Encouraging and Developing a Sustainable Environment on Campus

Bahar Armaghani, University of Florida
Frank Javaheri, University of Florida

How does a large organization such as a major university change its operations and maintenance culture from one that is convenience-driven to one that encourages long-term thinking and incorporates sustainable strategies on every level of operation and facility design?

The University of Florida has undergone a transformation over the past ten years that has put it in the forefront of other universities. The university has the first LEED® Platinum and Gold certified buildings in the State of Florida and was integral in sustainable design initiatives that require all buildings constructed on campus have a minimum of LEED Gold Certification. In addition, infrastructure was put into place that enabled the university to efficiently use utility services and establish existing building initiatives so that all buildings and operation systems on campus would minimize waste and pollution output, while at the same time, encouraging sustainable practices in the community.

Currently, the university has one LEED Platinum, four Gold, two Silver, 10 Certified, and 28 Registered projects under construction. The University of Florida also has an office of sustainability as well as a director of sustainable facilities to encourage leadership in these initiatives.

This presentation will outline the transformation of the university facilities, operations, and maintenance culture to that which strongly encourages and develops sustainable practices. Examples of initiatives that were undertaken as well as lessons learned from those initiatives will be shared and discussed to encourage other institutions to begin or strengthen their own current practices.


Bahar Armaghani has more than ten years experience in environmental engineering and construction, has always held a deep respect and appreciation for nature and is passionate about the environment and green buildings. She implemented and manages one of the most successful green building programs in the nation making the University of Florida a leader locally and nationally.

She established and is leading the University of Florida's LEED Advance Training and Consulting. She teaches LEED at the School of Architecture at the university. She lectures and presents the University of Florida's LEED process locally and nationally. She is heavily involved with USGBC locally and nationally, and established a green building community outreach program with local high schools that educate high school students about sustainable construction.

Frank Javaheri is a senior project manager for the Facilities, Planning, and Construction Division of the University of Florida. He is responsible to the assistant vice president for business affairs for the planning and construction of assigned physical facilities of the University of Florida and the management of its space and physical resources. The functional responsibilities include delivery of major capital construction projects and for all units of the university, some minor projects on behalf of the health science center, and education and general buildings at the University of Florida in Gainesville, as well as several previous buildings in the many counties in the State of Florida. Responsibilities include assisting with the planning, programming, budgeting, A/E selection, project design, bidding, and construction management within specific guidelines and procedures, which has been developed in our division. As the University of Florida owner representative, it is Mr. Javahari's responsibility to assure that the best possible project in terms of both function and quality is delivered. Together, these functions underlie a continuing responsibility to provide the facilities necessary for the fulfillment of academic research and clinical needs of the university within the resources available, while improving functional efficiency, economic effectiveness, aesthetic appeal, and maintaining flexibility for future change and growth.