Cougar Woods Dining Hall

Our new 25,000-square-foot dining hall facility, with seating for 600 people, has been designed as a glass pavilion nestled in the trees with views toward the long-standing Cullen Woods and gardens on the UH main campus. On an undeveloped tract at the edge of the interior campus, the building was located to maximize retention of the existing old growth trees. The building will be a focal point for student life with shaded exterior dining adjacent to major pedestrian pathways, a bridge from the original student housing zone to surrounding housing sites—including the new Cougar Place, and an entry marker to the central portion of campus from scattered perimeter housing sites and surrounding neighborhood. Service access and building placement is coordinated with a master planned proposed loop road to be implemented as a result of upcoming light rail construction on the street adjoining the site to the south. Materials of brick, glass and precast shell limestone recall the existing palette of the UH campus. Currently under construction, Cougar Woods Dining Hall is targeting Silver LEED certification.

UH Dining Case Study

Dining targeting Silver LEED certification:
Cougar Woods Dining Hall is located on a site with strong access to public transportation and building siting preserves of a large amount of open vegetated space. The building features daylight harvesting controls to optimize the efficient lighting scheme, high performance glazing, and water conserving domestic plumbing fixtures (estimated savings of 20% potable water). During construction, strong commitments to construction waste management, materials stewardship, and maintenance of indoor air quality also contributed toward sustainable goals. Energy demand reduction strategies, coupled with efficient HVAC equipment and energy recovery, are strategies estimated to yield 30% energy savings annually.

Sustainability is important to our students and community. UH Dining Services is committed to implementing programs that make the university greener like requiring Fair Trade coffee at all coffee shops on campus, encouraging students to dine without a tray and use reusable to-go containers, and growing produce in the community garden on campus.

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Fair Trade at UH
Fair trade is a social-responsibility movement that requires buyers of products (coffee, tea, sugar and chocolate) to pay producers fairly, which allows the producers to have a higher standard of living. Producers are required to use sustainable farming methods and invest in community development.

Fair Trade Purchase Statistics

here to view a campus map

Where to find Fair Trade Coffee on campus:

Melcher Hall (Bauer College of Business)

Moody Towers Residence Halls
Fresh Food Company

Calhoun Lofts
Cougar Express Market

Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall (PGH)
Einstein Bros Bagels

University Center (UC)
Java City
Shasta's Cones and More

Cougar Village Cougar Xpress Market

ERP Cougar Xpress

Stadium Garage Cougar Xpress Mini Market

Cougar Woods Dining Hall


Cougar Xpress Mini Market

Additional Links
Einstein Bros Bagels Fair Trade Policy
Java City Fair Trade Policy
Starbucks Fair Trade Policy

Our Green Initiatives

  • Use paper made from 50% recycled material in all locations and recycle paper and cardboard.

  • To-go soup containers and all napkins are made from recycled materials.
  • Use energy efficient lightbulbs in our locations.

  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products.

  • Reuseable to-go containers keep 90,000 Styrofoam boxes out of landfills each year.

  • Reuseable Green Thread mugs reduce paper cup waste and save you money on fountain drinks.

  • UHDS participates in Recyclemania every year, helping UH to reduce its waste and increase its recycling.

  • Tray-less Dining

    Sustainability is very important to our students and community, and we believe this is just one example of the partnership between UH Dining Services, students, faculty and administration on topics of conservation and environmental stewardship.

    UH Dining Services removed trays from dining locations on campus in an effort to support environmental stewardship. Tray-less dining reduces an institution’s environmental footprint by decreasing waste and conserving water and energy. University of Houston decided to ‘go tray-less’ as a result of research, conducted by ARAMARK, University of Houston's dining provider, which presents a sound business case for the removal of trays and indicates that customers are ready to accept tray-less dining.

    In one study, ARAMARK surveyed over 92,000 students, faculty, and staff at 300 colleges and universities across the country to gauge their support of tray removal. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents said they would support tray-less dining in an effort to reduce campus waste, thus countering the belief that tray removal would not be accepted due to inconvenience or customer dissatisfaction. In the University of Houston Spring 2008 DiningStyle Survey, seventy-six percent of respondents stated they would accept the removal of trays from all dining locations in an effort to reduce waste on campus.

    In a complementary study, ARAMARK measured food wasted from more than 186,000 meals served at over 25 higher education institutions during the academic year. ARAMARK reports food waste quantity was reduced by 1.2 to 1.8 ounces per person per meal when trays were removed from dining facilities. This represents a 25 to 30 percent reduction in food waste per person.


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