Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.69
Liaison Barbara Kviz
Submission Date Feb. 7, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Carnegie Mellon University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Nina Baird
Teaching Professor & Academic Chair of Green Practices
Architecture
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

Students compiled our first campus Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Carbon Footprint as a senior class project and since then, we have calculated our GHG Inventory annually. The inventory is publicly available online to be used as a resource for class projects. We have improved on the accuracy of the data we collect every year, and saw a huge decrease in our carbon footprint the year we switched from coal to natural gas in our Bellefield Boiler Plant.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

CMU's Center for Building Performance & Diagnostics (CBPD), a pre-fabricated structure installed on the roof of Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall, was created to be and has successfully served as a lived-in and living laboratory for the School of Architecture and the extended campus community since 1997. Ongoing indoor air quality and thermal comfort studies; the testing and performance assessment of high-performance/low impact building conditioning technology such concentrating solar technology support absorption cooling, radiant cooling with desiccant dehumidification, and underfloor air systems; the development of phone-based controls for lighting, shading devices and ventilation; and the evaluation of a host of other occupant-focused sustainable building strategies are constantly occurring here. In addition, faculty and graduate students housed within the Center have developed several diagnostic devices and user interfaces to assess and communicate building performance information to occupants both on and off campus. Students from around the world who attend Carnegie Mellon and register for courses taught by CBPD faculty benefit from the ongoing research conducted there, from the opportunity to conduct individual research projects and to evaluate the application of research findings in CBPD to the development and operation of buildings else on campus, elsewhere within the US, and within their home countries. https://soa.cmu.edu/cbpd/

In addition, CMU now has 22 LEED-rated buildings or projects on campus. These LEED projects have been used as learning and research opportunities for students. The Stever House, the first LEED-rated dormitory in the US, is a freshman residence hall and every year continues to hold environmental programming as part of the students' activities.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

The Center for Building Performance & Diagnostics (CPBD), mentioned above, uses OSIsoft's Pi server and software to aggregate, analyze and display energy consumption data for CBPD and for many other campus buildings. CBPD faculty also have funded research to do similar analysis of a wide range of public and private buildings. Students who work with the data and/or who are taught by CBPD faculty gain valuable insights into building energy consumption drivers and patterns, and ways to reduce total energy and demand profiles.

CMU's Facility Management Services can also provide students and faculty with an increasing array of data from campus buildings, including detailed operational profiles of mechanical equipment (e.g., individual AHUs) in newer buildings. This supports exploration of current building/equipment performance as well as the potential for improved equipment/performance.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

The Department of Student Affairs (DOSA) is very supportive of the dining and food services environmental practices. They support zero waste events, food composting, and offer weekly Farmers Markets for the students. They funded the Winthrop Street Community Garden and have used the vegetables grown in the garden in the campus kitchens.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

Facilities Management Services has replaced most of the outdoor trash/recycling units with BigBelly Solar compactors to increase efficiency with labor and capture more recycling. We have received a Tree Campus USA designation for the past 3 years and practice Integrated Pest Management on our grounds.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:

Members of the purchasing department collaborate with the Green Practices Committee and the Staff Council Sustainability Committee. They write contracts that require contractors to minimize chemicals and recycle their products. In example, all preferred carpeting vendors that replace carpeting on campus must recycle the old carpeting and use low VOC glues. The purchase of 30% recycled content paper is widely used and promoted on campus and Energy Star-rated computers and equipment are routinely purchased.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

Parking and Transportation teams with the Green Practices Committee to promote sustainable options for commuting. CMU provides a free bus pass for all faculty, staff and students, and participates in the zipcar program. We have a Bicycle Advisory Committee that meets routinely to discuss and share ideas as to how the campus can become more bicycle friendly. We have been designated as Bike Friendly Employer by our local Bike Pittsburgh organization and have been certified as a silver level Bike Friendly University with the League of American Cyclists.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

For 13 years, Carnegie Mellon has participated in the RecycleMania contest and has conducted several waste sorts, with the help from students. During freshman Orientation we hold a zero waste dinner one evening during the week and students collect food composting throughout orientation week. The students are working with FMS to install more food composting collection bins in the resident and dining halls. Food composting was established in the academic departments in January 2013 and is now located in over 50 locations on campus.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

Our campus has 51,515 sq ft of green roofs, engineered terrains, dry wells, pervious pavement, a retention pond, and bio-swales to manage storm water. Some of these projects were designed and built by students. Three of our buildings collect rain water which is used for irrigation and for flushing bathroom toilets. Our 2016 stormwater project, installation of 175,000-gallon capacity of underground storage tanks, is designed to capture rainwater from building downspouts to be used as make-up water for campus chilled water system (cooling towers).


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:

The Green Practices Committee (GPC) works with faculty, staff and students to coordinate, plan and carry out green practices on campus. In 2018, GPC re-instituted an annual goals-based approach to its efforts. Among these goals were campus energy, emissions and water use plans; development of wastewater reclamation infrastructure; increasing zero waste food vending; increasing campus awareness of sustainability activities; updating the campus green practices room; and increasing the building metering network on campus. Staff, faculty and students participated in each goal team and will continue with approach in 2019.

There are also several project-based courses on campus each academic year. As an example, for Fall 2018, EPP-SDS project course on “Sustainability at Carnegie Mellon: A Path Forward.” Student working in groups pieced together and analyzed the many activities at CMU related to sustainability.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

Diversity and Inclusion is a campus goal in CMU's Strategic Plan 2025.
In Fall 2017, the Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion opened to students as a space inside the Jared L. Cohon University Center. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion has instantly become an important meeting place, resource center, and "home base" for all students, particularly students of color and student-led organizations. See: https://www.cmu.edu/student-diversity/about-us/index.html


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

During any campus wide planning, Carnegie Mellon's administration is committed to giving all parties a voice in the planning process. For the university Strategic Plan, several stakeholder meetings have taken place gaining feedback and recommendations from the campus community. By including a wide range of voices, the planning for the university's future, best reflects its surrounding community.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

A primary focus of research within the CBPD, mentioned above, is occupant health and wellbeing. One of the well-recogized researchers in this field, Vivian Loftness, FAIA, teaches and does ongoing research on workplace health and productivity. https://soa.cmu.edu/news-archive/2018/4/5/vivian-loftness-receives-nesea-2018-professional-leadership-award Students who take her classes and/or participate in her research gain substantial insight into the value of occupant health and wellbeing as a essential aspect of building performance.

In addition, CMU places a high priority on individual health and wellbeing. This is addressed in the CMU 2025 Strategic Plan. Myriad programs serve the entire campus community and are described in PA-13. In addition, we have recently established a Campus Wellness Program and Program Director for Student Affairs Wellness Initiatives. https://www.cmu.edu/wellness/


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:

See response above to Buildings. Within CBPD, both students and faculty develop sensors, controllers, feedback devices and user-interfaces as part of class projects, thesis work, or funded research.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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