Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.92
Liaison Gretchen Vanicor
Submission Date June 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.60 / 4.00 Monica Rowand
Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:

Cajun Prairie - Located in the center of campus, this green infrastructure project is visible and signed for members of the campus community to benefit from, learn from, and enjoy. Students, faculty, and staff planted the area with wildflowers, grasses, and shrubs native to Louisiana. The area is carefully maintained to enhance the beauty of campus and create a habitat for vital pollinators. Each year, biology and UNIV 100 (the required freshman introduction course) professors use the area to teach their students about the native ecosystem.
Project lead: Gretchen Vanicor


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Public Engagement:

Zero Waste at Cajun Field - Part of our strategy to becoming a zero-waste university is using our football stadium and games as an incubator for waste diversion initiatives. Mixed recycling collection was added to the concourse and at every tailgate spot in 2014. In-game engagement efforts were also taken to encourage fans to dispose of their recyclables in the appropriate container. In 2018 we set a goal to reach 90% diversion from gameday operations by 2021 (diversion in 2017 was 35%) and implemented various new waste diversion streams including compost, plastic bags and films, and food recovery. After two years of this Living Lab project, we achieved a season average of 67% waste diversion for the 2019 season with a game-day high of 75% diversion. Successful programs like plastic bag and films collection and increased food recovery from campus dining operations have since been implemented on campus as well.
Project lead: Monica Rowand

Another purpose of using football games for this work is the change for increased public engagement. We work to determine the best messaging techniques from on-bin signage to pre-game communication and in-game calls to action. In Winter of 2019 we did a survey of fans to assess how successful our messaging was to gain awareness of the zero waste efforts during the 2018 football season.

All aspects of this program are performed, and are now managed, by students. The students involved are a mixture of employees and volunteers, a few professors even require their students to volunteer at least once throughout the season. The students learn what makes different types of waste able to be recovered and the systems required to keep waste out of landfill and material in the economy. They must problem solve to find diversion methods for difficult materials or ways around using materials that are difficult to recycle.

Plan Lafayette presentation: https://ullafayette-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/c00436907_louisiana_edu/ERaJIc7VCbdJuobe8-xmihUBATm4jJ4su8TmYKYJcKSFjA?e=wVQZCo

Survey results: https://ullafayette-my.sharepoint.com/:p:/g/personal/c00436907_louisiana_edu/EWIyi2ngxuZCsZZ4BN_vzcwBSbctsWm8utRFhFs1EJcb5A?e=bRAEwc


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Air & Climate?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Air & Climate:
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Buildings:

Smart Building Pilot - The project involves (a) deployment of wireless sensors and gateway devices that collect real-time data on temperature, humidity, and occupancy in 30 rooms within Rougeou Hall, (b) collection and storage of temperature, humidity and occupancy data (c) analysis of building environment conditions to identify rooms with abnormal conditions (i.e. humidity and temperature) with respect to external weather and (d) real-time visualization of indoor temperature and humidity conditions using building heat map

Measured Results to date: Analytics results on rooms with abnormal conditions (i.e. humidity and temperature) with respect to external weather, and occupancy statistics for various days.
Relevant Links: https://eb.tieto.com
Project lead: Raju Gottumukkala


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Energy:

1) PART Lab - The purpose of the 1.1 MW Photovoltaic Applied Research and Testing (PART) Lab is to perform long-term operational testing of a commercial-scale photovoltaic electric generation system under actual conditions in Louisiana. We are doing this to build local capacity for building, maintaining, and operating such a system; to gain experience integrating renewable and non-renewable power usage within the university; to determine the scalability of the technology; to determine the overall feasibility of the installation of MW-scale solar power plants in Louisiana; and to disseminate the knowledge gained from this project to the public. Sited on 6 acres in the University’s Research Park and commissioned in June of 2018, the PART Lab was designed in a modular way that allows testing of new solar technologies as they become available.

The PART Lab also serves as an educational and training facility. The PART Lab is used as a laboratory classroom for various courses in the College of Engineering and is used by many other courses (i.e. UNIV 100 and PHYS courses) as a tour site to learn about renewable energy. Frequent tours are also provided to the public.
Project Lead: Dr. Terrance Chambers

2) Bike Generator:
The Office of Sustainability inherited a bike generator that we use to talk about and promote energy efficiency on campus and at events. It is a fairly old stationary bike that is bulky, heavy, and honestly unsafe in its electrical wiring. It also has a limitation in that it has no means of storing energy produced while in use, which is the case for most bicycle generators up to present day.

In Fall 2019 we submitted potential projects to be taken on by teams of Mechanical Engineering students in their senior design class. One project asked for a new generator device that we could attach to one of our bikeshare bikes. This way it would be easily transportable for outreach purposes. We also asked that in addition to powering lightbulbs, they explore the ability to charge a battery so that pedaling could produce a beneficial byproduct.

A Senior Design team chose the project and began work in Fall 2019. They worked with our office and their professors to come up with a design that would both suit our needs and challenge their knowledge, as well as be something that could make the prospect of biking as a means of transportation more attractive. They have settled on a Frictionless Magnetic Induction mechanism to be added to a Geaux Velo bikeshare bike.

