Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.74
Liaison Moira Hafer
Submission Date June 28, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Stanford University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
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):
8,180 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 2,108 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) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 2,108 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):

The footprint of the campus's buildings and impervious surfaces is approximately 1,164 acres, per Stanford's GIS map layers, which has been excluded from the totals above. In addition, 4,908 acres of Stanford's land has been preserved as undeveloped oak woodland. Some undeveloped areas include Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, the campus arboretum, and small oak groves across campus.

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:

Stanford first launched an IPM program in 1997 through Buildings & Grounds Maintenance (BGM). By taking an IPM approach, the Grounds department attempts to use the most environmentally sound methods for controlling pests that negatively impact the health of plant life on campus. Every attempt is made to find the most innovative and least toxic way of controlling pests, using chemicals only as a last resort.

Goals of the IPM Program at Stanford include:
-- Reduce pesticide use and associated exposure risks
-- Reduce the cost of pest control on campus
-- Minimize harm to the environment
-- Improve long-term plant protection
-- Train and educate staff members about the Grounds IPM program

Monitoring for pests and beneficial insects on Stanford plants is one of the main approaches used by the Grounds department as part of our Integrated Pest Management program.

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:

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

Native plants are prioritized in landscaping for maintained areas across campus, and Stanford places special care upon preserving native trees that need to be relocated during the course of construction projects. An article describing the Stanford tree transplant program is available here: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/march/tree-transplant-program-031413.html.

Stanford's Land Use and Environmental Planning group (LUEP) runs the Stanford Conservation Program, which prioritizes plant stewardship in their work on Stanford's grounds. For instance, the Stanford Conservation Program Manager leads four weed-pulling days per year in conservation easements with up to 25 community volunteers, and staff regularly work to educate construction and maintenance workers on how to minimize the impacts of construction on local plant and animal species (especially those covered under the Habitat Conservation Plan, discussed in the Biodiversity credit).

In 2015, the Applications Support team in Lands, Building and Real Estate assisted the Grounds department in developing a tree inventory application to allow grounds crews to easily map the locations of trees and monitor tree health on iPads. The automation of the tree inventory process has already saved grounds crews significant amounts of time in conducting their annual tree inventories.

Extensive Facility Design Guidelines and Landscape Design Guidelines (attached to this credit as additional documentation) address policies and recommendations for native planting and avoidance of invasive species. More information on each of these guidelines and programs can be found at the links below.

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

All in all, Stanford has reduced its total water consumption by 49% since 2000, largely thanks to improved irrigation strategies. Stanford’s irrigation responds to site conditions using data collected from an on-site weather station with an automated Maxicom Irrigation Controller that conserves 20% more water than conventional irrigation methods. Non-domestic water sourced from Stanford’s Searsville and Felt Lakes is used to irrigate at least 80% of the campus landscape. Swales and detention areas planted with native vegetation are integrated into new project landscape designs.

Since the inception of the California drought in 2014, Stanford has redoubled its efforts to reduce irrigation. Stanford's Grounds department has reduced its water consumption by 25% since 2013 and plans to use the current levels as its benchmark for further reductions, despite the easing of the California drought. Additionally, within the Faculty Staff Housing area, Stanford limited irrigation with potable water to two days per week during the drought, in accordance with statewide restrictions. Those requirements can be found in a letter from Provost Etchemendy to faculty/staff residents in June 2015 (https://news.stanford.edu/2015/07/02/water-conservation-campus-070215/) but were recently lifted. Stanford Utilities also offered various classes to residents on topics including Weather-based Irrigation Controllers (basic functionality and the benefits), Water Conservation 101 (in partnership with the Bay Area Water Supply & Conservation Agency), as well as supporting BAWSCA’s landscape classes throughout the spring and summer. Stanford Utilities sent out monthly bill inserts to single-family residents with messaging and information on programs geared towards water conservation and efficiency.

Efforts have also been made to reduce non-potable water used for irrigation. For instance, many of these areas were intentionally "browned out," in 2015, with signage explaining the water savings initiatives. Particular water-saving success stories came from the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (DAPER) and Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE). DAPER reduced irrigation at the Stanford golf course and golf practice facility, transitioned to turf fields, and removed ornamental lawns in favor of drought tolerant plants. These efforts led to a reduction in the department's potable water use by 37% compared to 2013 levels.

In 2015, Stanford Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) also overhauled their entire irrigation system, which included upgrading 90 irrigation controllers to centrally controlled weather-based models, installing flow sensors and/or master valves (to automatically shut off leaks), and installing thousands of efficient sprinkler heads and nozzles. So far, R&DE has seen a 44% reduction in water consumption, which is estimated to save over 33 million gallons of water. R&DE is also conducting a turf study that will evaluate the size, slope, shape, usage, sprinkler head count, and amount of shade present in each of the turf areas surrounding Student Housing. A team of interns has evaluated over 800,000 square feet of turf throughout graduate and undergraduate student housing space and found so far that 4% of that turf could be removed or replaced with drought-resistant plants. The team is also studying the quantity and flow rates of sprinkler heads in each area to estimate water savings from turf removal and determine if any areas are currently being over-watered.

Additional outdoor water-saving strategies are discussed in the Water Use credit.

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

Landscape trimmings are actively managed at Stanford. General yard trimmings are collected by the Grounds Department and picked up by PSSI, the university's waste management contractor, and taken to an off-campus composting facility from which the university is allowed to backhaul a portion for use on campus. Yard trimmings from Faculty/Staff Housing also serves this purpose. Woody brush collected by the Grounds Department is ground into mulch on campus and used throughout the campus. Stanford also practices "grasscycling" by leaving cut grass on the 140 acres of campus turf areas. Fallen trees are cut up by the Grounds Dept and then chipped by a tubgrinder and used on campus .

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

Trees are consciously placed to provide shading and cooling for buildings and pavement with an emphasis on deciduous trees along the southern and western building exposures.

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):

Stanford's Grounds department is moving towards battery operated equipment in order to reduce emissions from the use of gasoline and diesel equipment.

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

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.