Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.12
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date July 25, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Emory University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.73 / 2.00 Kelly Weisinger
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
736.40 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 134.28 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 355 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 489.28 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):
46 acres of Roads; 14.3 acres of service drives; 31.68 acres of sidewalks; 34 acres of surface lots; 19.28 acres of parking decks; 71.86 acres of buildings; and 30 acres of water for a total of 247.12 acres of land excluded from area of managed grounds.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:

A copy of the IPM plan or program:
A brief description of the IPM program:
Integrated Pest Managment (IPM) practices are followed for disease and insect control. IPM is a four-tiered series of pest management evaluations, decisions and controls. The four-tiers are as follows:
1. Set an action threshold or a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate action must be taken
2. Monitor and identify pests
3. Prevent pests from becoming a threat using effective and cost-efficient practices. This includes using cultural methods, such as selecting pest-resistant plant varieties and planting plants in proper environment to reduce stress.
4. Control of pest using effective, less risky pest controls which include the use of highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:

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:
The Emory University community has long recognized that the original, hardwood forest lands of Emory represent irreplaceable value for current and future generations of Emory students, staff and faculty. Recognizing that all of Emory’s forest areas need a comprehensive management plan, the Committee on the Environment and Campus Services partnered to develop an Emory University Forest Management Plan. The goal is to create, restore, enhance and maintain its forested areas.
The following best practices are followed to eliminate the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides:
• Grass is mowed as needed, generally on a weekly basis. Aeration is performed as required but no less than two times per year.
• Manual weed control is practiced.
• Adequate fertilizer is applied to ensure all plant materials are healthy and growing vigorously and amounts depend on species, length of growing season, soils and rainfall. Only environmentally approved products are used.
• Frequency of irrigation use is determined by rainfall amounts, temperature, season and demands of plant material.

In 2014, Emory University became the first university in the country to ban neonicotinoid pesticides and implement a comprehensive pollinator protection campaign. http://news.emory.edu/stories/2014/09/er_bee_pledge_commitment/campus.html

A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:
The Emory Sustainability Vision set a goal to "restore forested lands and control harmful invasive species on university campus." In conjunction with this goal, the “use of native plant materials” is included in the Elements of the Emory Vocabulary recorded in the Campus Master Plan Update 2005. All plant material shall comply with the Landscape Master Plan Palette included in the Emory University Campus Design Guidelines. The Landscape Master Plan Palette is a list of plants native to plant hardiness zone 7. Plant material not included in the Landscape Master Plan Palette must be approved by the Emory University Superintendent of Roads and Grounds and the Emory University Landscape Architect.

A 2016 study of higher education institutions published by The Times Higher Education ranked Emory as number 1 in the U.S. among 103 research universities for "greenness of campus," referring to abundance of green space. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/physical-campus-qualities-impact-retention-and-graduation#

A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:
Emory practices continual streambank restoration and management, including hosting groups of students to plant pollinator-attractive plants in 25-foot streambank buffers across campus to enhance pollinator habitat while employing green infrastructure to slow and clean stormwater and runoff.

Cisterns are located around campus that allow for harvested rainwater to be used wherever the water is needed for irrigation, and in some buildings, for toilet flushing.

Bioretention swales have been constructed in several areas, which are designed to filter stormwater runoff from pavement, and slow the flow of water before it returns to the watershed.

Emory is committed to restoring and maintaining the connectivity of Emory's forests, particularly the natural corridor along South Peachtree Creek from Wesley Woods, through Harwood Forest and the Lullwater Preserve, within the context of its Piedmont origins.

Emory's Design and Construction Standards state that "Emory supports the reduced use of potable water for landscape irrigation purposes. The design team should evaluate strategies such as specifying indigenous plant species requiring little or no irrigation, the use of high efficiency micro-irrigation, storm-water and/or HVAC condensate harvesting. Following this guidance may enable the project to achieve the Water Efficiency Credit 1 – Water Efficient Landscaping under the current LEED rating system." The Standards also state that "[a]ll Emory projects shall attempt to meet and exceed the requirements of Sustainable Sites Credits 6.1 and 6.2 – Stormwater Management: Quantity and Quality Control under the current LEED rating system. . . . [E]mphasis shall be placed on reducing impervious cover, increasing on-site infiltration, reducing or eliminating contaminants from runoff, and stormwater harvesting."

A brief description of the institution's approach to materials management and waste minimization (e.g. composting and/or mulching on-site waste):
Green waste from landscape maintenance activities is included in Emory's composting program, which also handles food waste, paper towels, and animal bedding from campus facilities. Emory partners with Southern Green Industries for collection and transport of compostable waste to a local commercial composting facility.

A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:
Emory's Design Guidelines state that "all projects shall attempt to meet and exceed the requirements of Sustainable Sites Credit 7.1 – Heat Island Effect: Non-Roof under the current LEED rating system. Generally, emphasis shall be placed on reducing heat islands to minimize impacts on microclimates and human and wildlife habitats by providing shade and/or light-colored/high-albedo materials in an acceptable combination to provide coverage for at least 50% of the sites non-roof impervious surface. . . . Beyond the requirements of the credit, any projects utilizing materials which are allowed by the design standard, but which have a low reflectance (i.e. red brick, asphalt, etc.) shall be offset by other materials in the project to reduce the heat island effect. For example, if 100 square foot of asphalt is required on the project, 100 square foot of area, beyond the 50% to meet credit requirements should be included for another design element such as shade or high-albedo concrete."

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):
The Emory Grounds Department uses an environmentally friendly product for de-icing.

In 2014, Emory University became the first university in the country to ban neonicotinoid pesticides and implement a comprehensive pollinator protection campaign. Emory's Design & Construction Standards state that the use of neonicotinoids and plant material (trees, shrubs, groundcovers, plants, turf and seed) treated with neonicotinoids are not acceptable. All plant material must be certified to have been produced or grown without the use of neonicotinoids, and all contractors must provide certification that all plant materials are neonicotinoid free.

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
Data reported for 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Emory's Pollinator Protection Plan http://news.emory.edu/stories/2014/09/er_bee_pledge_commitment/campus.html

Times Higher Education ranking for campus environment https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/physical-campus-qualities-impact-retention-and-graduation#

Lullwater Comprehensive Management Plan: http://emoryforest.emory.edu/lullwater/lcmpfinala.pdf

Emory's Forest Management Plan:http://sustainability.emory.edu/uploads/press/2014/04/2014040910595134/forest-management-plan.pdf

Emory's No Net Loss of Tree Canopy Policy: http://www.campserv.emory.edu/fm/documents/forest_canopy.pdf

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.