Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Madeline Schuh
Submission Date Feb. 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Pennsylvania
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.09 / 2.00 Madeline Schuh
Sustainability Analyst
Facilities and Real Estate Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
299 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 272 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 27 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 299 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):

All of campus is included in the managed grounds.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
90.97

A copy of the IPM plan or program:
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A brief description of the IPM program:

Penn practices "Integrated Pest Management", (IPM), which combines environmental, chemical, and structural strategies to address and prevent infestation and reproduction of pests.

After an initial inspection of the problem area by an IPM professional, a solution is implemented which might include treatment with traps, bait, sealing of crevices and gaps, and installation of devices such as door sweeps.

Further information and recommendations to help prevent pests can be found here: http://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/residential-services/services-a-support/maintenance-a-housekeeping/pest-control.html


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:
9.03

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:

The University of Pennsylvania tries to manage all grounds using guidelines that responsibly implement best practices in organic campus management, including 100% native/adaptive plant selection, compost tea applications for lawn and meadow growth, on-campus leaf composting and reapplication as bedding cover, and use of natural predators (such as lady bugs to control an aphid population); however, only Shoemaker Green and Penn Park are the only grounds on campus managed completely with organic land standards. The broadcast use of synthetic pesticides and herbicide applications is prohibited. All site work is carefully studied to provide the best environment for our plant communities which results in little to no pest infestations, and landscape / tree protection protocols are strictly enforced as part of capital project standards. With the implementation of the imminent Ecological Landscape Stewardship Plan, Penn hopes to manage all land with organic or like standards.

Penn's urban forest is carefully maintained, with all campus trees entered into a digital inventory, along with maintenance history. In partnership with the US Forest Service Philadelphia Field Station and Penn's Earth and Environmental Science faculty, a thorough calculation of campus tree canopy coverage was completed in 2016, and its ecological services and benefits documented. In recognition of this work, Penn's Campus is a Tree Campus USA Awardee for the eighth year in a row and in 2017 achieved Level 2 Arboretum accreditation through ArbNET, the interactive, collaborative, internationally-recognized community of arboreta and tree professionals. Penn joins a select group of fewer than 23 universities worldwide which have achieved this certification. https://penncurrent.upenn.edu/news/penn-named-an-arboretum-and-other-green-news


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

Penn prioritizes the use of native plant species in landscaping. The University Landscape Architect always tries to plant as many native plants as possible, as they are adapted to our region and tend to grow well here. They improve our natural ecosystem, tend to require less water and low maintenance, and provide food and habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.


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

In 2013, Penn completed a campus-wide "Stormwater Masterplan" to promote ecologically-responsible stormwater management practices. Infiltration is a primary stormwater management strategy at Penn, with the use of permeable paving and sand bedding for unit pavers common. To minimize the use of potable water for irrigation, Penn has an extensive system of on-campus underground cisterns, including a 300,000 gallon underground cistern that captures and reuses all stormwater that falls on Penn Park, Penn's 24-acre public park and recreation/athletics center, and a 30,000 gallon cistern at Penn's Shoemaker Green. In addition to these underground cisterns there are a number of others which include: the New College House lawn, two at the Singh Center for Nanotechnology, Perry World House, the Morgan Building, three at the Annenberg Center, and two at Penn Law. Water collected in cisterns is used for irrigation, and prior to storms is released at a controlled rate into the City's combined strormwater sewers to help manage stormwater surge. Penn's new landscapes incorporate soil moisture sensors to limit unnecessary irrigation during wet periods.

In compliance with Philadelphia Water's stormwater requirements, all of Penn's capital projects that disturb 15,000 sf or more are required to manage the first 1" of rain on-site, doing so though a combination of cisterns, bio-swales, rain gardens, and green roofs. At Penn, green roofs are used to absorb stormwater and support rooftop green amenities. There are over two dozen green roofs on Penn's campus.
See https://www.facilities.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/Stormwater%20Master%20Plan%20for%20the%20%20University%20of%20Pennsylvania_March%202013_web.pdf


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

Penn's Urban Parks and landscape management team prioritize reuse and waste minimization. Penn stockpiles stone paving materials, granite curbs, and unit pavers in a landscape reuse yard to facilitate reuse in campus landscapes. The front garden of Penn's Civic House, Penn's student volunteer center, for example, exclusively used 100-year old granite curbs salvaged from Penn's campus as pavers and benches in its landscape design.

