Yawkey Center for Student Services


The Yawkey Center for Student Services is the University’s new flagship green building as it serves to unite six academic advising programs for undergraduate students into a single facility.  It’s state of the art dining hall anchors dining operations in the East Campus area replacing three outdated, inefficient dining locations. The dining hall is a Certified Green Restaurant® featuring 11 different food concepts. The Center is certified LEED Gold by US Green Building Council.

Highlights of the sustainable design strategies include:

Campus & Sustainable Site Design

  1. Sustainable Transportation: The Center for Student Services is located right around the corner from Kenmore Square, just a short walk from 8 different bus routes and 11 subway stops.  96% of our students use sustainable modes of transportation such as public transit, walking, and biking.   
  2. Bike System: The first bike lanes in Boston found a home at BU thanks to a collaborative effort by the City of Boston, Boston University, BU Bikes and Boston Bikes.  These lanes are part of a growing network of over 100 miles of lanes and trails in Boston and beyond.  The Center for Student Services provides both indoor and outdoor bike racks, as well as shower and changing facilities.  
  3. Bike Share: Boston’s Hubway program was launched in August 2011 with 61 stations located throughout the city.  Four stations are located on the Charles River Campus and one on the Medical Campus.  The Center for Student Services is just a minute’s walk from the Hubway station located outside the BU Bookstore.
  4. Green Roof: The sustainable roof systems at the Center for Student Services are designed to minimize the urban heat island effect and reduce energy use by using a combination of vegetated roofing, and white, reflective roofing.  The vegetated roof is designed to reduce stormwater runoff by 60%. Its vegetation consists of drought resistant plants in order to limit the need for irrigation and maintenance.
  5. Stormwater Reduction: Boston University employs groundwater recharge technologies to reduce stormwater runoff into the watershed and to recharge the water table in the Back Bay.  The roof of the Center for Student Services is designed to reduce stormwater runoff by incorporating drains that collect the rainwater and transport it to an underground stormwater recharge system consisting of 130 linear feet of 24-inch perforated pipe in a bed of crushed stone.  Stormwater runoff is reduced by more than 33% and the runoff rate is reduced by more than 35% over pre-development conditions.


  1. Water Efficiency: The Center for Student Services contains many features that help promote water efficiency and have reduced water use in the building by 45% over a standard building.  These features include water saving devices such as low-flow lavatory faucets, showerheads, and kitchenette faucets, dual flush toilets and high efficiency urinals, as well as high efficiency spray valves for dishwashing.
  2. Irrigation Water Use: The landscape features of the Center for Student Services were designed to require as little irrigation as possible, resulting in a 90% reduction in water use for landscape irrigation compared to a standard landscape design.  The significant reduction in water use can be attributed to the use of drought-tolerant species, high efficiency sprinklers, and drip irrigation.


  1. Energy Efficiency: Building energy efficiency is a high priority for new building design on campus. The Center for Student Services is designed to be more than 24% more efficient than a building that simply meets the energy code. This design starts with a well-insulated, air tight building enclosure that addresses energy efficient strategies and systems for heating, cooling, lighting and controls. The exterior wall assembly uses layered insulation to obtain a higher R-value and air tightness.
  2. Chilled Beams: Chilled Beams in the ceiling help maintain a comfortable temperature while using less energy than conventional air conditioning. To cool each room, the beams chill the surrounding air making it denser and causing it to fall and cool the space.  Warmer air from the floor then replaces the cooler air, leading to a consistent flow of convection.
  3. Heat Recovery: The Center for Student Services has many features that reduce energy use for heating and cooling.  The building uses heat recovery units to more efficiently improve indoor climate conditions by removing thermal energy from expelled air and uses that energy to pre-heat or pre-cool outside air as it enters.
  4. Lighting: All lighting systems in the Center for Student Services contain energy-efficient LED and florescent technology, which is provided throughout the building. LED lighting lasts much longer than traditional lighting while using a fraction of the energy, helping reduce overall lighting energy consumption by 53% over a typical building of this type.
  5. Daylighting: To allow in natural light and reduce heat gain, windows for the Center for Student Services provide a high level of light transmission while reflecting unwanted solar radiation. Interior lighting was designed to take advantage of this available daylight and reduce the need for artificial lighting.  Photocells work with the building automation system to dim or turn lights off when daylight is available.  Task lighting is used where locally higher levels of lighting are required.
  6. Occupancy Sensors: occupancy and daylight sensors are used in offices, conference rooms, storage rooms and janitor closets.  The sensors interface with the building automation and dimming systems to allow heating, cooling, and lighting to automatically be turned down or off when spaces are not occupied.


