Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.16
Liaison Mike Versteege
Submission Date June 24, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alberta
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.81 / 2.00 Tam Connelly
Associate Director, Augustana, Grounds & Environmental Services
Operations & Maintenance, Facilities & Operations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
10,671.97 Hectares

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 95.32 Hectares
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 Hectares
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 22.40 Hectares
Total area of managed grounds 117.72 Hectares

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):

- Agricultural experimental land (including land for food production to support research animals)
- Building footprints
- Areas maintained by other parties (e.g. hospital, transit)
- Natural woodlands

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:

Buildings, Grounds, and Environmental Services (BGES) maintains the majority of the university's managed lands. Their IPM practices are outlined in the attached document.

The University of Alberta Botanic Garden manages their own landscaping (22.4 Hectares of managed grounds). Although not formally documented, they follow an IPM plan and use herbicides only for identified noxious weeds.

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:


During new construction projects, landscape renovation and restoration initiatives, Buildings, Grounds & Environmental Services always seeks opportunities to incorporate native and drought-tolerant plant species. The objective is to reduce irrigation demands and to select plants which more readily adapt to Edmonton's climatic conditions. To this end, landscape architects are encouraged to consider native plants – both shrubs and grasses. The use of grass as a ground cover is discouraged and used only in gathering spaces such as the quads. The university is also moving towards using more perennial plants when possible.


Plant stewardship initiatives include:
- accessioned plant collections
- in-situ and ex-situ conservation specimens
- garden landscape integrated into natural forest and wetlands

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


The university actively looks for ways to incorporate water capture and reuse into landscape management plans and practices. Several examples of water capture for irrigation are highlighted in OP-22 Water Use.

Additionally, the university's xeriscaping principles are outlined below.

The principles of xeriscaping are considered and incorporated into all landscape design initiatives, whether in landscape rejuvenation or in new capital projects. The underlying objective is to reduce dependency of all plant materials—whether trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals or turf grass—on potable water.

The following practices of xeriscape landscape design and maintenance are part of the Buildings, Grounds & Environmental Services maintenance philosophy:

- Where feasible, design for water conservation and water harvesting by directing rain water and surface run-off to planting beds.
- Design groups of plants rather than single plants with similar water needs.
- Amend soil to improve nutrient availability and water retention capacities; this provides for healthier plants that can survive with less frequent watering.
- Schedule lawn irrigation to provide water at optimum times of the day, and in optimum quantities, such that water is not wasted and plants do not become dependent on too much moisture.
- Increase mowing heights to three inches to decrease evaporation of moisture, encourage deeper plant roots, and promote more vigorous, weed-resistant growth.
- Explore the extensive selection of drought tolerant plant materials available for prairie climates and incorporate them into campus landscapes.
- Place organic mulch on all soil surfaces in shrub beds, borders and tree wells to conserve water.

Examples of landscape construction projects that incorporated xeriscaping principles include:
- Triffo Hall
- Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science
- Edmonton Clinic Health Academy
- East Campus Village - Graduate Student Housing
- East Campus Village Phase II - Pinecrest and Tamarack Houses
- Cooling Plant on Campus
- Physical Activity and Wellness Centre
- Founders Hall
- Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre
- Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering
- Peter Lougheed Hall
- Nîpisîy House
- Research and Collections Resource Facility


Hydrology and water use initiatives approach includes:
- on-site wells that provide water for irrigation and display fountain systems
- potable water is only used in buildings
- hydrology of the site is governed by natural wetlands
- buffer zones, slow ditches and riparian areas help to manage groundwater runoff
- display and interpretive beds
- plantings of xeriscaping

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


All mowers have a mulch kit to grass-cycle trimmings.

Yard waste is managed in a number of ways:
- tree pruning contractors create mulch from pruned branches for use in university beds
- some yard waste is collected and sent to City of Edmonton facilities to be turned into mulch and used by the City

Compost is utilized as follows:
- in some years, compost has been purchased from the company receiving the university's organic waste for use in university beds
- compost from the university's dairy farms has been used for some landscape management activities


Materials management and waste minimization initiatives include:
- exclusive use of mulch mowers
- all materials removed from landscape are recycled into mulch or compost with the exception diseased material or those with insect issues

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

The University of Alberta's Edmonton Clinic Health Academy has two green roofs, which help to regulate the temperature of the building, improving its overall efficiency.

At the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, the entrance building has a green wall screening to control temperature in front of exterior wall glazing (windows). In addition, the overall landscape theme is a garden within a forest, allowing the forest to create wind breaks and shading to both the garden areas and buildings.

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):

According to the Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data (available: https://climate.weather.gc.ca/climate_normals/), Edmonton receives an average of 123.5 cm of snowfall annually, over a possible 9 months of the year (Sept to May). By comparison, Vancouver receives an average snowfall of 38.1 cm over a possible 7 months and Toronto receives an average of 121.5 cm over a possible 7 months. Thus, snow and ice removal practices are an important part of our operations and maintenance strategy.


A number of steps have been taken to ensure the safety of the university community while minimizing any negative impact on the landscape. Steps include:

• Using a rock chip that requires only a small percentage of salt content to keep the material usable, even in Alberta’s coldest winter months.
• Using controllable boxes to control the rate of spread of ice melt products.
• Only using ice melt products when snow and ice are present, not in anticipation of ice or snow.
• Training staff in the proper use of the ice melt product.

Other sustainable landscape management practices used by BGES include:
- using electric snow and leaf blowers when conditions allow
- purchasing new equipment such as trucks, loaders and gators that use diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), which reduces the amount of air pollution created by a diesel engine


Augustana Campus has implemented a snow and ice removal program that further enhances the practices already in place at other campuses. Along with standard practices consistent with those listed above, a detailed diagram of the campus has been prepared to assist equipment operators in ploughing and storing snow in such a way as to least affect grass, trees, shrubs and spring water runoff.


Other sustainable landscape management practices:
- buffer zone maintained on perimeter of property for fire barrier
- use of zero emission fuel in all cycle engines - mowers, chainsaws, blowers, trimmers etc.
- use of vegetable based lubricant in equipment - chainsaws

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


Gunnar Viberg
Mechanical Engineering Technologist
Engineering & Technical Services
Planning and Project Delivery
Facilities & Operations

Murray Brice
Landscape Maintenance & Construction Supervisor
Grounds Services
Facilities & Operations

Kurt Klask
Landscape Maintenance Supervisor
Grounds Services
Facilities & Operations

Chris Blades
Facilities and Operations Manager
Augustana Campus Facilities & Operations

Kenneth Willis
Head of Horticulture
University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences

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.