Skip to main content

Building Design

It is important to us that our built environment promotes sustainable use of our natural resources. All new buildings are designed with our Sustainable Building Policy, adopted in May 2014, which is mindful of our carbon footprint. In addition to our Sustainable Building Policy, Santa Clara University is a member of the Green Building Council, the overseeing body of the LEED rating system. We have staff that have been trained in the principles of LEED and retain a number of LEED certified design consultants. 

Fr. Engh, LEED

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a voluntary, national rating system that provides a framework for assessing economic and environmental building performance and meeting sustainability goals. The system deals with aspects of design, construction and operation in relation to site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selections, and indoor air quality. Projects earn points based on a matrix of baseline requirements and voluntary choices pertaining to sustainability and conservation.

Many of these requirements and sustainable alternatives are already mandatory in the State of California under current building codes. Projects are awarded one of four levels of certification based on their final scoring: “basic certification, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.” See the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for more information.

Learn more about our most recent buildings' sustainability information.


  • Photo of the Howard S. and Alida S. Charney Hall of Law building
    Howard S. & Alida S. Charney Hall of Law

    The Howard S. and Alida S. Charney Hall of Law will house the Santa Clara University’s School of Law. It is located next to Lucas Hall, Leavey School of Business, creating a professional collaboration between the two programs. It is estimated to be completed in spring of 2018. It will be a model example of sustainability on campus as it is built with sustainable features equal to a LEED Gold Certificate. 

  • Edward-M-Dowd-Art-and-Art-History
    Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History

    The Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History building was constructed in 2016 and provides 44,000 square feet of space for classrooms, faculty offices, and studios prepared for ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, drawing and painting. Natural lighting, green power, and enhanced refrigerant management are just a few of this building’s sustainability features.

  • Finn Residence Hall
    Finn Residence Hall

    Santa Clara University’s newest residence hall welcomed its first residents in the Fall of 2019. Finn Residence Hall features mini-suite style rooms for the students and 1-2 bedroom apartments for the staff members, amenities such as kitchens, living rooms, and study spaces on each floor, a large multi-purpose room, and recreational space. Finn’s Cura Residential Learning Community emphasizes the theme of cura personalis or care for the whole person. The eight dimensions of well-being included in this theme are: social, environmental, occupational, spiritual, financial, emotional, intellectual, and physical.

  • residence hall
    Graham Residence Hall

    The first residence facility that is certified with the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program. Graham offers mini-suites, full kitchens, a small theater, outdoor entertainment areas, and classrooms. It has exceptional conditions for living, learning, and collaborating, as well as exposure to sustainable design.

  • building
    Learning Commons, Technology Center, & Orradre Library

    The Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center, and Orradre Library opened in March 2008. Though twice the size of the previous building, the 194,000 square foot campus hub consumes the same amount of energy.

  • building, locatelli
    Paul L. Locatelli, S.J. Student Activities Center

    In the fall of 2011, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification to Santa Clara University's Paul Locatelli, S. J. Student Activities Center. The center was completed in June of 2010 in honor of the longest serving university president, Paul Locatelli, S.J.

  • building
    Donald L. Lucas Hall

    The Leavey School of Business building is designed to be 10% more energy efficient than California Title 24 requirements. The building has added exterior wall and roof insulation, double pane windows, high efficiency chillers and boilers, and automatic lighting controls. Over 75 percent of rooms in the building have both natural lighting and views of the outside. Construction materials were recycled, and building materials (carpeting, furniture, steel, and concrete) are composed of recycled material.

  • enrollment, buildings
    Schott Admission and Enrollment Services

    The Patricia A. and Stephen C. Schott Admission and Enrollment Services building offers answers to Bursar, Financial Aid, and Registrar-related questions. The newest office building to SCU gives a strong impression of the campus' beauty, support, liveliness, and commitment to sustainability.

  • construction camera shot of Sobrato Campus for Discovery & Innovation
    Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation

    The Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation, scheduled to open in Fall 2021, will provide 270,000 square feet of space for undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Engineering and the College of Arts and Science to learn, collaborate, and innovate. Sunlight is available throughout the building, reducing the need for artificial light and helping maintain comfortable building temperatures. SCDI has been built with sustainability in mind, from the construction materials, to the furnishings, to the ease of access to recycling and compost bins throughout the building.