  1. Recycled content of materials: Materials used in the Center for Student Services came from recycled sources. Using recycled materials reduces the unnecessary use of virgin natural resources and generally requires much less processing than new materials. In addition to this, 89% of construction waste was diverted from landfills.
  2. Regionally sourced materials: More than 10% of the materials used in the Center for Student Services were sourced from within 500 miles, minimizing the carbon footprint associated with the transportation of these materials. 100% of the wood used in the building is certified as sustainably harvested by the Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.

Indoor Environmental Quality

  1. Green Cleaning Program: The University has a robust green cleaning program that uses Green Seal and Ecologo certified cleaning products for over 70% of the materials used for cleaning on campus. At the Center for Student Services, Boston University’s custodial staff is piloting a program for 100% Green Seal and Ecologo certified cleaning products and procedures. Using sustainable products reduces the exposure of building occupants and maintenance personnel to potentially hazardous chemical, biological and particulate contaminants.
  2. Low VOC Materials: Boston University uses low VOC materials in all its projects. Throughout the Center for Student Services all composite wood products are built with no added urea-formaldehyde to ensure healthy air quality during construction and occupancy. Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are commonly found in products like paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants and flooring and can be harmful to both human and environmental health. Until recently they were essential to the performance these products.
  3. Ventilation: The Center for Student Services is ventilated with 100% outdoor air filtered by MERV 14 filters—efficient enough to control respirable-size particles like most bacteria and airborne mold spores. To prevent indoor air pollution, air intake vents were placed away from sources of possible contamination, like the loading dock. Outdoor air delivery exceeds ASHRAE requirements by more than 30%, and CO2 sensors detect when fresh air is needed and trigger ventilation.
  4. Dedicated Exhaust: Dedicated exhaust (no return) is provided for the loading dock, trash room, mechanical rooms, and janitor closets, isolating fumes from the rest of the building’s ventilation system.


  1. Certified Green Restaurant: Marciano Commons, Rise Bakery and the Late Nite Café are all Certified Green Restaurants®.  The Green Restaurant Association uses standards that include everything from sustainable food, chemical and pollution reduction to water efficiency and sustainable furnishings and materials.
  2. Dining Energy: Commercial kitchens have significant potential to impact energy usage.  At the Center for Student Services, the kitchen hoods have variable speed fans with sensors that measure temperature and smoke to automatically adjust fan speeds depending on intensity of use, greatly saving energy during periods of less activity.  Also, each refrigeration unit’s condensers and compressors are remotely located in the basement and cooled to extract the waste heat used to pre-heat the domestic water for the kitchen/dining services.
  3. Dining Water: Commercial kitchens use a lot of water, but at the Center for Student Services, water passing through the compost disposal system in the commercial kitchen is recycled throughout the day. Also, high-pressure, low-flow aerators on prep sinks, hand-washing sinks and spray valves significantly lower water usage. Our dishwashers have a built in heat recovery system which use exhaust heat to preheat rinse water, significantly reducing water and energy usage. In addition, these dishwashers only use about 60 gallons of water compared to the 300 gallons per hour used by a conventional dishwasher.
  4. Dining Waste & Recycling: All food waste, cans and bottles, cardboard and fryer oil are recycled.  A pulper and extractor system collects food waste from the kitchen areas through a gray water system and extracts 85% of the water, reducing compost pickup frequency. A can crusher on the loading dock reduces recycling volume, reducing pickup frequency.  No trays are used, which decreases water and detergent use, and energy needs. 
  5. Sustainable Food: Local food purchased within 250 miles of campus accounts for 28% of our budget.  We serve fruits and vegetables when in season as well as a variety of organic foods, sustainably-caught seafood and Fair Trade coffee. Our separate vegan kitchen serves only plant-based foods.  Twice a month, we celebrate Make a Difference Monday by serving tasty, low-carbon footprint dishes.

Quick Facts:

Total Building Area: 122,000 gsf
Dining Services: 46,000 gsf
Student Services: 56,000 gsf
Architects: Bruner/Cott Associates
MEP Engineers: van Zelm Engineers
Geotechnical Engineers: Haley and Aldrich
Structural Engineers: Weidlinger Associates
General Contractor: Bond