University Housing employee teaches students about the building's facilities


University Housing works to create and maintain facilities that enhance and promote sustainability. Green buildings, innovative interior design, and green cleaning are some of the ways Housing meets our sustainability goals.

In 2013 Leopold residence hall achieved Gold LEED certification. Leopold features a rooftop greenhouse, roof-mounted solar panels to heat water, and parking for more than 100 bicycles.

The construction of Leopold involved…

  • 88% of construction materials diverted from the landfill
  • 47% locally produced materials
  • 31% reduction in water run-off
  • Dual level lighting with daylight and motion sensors
  • an energy air exhaust recovery wheel
  • Our Upholstery Shop repairs furniture to repurpose items rather than landfilling them. Reupholstering furniture from Cole and Slichter dens saved an estimated $96,400 by repurposing instead of buying new.
  • Anything that no longer has a purpose in Housing locations is repurposed through UW–Madison’s Solid Waste Alternatives Project (SWAP) or donated to our list of 200+ partner non-profit organizations in the greater Madison area. This accounts for about 250,000 pounds of material diverted from landfill annually.
  • In 2017, Housing developed a website to streamline our furniture reallocation process, making it easier for staff and student to make requests. Housing now processes approximately 20 furniture requests each month to avoid purchasing new items.
  • Housing purchases flooring that uses sustainable dye methods, resulting in 2,087,360 gallons of water saved

University Housing follows green cleaning practices in all buildings maintained by University Housing as an ongoing commitment to the health of its residents, staff, and environment. Our goal is to use only cleaning products that are sustainable and meet EPA standards.

  • Our Lotus Pro water-based cleaning system is EPA registered and uses aqueous ozone to thoroughly sanitize and clean surfaces. Aqueous Ozone is Green Seal certified and helped Housing win a green cleaning award in 2013
  • Housing saves $30,000 year through the elimination of traditional chemicals from our cleaning practices
  • Other sustainable cleaning and operational products include
    • Ecos Pro Laundry & Dish soap
    • Seventh Generation products
    • Major Bathroom Cleaner (organic salts specifically created by Housing)
    • C.L.E.A.R. bowl cleaner (developed by Housing)
    • Eco-friendly Ice Melt
  • Housing purchases paper towels, toilet paper, and plastic bags made with recycled materials
  • Microfiber cloths and mops are used for cleaning instead of cotton or polyester products

With their close proximity to the campus natural areas and Lake Mendota, University Apartments supports and respects the environment.

  • No chemicals are used in lawn care unless mandated
  • No use of VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints to protect human and environmental health
  • No Mow/Low Mow areas are in place to recover natural prairie grasses
  • One of the largest and oldest community gardens in the country, the University Apartment Community Gardens hosts 500 plots for residents to plant and harvest vegetables and flower as well as compost. Many residents replenish their gardens with their own compost.
  • Tree removal occurs only when absolutely needed. If a tree has to be removed, two are planted in its place.
  • Eagle’s Wing childcare center integrates sustainability into their curriculum
  • Make your own cleaning solutions using natural ingredients
  • Instead of cleaning with paper towels, cut up old t-shirts and make re-usable rags.
  • Use plants to purify your air and deodorize your room.
  • Upcycle materials to decorate your room