The final product should be able to produce energy at a rate of 15 watts and produce a peak power of 60 watts. It will be frictionless and have such a feature that it continues to produce energy when the bicycle to which it is attached is slowing down or stopping. It should be easy to attach to a wide array of bicycles and able to power light bulbs demonstration purposes. It will also output power via USB hub so that various apparatuses can also be powered.
The device was scheduled to be completed in Spring of 2020 but was delayed due to Covid-19.
Project leads: Monica Rowand and Yasmeen Qudsi


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Food & Dining?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Food & Dining:
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Grounds:

Cajun Prairie - The urban prairie located in the center of campus is a green infrastructure project. Students, faculty, and staff planted the area with wildflowers, grasses, and shrubs native to Louisiana. It is designated as a low mow zone, so it is mowed just once or twice a year to encourage restoration of the Cajun Prairie, increase biodiversity, and improve air quality. In the center is an inland storm drain connected to a municipal storm water management system that is part of the Teche-Vermilion watershed. This urban prairie acts as a bioswale, reducing storm water runoff, improving local water quality and recharging our groundwater supply in the Chicot Aquifer. The area is carefully maintained to enhance the beauty of campus and create a habitat for vital pollinators. This is one of a handful of native green infrastructure projects installed across campus to better work with our native environment, reduce mowing needs, and improve storm water management.
Project Lead: Gretchen Vanicor


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Purchasing?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Purchasing:
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IIs the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Transportation:

Johnston St. Revitalization - Summer 2020 Architecture Graduate Internship - Two graduate architecture students worked with a local architect and the Office of Sustainability to design a better entry into campus that would improve the pedestrian experience by putting their safety first. This was part of the required guided graduate internship for the architecture graduate students. Johnston St., the northern boundary of main campus, is a busy road with known barriers to comfort and safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The students redesigned the street to include pedestrian nodes, improved sidewalks, and bike lanes. The project focused on protecting both trees and pedestrians on the side of busy roadways and how nature can respond to the built environment. They have presented their proposal to the University President and will also present to the state Secretary of Transportation for approval of the revitalization.
Project Lead: Gretchen Vanicor


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Waste:

1) Cajun Compost - In working to become a zero-waste campus, we discovered that there is no place in the state of Louisiana for commercial composting of food waste at scale. After first considering a small in-vessel unit for our dining hall, we decided to utilize the University’s research farm and resources to develop a solution for the region that would also be able to process compostable food packaging.

In Fall 2018 we started a successful pilot program with a LA Department of Ag & Forestry Best Management Practices permit allowing for pre-consumer and post-consumer food scraps and compostable packaging to be incorporated into a primarily ag-waste-based compost pile. This started as a project in partnership with the Department of Geosciences, grounds management, Americorps, and the Office of Sustainability.

Composting, however, is much more than a waste management technique and what the University plans to develop and manage as a medium scale commercial compost facility will offer many benefits and create additional opportunities for the University, South Louisiana, and potentially the entire Gulf Coast.

In Fall 2019, the Office of Sustainability and Geosciences Department worked with the Civil Engineering Senior Design to perform a feasibility study and preliminary design/cost estimate for a commercial compost facility at the University's experimental farm in Cade, Louisiana.

In Spring 2020 the project moved to the College of Business where two Graduate Assistants worked on a market analysis and calculation of potential ROI for the development of a commercial-scale facility.

After two years, we have composted 9.82 tons of organic post-consumer event waste (from two seasons of football games), plus about 100 cubic yards of agricultural and forestry waste (primarily bagasse but also hay and manure).
Project Lead: Monica Rowand

2) Glass Recycling: Due to demand and logistical issues, there is currently no good solution to recycle glass in South Louisiana. Through various partnerships, the Office of Sustainability has been working on a solution to this issue as it is both a great need in the region and for our campus to reach its goal of becoming a Zero Waste University.

In Fall 2019 we asked a Mechanical Engineering Senior Design team to investigate improving aspects of the glass recycling industry. We suggested two areas for improvement within the chain of glass recycling: 1. Clean the glass collected at the Materials Recovery Facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana or 2. Collect glass from campus and/or around Lafayette and design a device that will process it into a product that can be used on campus and in the community.

After researching both options, it became clear that the best option for the University is to design a device that will recycle glass into a new product, like sand or pebbles, that can be used on campus in landscaping and other projects. This device will be more cost-effective and rational than cleaning the “mixed glass shard” material that comes from the Materials Recovery Facility. It will also reduce the amount of glass going into landfill and the overall transportation time/trips for the material.

We asked that the device be small, safe, and easy to operate. The desired end-product for the project is a functioning prototype of a Hammer Mill designed to sit on top of a table and operate using a one horsepower electric motor. Glass will need to be fed into the machine through the hopper located at the top of the case. After the glass is crushed into cullet, it will collect underneath the machine in a collection bin.

The device was scheduled to be completed in Spring of 2020 but was delayed due to Covid-19. The project should be able to pick back up in Fall 2021
Project leads: Monica Rowand and Nicole Barry


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Water:

Storm Water Master Plan - Throughout the Fall semester of 2018, a multi-disciplined team made up of students, faculty, and staff participated in the EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge, a green infrastructure design competition for American colleges and universities that seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals, foster a dialogue about effective stormwater management, and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices. The team developed a campus masterplan for stormwater management which has been adopted by the University. They also came in first place in the competition’s master plan category!
Links: https://sustainability.louisiana.edu/node/222
Project lead: Gretchen Vanicor


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning:

Storm Water Master Plan - Throughout the Fall semester of 2018, a multi-disciplined team made up of students, faculty, and staff participated in the EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge, a green infrastructure design competition for American colleges and universities that seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals, foster a dialogue about effective stormwater management, and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices. The team developed a campus masterplan for stormwater management which has been adopted by the University. They also came in first place in the competition’s master plan category!
Links: https://sustainability.louisiana.edu/node/222
Project Lead: Gretchen Vanicor


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability:
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance:
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
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Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.