Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Megan Litke
Submission Date March 30, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

American University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Hannah Debelius
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing Yes
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment No
Public Engagement Yes
Other Yes

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Environmental Studies: Students studies the implications and intentions of green building on campus intended to reduce carbon emissions and air pollutants since half of AU electricity comes from burning coal.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Environmental Studies: Students use LEED certified buildings on campus as case studies building design. In 2015, used the LEED certification process for the SIS Building and the new Law School building at Tenleytown.

Environmental Science: Students use the SIS LEED gold building to explore the environmental and occupant benefits of green building including ambient lighting, spectrally selective glass, and sun shading.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Urban Agriculture class works in campus garden and edible plants around campus to explore issues of food accessibility and urban gardening.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Students use the case study of AU's solar power contract.

Students use the data of onsite PV installations and PV module orientation and operation.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Sustainability and the environment class: Sustainability tour to a made up of students studying in DC for the semester covered wastewater and runoff issues specific to DC and how AU is mitigating those issues with bioswalls, green roofs, rain gardens, and reduction of impervious pavement

Professors use the campus arboretum to discuss tree species, native species, and green space.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Students worked with the viability assessment and contract of AU purchasing a solar array, completed in 2015 to supply 50% of campus electricity. The class then took a field trip to North Carolina to see solar array.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

School of International Service: Class used campus bike share and bike lanes around campus to explore issues of equity in DC and the prevalence or lack of bike lanes in communities of varying socioeconomic status.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Director of Sustainability spoke with classes in the MS for Sustainability Management program about challenges and solutions for compost specific to AU’s campus, including how students could contribute.

Zero Waste coordinator commonly speaks to environmental classes about compost.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Environmental Science: A class uses the case study of SIS roof rainwater collection, rain gardens, green roofs as it relates to reducing runoff to the Chesapeake Bay.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

n/a


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

n/a


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Public Health class uses the campus arboretum to discuss the role of green space in de-stressing, health, and wellbeing. This includes tours of campus arboretum and the use of green space to increase wellness.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

n/a


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Campus Beautification Day invites all faculty, staff, students, and some community member to a large scale day of service to improve campus grounds. In past years, this has included planting dozens of trees to contribute to the arboretum.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

MS in Real Estate program hosted a delegation from the Institute for Real Estate Management in April and coordinated with the Office of Sustainability to take them on a campus sustainability tour.


The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:
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