Green Campus

Sustainable development is integral to KAUST's overall mission to nurture innovation in science and technology, and support research in areas such as energy and the environment that are important to Saudi Arabia, the region and the world. This emphasis on sustainable practices influences KAUST's research agenda, campus planning, and operations.

In June 2010, the innovative and sustainable architecture of the KAUST campus earned a Platinum rating on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) scale, produced by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The university buildings have been specifically constructed to utilize natural light and ventilation. Also, the buildings support a roof capable of carrying 12,000 square meters of solar thermal and photovoltaic arrays. These arrays will use the sun to produce 3,300-megawatt hours of clean energy every year.

High levels of recycled products can be found in the campus construction materials, and 75 percent of the construction material. The scale measures a whole building or structure in five areas of sustainability; sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality has been recycled.

The achievement of a Platinum rating on the LEED scale is a remarkable accomplishment and unprecedented in Saudi Arabia. As the University grows in success and scope, the challenge then becomes to maintain this pattern of sustainable excellence both in the buildings and structures. This is because they will become home to the vast array of scientific research that will be conducted at the university. This research will not only enable KAUST to improve its environmental standards but also to contribute sustainable solutions to the world.

KAUST integrates sustainable measures into the design of the entire community. The University demonstrates new ways to build in the region, and new ways to live that promote responsible stewardship of energy resources.

The unique desert climate of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East create opportunities and challenges for KAUST, including ample sunlight, limited rainfall and potable water resources. KAUST has an important role to play in conserving these resources, finding new and innovative methods to manage and sustain them, and exploring and developing alternative energy sources.

Since many of the traditional Middle Eastern building methods have been formed by environmental responses that pre-date the use of energy-intensive building processes, KAUST’s sustainable development will help to increase awareness of local aesthetics and culture. This educational value will extend beyond research in the classrooms, and continue throughout the daily lives of all those who live, work and study in the KAUST community.

The University’s focus on sustainable development is also reflected in the choice of location and in the campus and community plan. The physical campus and its operations will minimize the environmental footprint through efficient use of water, electricity and other resources, and through materials reuse and recycling. Construction will be performed with care to preserve the environment. A signature feature of the campus will be a marine sanctuary and research facility focused around a unique coral reef ecosystem located on the University’s near-shore and shoreline property.

KAUST is committed to innovation in sustainable development and increasing global public awareness about these important issues. The University act as a living laboratory, demonstrating that environmentally responsible methods of energy use, materials management, and water consumption are viable in the region.

Sustainable development has influenced five main areas of KAUST’s campus design:
In addition to these five main areas, KAUST has implemented a community-wide recycling and composting program to reduce the amount of waste produced by the University, and an alternative transportation plan to provide fuel-efficient transportation options for all residents.