To reduce the use of fertilizers on campus, the University collects and composts leaves. Some of the leaves are used after a season of curing as top dressing for gardens and plaza plantings every spring. The remainder of the leaves are mixed with water and cured, then used as compost tea (natural fertilizer) which is broadcast on lawns and meadows, reducing the need for inorganic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides while boosting soil organic activity. As part of the imminent "Ecological Stewardship Landscape Plan," Penn's consultants measured soil bio-activity at representative campus landscapes to evaluate soil health.


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

As part of Penn's commitment to sustainability, landscape is designed to incorporate native plants that require less maintenance and use less water. In addition, 25 green roofs, installed on over 12 different buildings, contribute to building related energy reduction goals. The use of shade trees adjacent to south-facing facade, is prioritized to reduce summer heat gain inside buildings. Penn actively manages an extensive street tree program to ensure shading on public walkways, campus paths, and sidewalks, to reduce Philadelphia's urban heat island effect. Campus standards are for street trees to be planted in integrated trenches, not pits, with permeable cobble paving in the tree zone to encourage rainwater infiltration, healthier soils, and more robust development of deep root networks.


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):

Penn follows a Tree Care Plan that is updated yearly. This plan is developed to document ongoing practices and establish a successful, health, and beautiful urban forest. The West Philadelphia Penn campus is recognized as a Level 2 Arboretum under ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. The Arboretum curates and manages a diverse collection of trees, focused on preserving and sustaining the urban forest for the well-being of the community, environmental benefits, research and educational opportunities. Penn’s campus is an urban forest with more than 6,500 trees in its collection, over 240 species of trees and shrubs, ten specialty gardens and five urban parks. The arboretum designation recognizes the importance of Penn's overall landscape stewardship, highlights of which include:
* promoting proper species selection and planning for age and tree species diversity throughout the entire tree population;
* selecting native and adaptive species to aid in creating healthy plant communities and habitat for wildlife;
* developing preventative care, protection, and maintenance plans for high‐value trees on campus and, whenever possible, other trees on campus that could be adversely affected by construction activities;
* creating and implementing a regular tree replacement strategy in keeping with the overall campus tree strategy;
* incorporating policies and recommendations from local and national agencies, including but not limited to: Greenworks Philadelphia, Philadelphia Planning Commission's Complete Streets Guidelines, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR) standards, Philadelphia Street Tree Ordinance, Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), and the ANSI A300 Tree Care Standards and associated Best Management Practices;
* establishing a stronger connection between students and staff to the campus and the surrounding neighborhood through outreach and engagement strategies in partnership with the Penn Sustainability Office, allowing the Penn community to become stewards of their environment, to be educated regarding the importance of trees and different tree species, and to value and respect trees and urban forests.
* To reduce plant and tree damage during the winter, Penn uses EnviroMelt, an environmentally-friendly ice melter, and uses the steam loop to heat pavement at several critical service accessways to eliminate the use of icemelt chemicals.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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In 2016, Penn commissioned a multi-disciplinary consulting team to evaluate all campus landscape maintenance and design practices. The intent of the consultancy is to formulate practice-based recommendations that would allow Penn's facilities team to move toward a 100% organic campus, emphasizing ecological health, biodiversity, and reliance on natural systems. The report, Penn's "Ecological Landscape Stewardship Plan" (ELSP) is under review with the expected completion in 2018.

In addition the ELSP, Penn's main campus was designated as an arboretum under ArbNet. Penn's main campus joins a select few urban universities designated with this designation.

For more information, see https://www.facilities.upenn.edu/standards-policies/policies/outdoor-space-policy and [http://Landscape Stewardship placeholder]

The University of Pennsylvania is a major research institution, with over 3,000 degrees granted annually from twelve professional and academic schools at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels. Penn is committed to reducing emissions and energy use, as stated in the 2014 "Climate Action Plan 2.0". This submission documents Penn's efforts during the FY17 year and compares them to the FY14 baseline year which corresponds with the University's "Climate Action Plan. 2.0". The submission relies on information related to the main, academic, West Philadelphia campus, but to more fully document efforts across the Penn system, information related to the Morris Arboretum and New Bolton has also been referenced and noted as outside the boundary in descriptions. The information is used to enrich examples of University efforts and is not intended to be the primary justification for credits. The responses for each of the questions and sub-questions are drawn from University materials, both internal and public documents. Each section notes the website where the information can be found.

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.