ACC’s commitment to students includes a commitment to protecting the future of their environment.

We see the integration of sustainable features into our communities as a critical component of delivering the best experiences for students. We know that a healthy, comfortable and socially responsible living environment is important to our residents, and to the future of our planet.

It’s not only the right thing to do; it also makes good business sense – generating long-term value through operational efficiencies that benefit our company, our stakeholders and our communities.

  • Building Design and Development

  • Resource Management

  • We conceive ACC student communities with an eye toward sustainability.

    New community development

    We consider environmental opportunities and challenges at every stage of a community’s lifecycle, from design to construction to everyday use. We use the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards from the U.S. Green Building Council as our baseline requirements, and then also customize to local regulations and geographic conditions. Some factors we evaluate during design and development include:

    • Environmental

      Site planning and circulation

      Prioritize walkability/distance to campus and select sites to minimize heat loads and facilitate natural ventilation.

    • Integrated Design Process

      Integrated design process

      Employ energy models that lower environmental effects while increasing operational efficiencies and long-term savings.

    • Building Specifications

      Building specifications and designs

      Apply innovative design principles to conserve water and energy, protect indoor air quality and create healthy living spaces.

    • Materials

      Materials selection

      Utilize regional and recycled products and responsible waste management processes to conserve valuable resources and to fuel the local economy.


    Proximity to campus is one of our investment criteria when we develop and acquire communities. Reducing students’ dependence on single-occupancy vehicles also reduces emissions and the impact cars can have on property sites.

    We are proud that 93% of ACC-owned properties are located within a half mile from campus, so students can easily walk or bike to class.


    ACC-Owned Communities: Distance to Campus*

    * as of 3/31/20. Includes owned communities, those currently under construction, and those expected to commence construction during the current calendar year.

    Chart: Distance to Campus

    Our Commitment to LEED®

    ACC has built 37 LEED-certified projects across the country – more than any other student housing provider. In 2019, we delivered two more communities, Plaza Verde at University of California, Irvine, and LightView at Northeastern University, targeted for LEED Platinum certification.

    We provide our university partners with innovative, practical methods for improving the sustainability of each proposed project. We have LEED-accredited professionals on our team. Our approach integrates design and technical considerations to meet budget requirements while maintaining environmental integrity.

    ACC Spotlights

    Development and Operations Standards

    We choose materials and fixtures that are highly resource-efficient, cost-effective and conducive to the health of our residents and the local environment. Below is a list of several baseline features we aim to include in each community, balanced against student affordability. We conduct thorough reviews of our operating and maintenance procedures for major mechanical systems, and hired an in-house engineer to oversee building and preventive maintenance programs and provide training to our on-site facilities staff.

    • Energy

      • ENERGY STAR® appliances
      • Motion/occupancy sensors – in both offices and auxiliary spaces
      • LED lighting throughout the community and units
      • Programmable and zoned thermostats in common areas
      • Timers on hot tubs and fire pits (reduces gas consumption)
      • HVAC commissioning, testing, adjusting and balancing (maximizes efficiency)
      • Building Automation Systems (BAS)
    • Water

      • Low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators
      • 1.28-gallons-per-flush efficiency toilets
      • Native plant landscaping
      • Advanced Irrigation controls
    • Waste

      • Touchless hand dryers (replace paper products)
      • Recycling programs
      • Durable, long-lasting floors and countertops
    • Indoor Environmental Quality

      • Low-VOC paint
      • Ceiling fans in each bedroom
      • Safer Choice cleaning products (meet U.S. EPA safer product standards)
      • Dilution control system (ensures proper mixing of cleaning chemicals)

    Sustainability Awards

    • Texan by Nature

      2019 TxN 20 List

      Made the inaugural list of 20 companies with Texas operations that have made a demonstrative commitment to conservation.

    • Student Housing Business Magazine

      Innovator Awards

      • On-campus Best Use of Green/Sustainable Development – David Blackwell Hall, Berkeley, CA
      • On-campus Best Use of Green & Sustainable Construction/Development – Tooker House, Tempe, AZ
      • Off-campus Best Use of Green & Sustainable Construction or Development – Suites at Third, Champaign, IL
  • We are good stewards of our planet’s finite natural resources.

    Baseline Measurement

    Our development and operations standards are designed to minimize our usage of natural resources. There’s a saying, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” and we’re committed to measuring and transparently reporting our resource usage so we can reduce it even further.

    In 2020, we are analyzing ACC’s 2019 energy use, water use and waste diversion data. We are also planning the implementation of an energy management system across our portfolio of owned real estate. We anticipate this program, by streamlining and automating many aspects of our resource management, will enable us to reduce our overall usage of electricity, gas and water.

    We expect to use this data to complete a greenhouse gas inventory, and to establish our usage baselines for external reporting and goal setting.

    Retrofit Projects

    We are retrofitting many of our acquired and older communities with the sustainability best practices we’ve established in newer developments.

    32 million

    kilowatt hours

    Since 2015, we have completed 125 LED lighting retrofit projects. These projects have saved an estimated 32 million kilowatt hours of electricity. That’s enough to power 3,831 homes for one year!

    Waste Diversion

    Waste Diversion

    In 2019, we recycled over 1,000 tons of waste at ACC communities. That’s enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool plus 20 concrete mixer trucks!

    ACC Spotlights