Many universities are choosing to green their buildings and campuses. The Princeton Review partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council to produce the 2010-2011 "Guide to 286 Green Colleges," which focuses on the sustainable efforts of a number of colleges, many of which have adopted green building and development practices.

While it is not included in the Princeton’s Review’s 2010-2011 list of “Green Colleges,” The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art made headlines for its new building at 41 Cooper Square in Manhattan. In October 2010, The Cooper Union achieved LEED Platinum certification under the LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations Rating System for 41 Cooper Square, a 175,000 square foot laboratory, studio, and classroom facility consisting of 9 floors, and spanning a full block. 41 Cooper Square is New York City’s first academic building to achieve this highest level of LEED certification. One of the notable green technologies that The Cooper Union implemented is a semi-transparent building skin consisting of perforated stainless steel panels. This mesh-like screen limits heat that enters the building during the summer and insulates the building's interior during the winter.

Projects seeking certification under many of the current LEED rating systems can earn multiple points for the Energy and Atmosphere Credit: Optimize Energy Performance. The intent of this credit is to icnrease energy performance levels beyond prerequisites for LEED certification. Designing a building envelope to maximize energy performance (like the building skin at 41 Cooper Square) is one of the strategies used to achieve Optimize Energy Performance credits.