Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall

A Living Building Challenge structure that provides academic and lab spaces for our growing environmental programs, located on Washington College's Waterfront Campus.

Building Features


Living Building Challenge

Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall was built to achieve Living Building Challenge Certification. Living Building Challenge is a sustainable development model that is a step above LEED certification. Not only does this certification require that we use sustainable building materials and thoughtful decision making around the natural environment, but it also requires that the building produces at least  105% of the energy that it will use. This will be achieved through a strand of solar panels that will be stationed on the roof of the building, along with geothermal wells that are installed underneath the building. Living Building Challenge also requires a focus on the health and happiness of the building tenants, along with a focus on art and accessibility to the community.


Three Innovative Lab Spaces

  • Wet Lab and River Flow-Through System – The wet lab hosts a river flow-through system, which pumps water from the Chester River directly into and out of the lab. This allows our students to study different aspects of the Chester River in a controlled environment using water directly from the river.   

  • Watershed Innovation Lab – The Watershed Innovation lab serves as the home to CES’s Chester River Watershed Observatory. Here, students have the opportunity to work on buoys that monitor the river’s water quality, side-scan sonar, build AquaBotz and more.   

  • Environmental and Biology Lab – The third lab serves as a laboratory learning space for some Environmental and Biology courses at Washington College. 

Waterfront Classroom Space

The classroom at SGEH is used for multiple Environmental and Biology courses, along with serving as the on-campus classroom for CES’s Chesapeake Semester. 


The Center for Environment & Society's Headquarters

SGEH is the new home to the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College, one of three Signature Centers that focus on providing undergraduate students with graduate-level experiences outside of the classroom. 


Thank you for your interest in reserving space in the Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall. In order to reserve space in Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall, or with questions regarding the building, please contact Conference Services at 410-778-7253.