The Harvard Graduate School of Education’s 2015 renovation of Longfellow Hall has received LEED Platinum certification – the highest rating possible—from the U.S. Green Building Council. 

“This new energy efficient, healthy space will enhance productivity and improve the experience for our students, faculty, and staff by allowing for better collaboration and connection,” says Chief of Operations Jason Carlson, noting that this is HGSE’s third platinum project and fifth certification. 

The intent of the renovation was to meet the growing teaching and learning needs of the School and to create a more cohesive campus by adding additional space to support the relocation of HGSE’s Executive Education and Project Zero Programs. 

Despite an increase in overall square footage, due to a new penthouse addition, the project team was able to keep the environmental footprint of the building the same as pre-renovation.

Last updated in the 1940s, improvements to Longfellow Hall’s infrastructure included efficiency updates to the boiler plant, installation of energy recovery units for enhanced ventilation, and substantial insulation upgrades to ensure reduced energy usage. 

The building is expected to use 39 percent less lighting power. One innovative energy-saving strategy employed is the use of step-dimming. While not a new strategy, the Operations Team at HGSE decided to program occupancy sensors to turn light fixtures on at half illumination, allowing occupants to increase as needed, versus the typical setting of full illumination. First used at HGSE’s Gutman Library, it was observed that most building occupants left their lights at the lower settings.

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