Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Lance Neckar

Reader 2

Walker Wells


The development of sustainable design rating systems and forward-thinking case studies create an increasingly holistic approach to green building that reflects and drives broader changes in sustainability discourse. Introduction of LEED by the U.S. Green Building Council alongside the Adam Joseph Lewis Center at Oberlin College transformed loosely defined notions of environmentally responsible and sustainable architecture into a tangible, comprehensive definition of green building. New rating systems in the late 2000s, Living Building Challenge and SITES, expanded green building to strengthen quantitative benchmarks, introduce qualitative standards such as biophilic design, and provide increased focus on site sustainability. Case studies at the time, such as Kroon Hall at Yale University, draw influence from new rating systems and illustrate a full-scale model of sustainable design. Living Building Challenge and other International Living Future Institute certifications shifted the conversation around green building toward decarbonization and influenced newer projects such as the Robert Redford Conservancy at Pitzer College to create buildings that will be responsive to a changing climate. Analysis of recent updates to certification systems and modern green building projects indicates a future of green buildings primarily based in decarbonization and resilience, as a reaction to uncertain yet inevitable effects of climate change in the future.