Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.07
Liaison Andrew Horning
Submission Date June 30, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Michigan
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Donald Scavia
Director
Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing Yes
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment No
Public Engagement Yes
Other Yes

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Air and Climate: Old Growth Trees Winter 2014. Description: In September of 2013, the University of Michigan Permaculture Design Team was given a 4,000-year-old sequoia tree clone from David Milarch and the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive. This is a clone of the oldest living tree known to humanity: the Fieldbrook Stump. It is currently housed at the Matthei Botanical Gardens. Mr Milarch and his organization are on a mission to reforest the planet with the oldest living tree genetics, as these are estimated to sequester over 400 tons of carbon per tree, per lifetime. Positive Outcomes: The team researched how many old growth champion sequoia trees would be required to offset the University of Michigan’s carbon footprint. The team also worked with Chiwara Permaculture Research & Education to design/model permaculture-based old growth forest ecosystems for several potential site locations in Ann Arbor. This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Building: Green Roofs Fall 2012. Description: Green roofing can support the community-wide commitment to meet President Coleman's 2025 Sustainability Goals and promote additional benefits, while simultaneously promoting the living-learning laboratory of U-M's campus. The team analyzed potential space availability on campus buildings and the constraints or barriers to implementing green roofs that influence the University's decision makers. This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor. Positive Outcomes: Designed and presented educational pamphlets outlining the benefits of green roofs; provided tangible cost analysis for the installation of a green roof at the School of Nursing.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Dining Services/Food: Sustainable Food Labeling Fall 2012. Description: One of the University's announced sustainability goals was the commitment to purchasing 20% of food from local sources by 2025. To reach this goal, University consumers must make more sustainable purchasing choices. The group mainly focused on the "Go Blue, Eat Local" label, which directly relates to the local purchasing goal. The overall objective of the project was to develop methods to increase and encourage sustainable purchasing in the University Unions and dining halls. This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor. Positive Outcomes: Recommendations based upon survey and focus group to improve food labeling on campus and encourage more sustainable eating habits for students.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Energy: In order to promote significant emissions and cost savings at the Biomedical Science Research Building (BSRB), this team has delivered recommendations for how to best improve the building’s heating settings. Based on the results of this case study the team recommends four actions for the University to implement
at buildings across campus: 1. Turn off perimeter heating at an outside air temperature of greater than 50ºF instead of 60ºF as is
commonly the default setting. 2. Reduce the perimeter heating water temperature at all outside air temperatures by 10ºF. 3. Continue to install occupancy sensors in buildings across campus in order to determine when
overheating and over-ventilation are occurring. 4. Perform analyses similar to the one presented in this paper at other buildings on campus in order
to reduce the energy consumption due to overheating. This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Grounds: North Campus Sustainable Gateway - Fall 2012. Description: North Campus, as a site of untapped potential, will serve as the center for future growth and development for the University of Michigan, through the opportunity to increase student involvement, uphold sustainable maintenance practices, and reduce the University's carbon emissions. The project provided several proposals for the North Campus Gateway (defined as the area stretching from the Art & Architecture Building to the Moore Building and down to Fuller Road) for future development.
This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor. Positive Outcome: Recommendations to engage the North Campus population, reduce carbon emissions, and practice sustainable landscaping.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Purchasing: UM Sustainable Food Purchasing Assessment Winter 2014. Description: Campus Dining at the University of Michigan uses the U-M Sustainable Food Purchasing Guidelines to identify purchases that qualify toward the university’s 2025 goal of 20% sustainable food purchased. The Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) are utilized by our campus to benchmark against other schools. This project looked at similar institutions (in size and regional climate) as well as leading institutions to compare current measurements to U-M’s standards. This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor. Positive Outcome: The project team evaluated current guideline definitions and has produced recommendations for changes to U-M’s guidelines and food purchasing practices.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Transportation: Vehicle Reduction Study Winter 2013. Description: The goal of this project was to minimize the number of gas-powered vehicles in University of Michigan's Central Camps East Region vehicular fleet. The University has announced specific sustainability goals, including rucking the carbon intensity of passenger trips on transportation options by 30% and reducing scope 1 and 2 greenhouse has emissions by 25% in 2025. The group investigated electric vehicles, electric golf carts, and bicycles as possible alternatives to the gas-powered vehicles within Plant Operations. Preliminary research was completed on electric vehicles, electric golf carts, and bicycles, which were found to be suitable alternatives to gas-powered vehicles. This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor. Positive Outcome: Recommendations made for improving Plant Operations vehicle emissions, including the following: electric vehicles and golf carts, bicycles, and walking.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Waste: Go Blue Box Fall 2012. Description: The goal of the Go Blue Box program was to provide students, staff, and faculty at the University of Michigan with a reusable alternative to disposable takeout containers, ultimately reducing waste while further initiating a sustainable behavior change on campus. A pilot of the program was conducted at the University Club in the Michigan Union.
