Last winter, a weekend utilities outage in the Lincoln Square neighborhood stopped the gas flow used to fire the boilers in the new Fordham Law School building.

The incident passed without much notice—just a little cold in the lobby— said Brian Byrne, PhD, vice president of Fordham Lincoln Center, because the building, which opened in 2014, is extremely energy efficient.

This month, the law school building’s efficiency is no longer anecdotal; it’s official, as the building received its LEED Silver Certification.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

“It’s the kind of change in energy efficiency that’s pretty dramatic,” said Byrne.

The process of obtaining LEED Certification is an arduous one, requiring much paperwork and a number of efficiency benchmarks that need to be met, said Byrne. There are also requirements that go beyond the building’s sealed glass curtain wall, such as installing bike racks, to encourage energy efficiency off campus as well as on.

Byrne noted that new Local Laws 84 through 88 have pushed New York City building codes beyond the LEED standards, but the University continues to see value in LEED certification, which he said “has become an emblematic standard of excellence in the building industry.”

The certification is symbolic of ongoing efforts elsewhere at Fordham, he said. The Rose Hill the campus is experimenting with solar panels. Back at Lincoln Center the old Law School building is undergoing a transformation into the Gabelli School of Business. That 1961 building is getting a green overhaul as well, with an efficient curtain wall and new roofing standards.

“It is all part of a green movement that has taking place at Fordham for the past 40 years,” he said.


Tom Stoelker is senior staff writer and visual media coordinator for Fordham News. After fifteen years as a freelance designer, Tom shifted his focus to writing and photography. He graduated from Lehman College, CUNY where he majored in English literature and photography and he received his master's in journalism from Columbia University. His work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Wall Street Journal, and The Architect's Newspaper, where he was associate editor.