Most of the Universitas Sumatera Utara buildings use natural sunlight for interior lighting. Some buildings with a cantilevered floor design give a shadow to the floor underneath to reduce the solar thermal heat. The use of natural sunlight can also reduce electrical consumption during the day. The USU Teaching Hospital lobby is designed with a hot attic chimney system to allow natural air circulation from the ground floor to the roof. It makes the entrance relaxed and comfortable without using the electric air conditioner. Natural ventilation at the hospital occurs due to a difference in air pressure and temperature to drive the air. The design element uses the inner court with a 1:1 ratio with the height of the building; thus, the inner court planted with grass remains shadowed during the day to reduce micro temperature up to 30C. The temperature difference between the inner court and the outdoor space drives the air through the corridors and hospital rooms.
USU has five sources of renewable energy produced on campus. They are:
- Electricity from solar panel. Solar panels found in the Main Administration Building (21 kWp capacity), Mechanical Engineering Laboratory (3 kWp capacity), the Rooftop of Electrical Departemen Integrated one classroom (280 Wp capacity), solar-powered lights along at Universitas Street (5.5 kWp capacity), and Solar charging at shuttle bus (2 x 150 Wp)
- Wind Turbine (capacity 800 watt)
- Water Turbine (Pump as Turbine/PAT) (capacity 586 watt)
- Electricity from speed bump (Combine Heat and Power) (less than 100 Watt)
- Biomass Pyrolysis (capacity 500 watt)