Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.17
Liaison Megan Litke
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

American University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.09 / 2.00 Hannah Moskowitz
Sustainability Analyst
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
84 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses a four-tiered approach 76.72 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an organic land care standard or sustainable landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials 7.28 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 84 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds (e.g. the footprint of buildings and impervious surfaces, experimental agricultural land, areas that are not regularly managed or maintained):
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Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
91.33

A copy of the IPM plan or program:
A brief description of the IPM program:
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Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:
8.67

A brief description of the organic land standard or landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials:

In Grounds Zone B of our campus, we are running a pilot that excludes all inorganic fertilizers and pesticides from the landscape management of this area. The supervisor of this zone has an Organic Land Care certification from the New England Organic Farming Association.


A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:

American University Arboretum and Gardens has a goal of planting at least 50% of the university grounds with native plant species. New plantings prioritize native and adaptive plants wherever possible. Sustainable landscape features are, green roofs, rain gardens, bio-retention swales, permeable paving, and water reuse and reclamation. Pollinator plants and gardens are a highlight for the university and are included in most gardens on campus. Plants are strategically chosen to bloom during as much of the year as possible, helping sustain pollinators almost year-round. Bees are kept on campus in the apiary on the Mary Graydon Center. Invasive species are actively removed from campus whenever possible and we abstain from using them on campus. Our entire campus is designated as an arboretum, which includes an educational component for certification. In most weeks, multiple tours are given to faculty, staff, students, and community members to engage them in the campus landscape.


A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:

American University has a variety of stormwater management features including green roofs, stormwater retention ponds, and rain gardens. Rainwater is collected on the roof of the School of International Service building and is filtered in the cistern. Irrigation is run on an automated system that is connected to a weather station on campus to reduce potable water use for irrigation. Rainwater is collected in Cassell as well and is used for irrigation.


A brief description of the institution's approach to materials management and waste minimization (e.g. composting and/or mulching on-site waste):

Our campus is very committed to waste reduction, composting, and recycling. All yard waste and leaf litter from campus is composted in offsite facilities. We do a small amount of composting of food scraps and garden waste in the campus community garden. We also purchase compost from the Prince Georges County composting facility where we take our yard waste.


A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:

On campus, we plant trees near buildings to reduce heating and cooling costs. We also have multiple green roofs on campus that provide insulation, extend the life of the roof, reduce heat gain, and for water retention.


A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution (e.g. use of environmentally preferable landscaping materials, initiatives to reduce the impacts of ice and snow removal, wildfire prevention):

Hand shoveling and brush-sweeping equipment is used. Magnesium chloride (MgCl) is used as a deicer alternative to NaCl on walkways and stairs. AU is also looking at other alternatives to find the most environmentally friendly road salt, such as possibly Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA). Our campus also has a community garden to engage students in gardening and sustainable food production. Campus is also a part of the Tree Campus USA program. AU utilizes permeable paving when possible. Gator bags are used for trees to maximize the efficient use of potable water.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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American University does not exclusively manage organically, through a third party and/or protected although we incorporate organic practices using organic fertilizers, composting, IPM, and expansion of the campus tree canopy (carbon sequestration).

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.