Center for the Use of Sustainable Practices

About CUSP
Mission and Objective
Sister Centers
CUSP Projects
Get Involved
CUSP Events
CUSP Contacts








The Center for the Use of Sustainable Practices (CUSP) was founded in 2008 at University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation as an inter-disciplinary center for the design, research and transfer of sustainable practices. A year later, CUSP began operating under the umbrella provided by the National Center for Smart Growth. Conducting research and engaging in design, education and public outreach activities, CUSP focuses on sustainable practices at multiple scales: the building, the community and the city.

CUSP competes regularly in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, placing nationally and internationally in the top standings. University of Maryland recently won first place at the 2011 Solar Decathlon competition. CUSP also pursues independent and often unconventional projects and research questions combining public, philanthropic and private sources to support these boundary-crossing undertakings.

Mission and Objective

CUSP's mission is to foster an innovative integration of sources and challenges to expand the opportunities to address enhancing the potential for current and future practitioners in our related disciplines charged with creating built environments and crossing generational and academic–industry boundaries.

Building on the basis of multidisciplinary collaboration, joining with other Schools and Colleges within the University as well as affiliated colleagues in the professional community, the Center provides a unified venue for design, research, and outreach through integrated and interdisciplinary activities not afforded by providing the typical architectural or engineering venues of professional services.

CUSP’s objective is to use our resources as an academic institution to best assist clients or stakeholders in achieving economical and equitable sustainable development and design.

  • Serve as an informational resource center for the application of sustainable design solutions, concepts, and materials to real life projects.
  • Advance sustainable design research and design development.
  • Educate UM students and the public on sustainable design best practices.


The University of Maryland is one the United States' foremost research and land-grant institutions. Land-grant institutions were created to serve communities through providing accessible research and education in service of the nation’s natural resources, and shaping and disseminating knowledge in support of their stewarding the abundance of those resources.

Geographically, the University of Maryland and CUSP have a central position on the eastern seaboard; surrounding the Chesapeake Bay with its vast watershed; reaching west to the Appalachian Mountains, connection to the cultural, political, and intellectual resources of the Baltimore-Washington corridor; as well as being at the doorstep of the national regulatory and research agencies in Washington, DC.

These factors make UM the perfect location for a vibrant center with access to the local and national resources to make sustainable design an achievable goal.

Sister Centers

Learn more about CUSP's sister centers.


Garth Rockcastle, FAIA, Director
Amy Gardner AIA, LEED AP, Project Leader

Center for the Use of Sustainable Practices
Building 054
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Phone (301) 405-5755
Fax (301) 314-9583