Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.47
Liaison Jenny McNamara
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Portland State University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Emily Quinton
Education + Outreach Coordinator
Campus Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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:

A graduate student continued research on options for offsite and onsite renewable energy procurement and development options.

Engineering students designed a stand-alone cooling system to support an energy-intensive laboratory. The system is being constructed using financing from the Green Revolving Fund. This project will reduce energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions.

The Waste Audit Living Lab Experience projects puts freshman inquiry courses on performing audits of campus building waste. Education in the classes focuses on the impacts of consumption, promoting reuse, and waste reduction, which have positive impacts on the campus's carbon emissions.


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:

Two Green Building student interns study building performance and develop recommendations for improvements to campus buildings each summer.

An engineering student constructed a test wall made of rammed earth and is conducting long-term monitoring to examine how this construction type fares in the Pacific Northwest climate.

A graduate student conducted occupant comfort and other post-occupancy surveys for a portion of the new Karl Miller Center, which opened in September 2017.

A graduate student researched and designed a green leasing program which, if implemented, would better align tenant spaces with institutional design standards, including resource-efficient appliances, low-emitting materials and finishes, and more.

A team of Mechanical Engineering capstone students developed a prototype for a mini chiller system in one of our main science buildings to reduce cooling load on the district energy system. The system is now being constructed using financing from the University Green Revolving Fund.


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:

A graduate student continued research on options for offsite and onsite renewable energy procurement and development options.

A team of Mechanical Engineering capstone students developed a prototype for a mini chiller system in one of our main science buildings to reduce cooling load on the district energy system. The system is now being constructed using financing from the University Green Revolving Fund.


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:

As part of the Waste Audit Living Lab Experience, students in a honors college course assisted with a food waste intervention in our main cafeteria, showing off uneaten food during lunch time at a "food waste buffet", measuring food scraps left behind, engaging student diners in surveys and educational materials through tabling and posters through out the cafeteria. The intervention is performed for one week each term, and data are also being used for a Phd dissertation.


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:

GIS students developed a system for mapping landscaping beds. This methodology is not being expanded in an effort to map landscaping beds and collect data on plant type, native/invasive status, and more.

Several current Living Lab projects are focused on our grounds and meeting the recommendations of our recent Salmon Safe certification. Examples include:
-Designing enhanced stormwater treatment for the vehicle wash station in our landscaping yard, building a covering for the compost and mulch piles in our landscaping yard, and also performing a tree inventory.


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:

A graduate student researched and designed a green leasing program which, if implemented, align tenant procurement practices with the University Sustainable Procurement and Life Cycle Consideration Policy.


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

A graduate student researched and designed a green leasing program that includes many elements around tenant waste management. This includes tenant alignment with the University Solid Waste Management Policy and partnership with internal waste management staff.

As part of the Waste Audit Living Lab Experience, students in a honors college course assisted with a food waste intervention in our main cafeteria, showing off uneaten food during lunch time at a "food waste buffet", measuring food scraps left behind, engaging student diners in surveys and educational materials through tabling and posters through out the cafeteria. The intervention is performed for one week each term, and data are also being used for a Phd dissertation.


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:

Several current Living Lab projects are focused on our grounds and meeting the recommendations of our recent Salmon Safe certification. Examples include:

-Students in honors urban ecology class did background research on storm water treatment best management practices to support development of an updated stormwater management plan.
-Designing enhanced stormwater treatment and mitigation strategies (e.g. a rain garden) for the vehicle wash station in our landscaping yard, building a covering for the compost and mulch piles in our landscaping yard to prevent nutrient runoff into sewers/river ecosystems, and improved stormwater management features in the lot behind our art building.


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:

Students in honors urban ecology class did background research on storm water treatment best management practices to support development of an updated stormwater management plan.

A graduate student researched and designed a green leasing program which, if implemented, would better align tenant spaces with institutional design standards, including resource-efficient appliances, low-emitting materials and finishes, and more. This project was completed under the guidance of the Campus Planning Office, Campus Sustainability Office, and Facilities & Property Management.


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

Through the Waste Audit Living Lab Experience (WALL-E) students assisted with an event called No Scrap Left Behind. During this event, students assisted with gathering and tracking food waste generated in a dining hall during lunch throughout the course of a week. The event included an information table where anyone in the dining hall could stop by and sign a pledge to reduce food waste.


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 campus apiary has been developed in our orchard, with a focus not only on educating the campus community about bees and their contributions to a healthy ecosystem and food system, but also promotion of pollinator-friendly grounds, which also helps with air quality and a sense of place and wellbeing for our campus community.


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:

An engineering student constructed a test wall made of rammed earth and is conducting long-term monitoring to examine how this construction type fares in the Pacific Northwest climate. This technology is traditionally used in areas like the southwestern United States. The test wall, in addition to serving as a real-life experiment, is visible to the campus community to interact with.


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