Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Julie Newman
Submission Date Oct. 23, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.00 / 2.00 MIT Office of Sustainability
Director
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):
168 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 0 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 0 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 118 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 118 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):

Of the 168 acre campus, approximately 97 acres is comprised of landscaped grounds, pathways, and campus roadways managed by the MIT Grounds Department. Approximately 21 acres is comprised of athletic fields and outdoor athletic facilities and is managed by the MIT Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation. The remaining 50 acres is covered by building footprints.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
0

A copy of the IPM plan or program:
---

A brief description of the IPM program:

NA


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:
0

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 Grounds Department seeks to manage the campus by optimizing natural approaches and minimizing chemical inputs. The Department is expanding its baseline understanding of the MIT campus through the completion of a 2017 tree inventory and by developing campus soil and tree protection specifications. The landscape is managed by 17 different zones with a landscape worker assigned to maintain each zone on a daily basis. MIT recently completed a Phase 1 Sustainable Stormwater and Landscape Ecology Plan that will help the Institute chart a more sustainable path forward.


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

MIT updated its tree inventory in 2017 to enable tracking of maintenance programs and regular inspections for certain ornamental trees (e.g. protect against soil compaction). Each year, 320 trees are targeted for specific pruning and maintenance so that the entire campus tree inventory (approximately 2,000 trees) is individually maintained every 7 years. Some priority landscape areas are pruned and maintained multiple times per year.
Starting in 2018, MIT is aiming to coordinate campus tree maintenance and planning with the City of Cambridge's urban canopy master plan process (scheduled to commence 2018).


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

MIT seeks to maximize use of natural hydrologic systems for maintaining urban campus vegetation on highly constrained fill soils. Currently, MIT has 18 best management practice installations for rain gardens, porous pavement and green roofs that are designed to achieve a variety of water quality and quantity goals. MIT seeks to reduce potable water use for landscape by identifying and repairing approximately 90% of irrigation leaks and renovating an existing rainwater catchment cistern. MIT is aiming to use a master irrigation control system that can enable measurement of use as well as leak indication and identification.


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

Organic material collected from campus grounds is transported off campus and processed into soil. Rather than shipping the material back to campus, the newly created soil is used off campus.


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

MIT follows LEED V4 landscape requirements for new construction to minimize heat-island effect.


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 Grounds Department seeks to manage the campus by optimizing natural approaches and minimizing chemical inputs. MIT experimented in 2016 and 2017 with beet sugar to raise the melting point of icy surfaces as an alternative to more intensive chemical inputs. However, the testing found that beet sugar was not sufficiently effective at reducing safety risks to warrant continued use.


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

This information is based upon practices by the MIT Grounds Department.

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.