key priority for Columbia University Medical Center. In support of former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative to reduce New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, CUMC aims to meet this goal by 2025. All new construction and renovations, including the Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center, will work toward this goal of minimizing CUMC's carbon footprint and seek to create a more sustainable environment in current buildings and in those to come. To learn more about CUMC’s overall energy and sustainability vision, please visit the CUMC Facilities website.

Along with CUMC’s sustainability goals, the Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center aims to incorporate national standards on sustainability by targeting a LEED-Gold certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a national design standard for green buildings and sustainability which is administered by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Learn more about the LEED certification process by visiting the USGBC’s website. The building’s environmentally sound features will also include:

  • A design that responds to the changing seasons and time of day, in order to introduce natural light and preserve or eliminate heat gain thus reducing energy use.
  • Building materials that are locally and sustainably sourced and maximize use of recycled content whenever possible.
  • Native plantings adapted to the area’s sun and wind conditions, to produce year-round texture, color, and shelter, as well as minimize irrigation requirements.
  • Green roof technologies that reduce the heat-generating effects of urban asphalt and concrete, lower building energy consumption, and recycle storm water runoff.
  • Innovative mechanical system design that maximizes tenant comfort and minimizes energy and water use within the building.


The sustainable design features for the new building will create a space that minimizes its impact on the environment. However, the process for building the new structure will also take a sustainable approach. For new building construction, CUMC applies a comprehensive clean construction program. The plan commits to incorporate smart growth, new urbanism, and green building design principles. Mitigation measures focus on:

  • Minimization of noise and dust
  • Environmentally friendly approaches to pest management
  • Construction equipment outfitted with air pollution control devices
  • Ultra low-sulfur diesel fuel, for significant reduction of particulates and other pollutants from vehicles, engines, and motors used during construction.


Accomplishing these initiatives will not be an overnight achievement and requires that we all work together as a community to make our focus on energy efficiency and sustainability. As we pursue this goal for greenhouse gas reduction, and any other sustainable initiatives, CUMC Facilities Management will keep you updated on our progress.