When applied to design and construction of facilities and landscapes, sustainability translates into the allocation and application of resources such that:
- Energy consumption is minimized.
- Construction and demolition wastes are recycled to the greatest extent possible.
- Landscaping uses native species and stormwater runoff is captured and treated before entering the watershed.
- A healthy indoor environment is produced by employing such strategies as natural daylighting, low off-gassing materials and fresh air regulators.
- Materials, finishes and equipment, as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are chosen with total life cycle costs taken into considerations; not just the initial cost of purchase and installation.
Starting with the design and construction of Western Michigan University's Parkview Campus in the late 1990s, the University has been committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly construction and renovation.