Salovich Zero+ Campus Design Project
Salovich Zero Plus Campus Design Project

Zero+ Campus Design Project


Each building is a unique ecosystem within the larger ecosystems of landscape and region… Ecologically designed buildings and institutions afford a chance to make such relationships explicit, thereby becoming part of the educational process and research agenda organized around the study of local resource flows, energy use, and environmental opportunities.   - David Orr, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2000

The Zero+ Opportunity

The Zero+ Campus Design Project brings together the University of Minnesota’s Department of Landscape Architecture, the School of Architecture, the Institute on the Environment, the Capital Planning and Project Management staff, and faculty and students from affiliated programs to develop campus solutions that can eliminate or have a net-positive effect on emissions, pollutants, and waste streams to reduce long-term costs and align campus operations with the content of related teaching and research. The Zero+ Campus Design Project includes a variety of means to explore the aspiration for a net-zero campus, including student design forums, a competition for innovative campus planning and design, the development of a new curriculum, and an online resource to foster zero-emission campus design, planning and performance goals while creating new interdisciplinary educational and research collaborations at the University.

Research, Education, and Community Outreach

Education and research are integrated through a series of new courses, workshops, and seminars. The Zero+ courses explore the integration of zero-emission design in campus architecture and landscapes and how to evaluate the ecological, economic, and health benefits of doing so. The students engage with faculty, university staff, and researchers to evaluate design strategies, metrics, and performance tools to foster the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, energy, and water across scales. Using select areas of the Twin Cities Campus, the courses use campus projects to strategize, test, and evaluate design opportunities to optimize architecture and landscape performance. The website will be used to disseminate the design guidelines, strategies, findings, and project outcomes.   An interdisciplinary Zero+ Design Competition and forum will be announced in the coming year to more deeply investigate Zero+ design opportunities on the Twin Cities campus.

Project Goals

The Zero+ Campus Design Project seeks to:

  1. Establish a clear vision for design of the Zero+ Campus: what could it be and how would it be different from the campus of today?
  2. Approach the problem using an interdisciplinary process which integrates ecological scales and issues (e.g., energy, water, wastewater treatment, materials, pollution, habitat, and biodiversity).
  3. Use hands-on fieldwork, case study analyses, and design investigations to explore and apply sustainable design concepts, principles, and strategies in creating design proposals that respond to the goals of net-zero energy, water and resource use in buildings.

Project team contact

Contact:  Loren Abraham, Project Manager