This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor. Positive Outcomes: pilot program developed and recommendations to expand the program to other University of Michigan locations.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Water: Creating a Restorative Landscape at Music, Theatre and Dance Winter 2012. Description: The Dean and faculty of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance would like to create more naturally self-sustaining lawn areas and reduce chemical inputs and runoff around the Moore Building. Designing a sustainable landscape around the Moore Building could help the University meet its commitment to use 40% fewer chemicals by 2025 and set an example for the rest of campus. Students gathered detailed research including student and faculty surveys; interviews with the grounds crew, turf specialists, and head landscape architect; analysis of chemical audits from 2009 and 2010; and literature on relevant case studies. This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor. Positive Outcome: Three possible design proposals for lawn care and landscaping practices that would create a sustainable and aesthetic landscape around the Moore building and align with U-M’s sustainability goals.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Coordination, Planning and Governance: Infusing Sustainability in the UM LeaderShape Program Winter 2012. Description: LeaderShape is an organization that seeks to empower up-and-coming as well as established student leaders in the formulation of their visions. Throughout an intense 6-day in-residence experience, UM student leaders are exposed to different aspects of effective leadership, including but not limited to vision formation, social justice and teamwork. However, there has been very little to no emphasis placed on sustainability and the substantial role it can (and should) play at each step along the way. What better way to encourage sustainable practices among University of Michigan Students than through educating some of the student leaders that are or will be active on our campus? This project team assessed ways to infuse sustainability principles into the LeaderShape program through background and primary research and identified four primary areas of concern: food waste, material waste, conservation of resources, and education.
This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor. Positive Outcome: A report providing assessments and recommendations of methods to implement sustainability principles and environmental awareness in the LeaderShape program.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Health, Wellbeing and Work: Liquid Ozone Winter 2013. Description: In an effort to become more sustainable, improve the health of custodial staff, and save money, University Housing began implementing a new cleaning agent called "liquid ozone." This product differs from every other cleaning agent used in University Housing; it's made on-site and is chemical free. The group researched liquid ozone and behavior change, ran a focus group with custodians in one residence hall, and distributed a short survey to all of the Housing custodians using liquid ozone at the University of Michigan.
This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor. Positive Outcome: Recommendations made to better train and educate custodial staff members in use of liquid ozone.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Public Engagement: Building a Sharing Economy at UM and in Ann Arbor Winter 2014. Description: More and more people are increasingly sharing their assets—homes, cars, goods, food, etc.—in the service of increased environmental, social, and economic sustainability. While a recent university survey indicates most U-M students are interested in engaging in sustainability, other research suggests there is still a general lack of awareness about sharing economies and collaborative consumption. The Sharing Economy project team sought to raise awareness of and participation in the sharing economy among students by creating meaningful and innovative opportunities for engagement. This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor. Positive Outcome: The team identified lessons learned that are intended to guide the future development of the sharing economy at U-M.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Other/Media & Marketing: New Media & Behavior Change Winter 2012. Description: In a 2011 survey 42% of U-M students report that they are “interested but not engaged” in participating in sustainability initiatives. This presents a significant opportunity to reach out to this population of students to encourage behavior change and involvement in reaching the University’s operational sustainability goals. The opportunity can help change the perception of sustainability on campus from a sacrifice to something exciting and fun. The goal of this project is to develop a strategy for expanding sustainability programming beyond the usual suspects. This team researched marketing tactics, conducted surveys, and created promotional videos in order to test outreach methods and provide feedback to the Student Sustainability Initiative board and the Office of Campus Sustainability on how best to engage the student body. This semester-long project was completed as part of U-M’s Sustainability and the Campus course, a 4-credit offering in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The project was completed by a team of U-M students representing multiple academic programs across campus and was conducted in partnership with U-M staff having day-to-day responsibility for this campus sustainability topic. The work was advised and evaluated by U-M faculty, with input from the staff sponsor. Positive Outcomes: Two promotional videos on waste reduction and a list of recommendations on the 20 most effective methods that could be used to engage students in sustainability on campus.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 21, 2015

The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:

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.