Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Amy Brunvand
Submission Date Oct. 21, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Utah
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Jessica Kemper
Sustainable Food Initiatives Manager
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
1,534 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed organically, without the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides 0.75 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 230 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 230.75 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:

The Landscape Maintenance Department manages 230 acres, which excludes, building footprint areas, paved parking areas, and large conservation easement adjacent to campus that is not actively maintained.

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:

The only area managed organically is small plot of meadowland west of the USTAR building.

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:

The Supervisor of Landscape Maintenance, Lisa McCarrel has been trained in IPM, and her department follows the following best practices: Thresholds: Chemicals are only used in the landscape as a last resort if the economic value of the landscape is jeopardized or if there is a perceived threat to human health and safety. Pest populations are monitored through visual inspections. Prevention: The pest population is kept under control by removing excess debris and pruning to improve plant health. In addition, a housekeeping protocol under Plant Operations Janitorial department minimizes the need for pest control in the interior spaces. Control: When chemicals are required, their use is documented with standardized record-keeping and applied only according to the label and manufacturer’s instructions. Recently, the Landscape Supervisor has made additions to the team that reflect our commitment to properly monitoring and addressing pest or disease concerns on campus; we now have an IPM Crew Lead and team who assist other team members in identifying pests and developing an appropriate response. We have added soil testing to our data collection as well.
URL: https://facilities.utah.edu/landscape/ipm/

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

Native Species
One of the ways the U is reducing its outdoor water footprint is through planting native species and other drought-tolerant plants. Many desert plants can now be seen on campus, including Russian sage, sumac, rabbitbrush, yuccas, and Utah serviceberries, among others. In other parts of campus, turf grass has been removed in favor of mulch beds with ground cover and decorative shrubs. Mulch, a cheaper alternative to decorative rock, is placed on slopes that previously had both mowing and runoff issues.

Design Standards
SECTION 3.3.1 The Consultant is to specify drought resistant plants per the University of Utah Plant List herein, and as directed by the Landscape Maintenance Department.
SECTION 3.7 Tree Protection at Construction Sites

State Arboretum
The ‘U' campus, including Red Butte Garden and Arboretum, is part of the State Arboretum of Utah. The main campus includes over 12,000 trees, all of which are catalogued in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database created by Facilities Management.

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

Landscape Maintenance uses a high-tech weather-based approach to irrigation. A weather based irrigation system is able to track moisture lost or used on a daily basis. Landscape Maintenance restricts their watering window to 6:00 PM through 10:00 AM. In the Energy & Environmental Stewardship Initiative: 2010 Climate Action Plan, the University of Utah committed to achieving water neutrality–using only the equivalent amount of water that reaches the campus through rainfall annually–by 2020.

A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:

Mulch, a cheaper alternative to decorative rock, is placed on slopes that previously had both mowing and runoff issues. Landscaped areas using mulch include Rock Mulch w/ Plants (13.69 acres) and Bark Mulch w/ Plants (34.35 acres).

Leaves are recycled or composted, but the the University of Utah does not currently have the resources or space to enact a campus-wide composting

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

University of Utah Design Requirements (2017)
4.3 Landscape Design Standards A. Landscape Plan (1) Plant Selection a. For University projects, the A/E is to specify drought resistant plants per the 4.3 A (4), and as directed by the Landscape Maintenance Department.

The campus is in the process of creating a Landscaping Master Plan, which will become part of the Campus Master Plan. The new plan will include approaches to shade trees to reduce urban heat island effect, minimizing water use and waste, increasing opportunities for stormwater management, etc.

4.3 Landscape Design Standards A. Landscape Plan (1) Plant Selection a. For University projects, the A/E is to specify drought resistant plants per the 4.3 A (4), and as directed by the Landscape Maintenance Department. b

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:

Sustainable practices include mowing less frequently, composting landscaping waste, and hand-weeding where possible. Facilities Management is responsible for 1,100 out of the 1,534 acres that make up the campus—about 400 acres have been set aside to remain in their wild state. The university’s Landscape Maintenance team has primarily focused on turfgrass replacement, water-wise landscape design and modern irrigation systems following “Slow the Flow” guidelines developed by the State of Utah. The University’s Landscape Maintenance department is reducing its air pollution impacts by replacing its two-stroke engine equipment with battery-powered and cleaner-burning engines that produce fewer emissions than two-stroke counterparts.
-In 2018, 12 acres of turf were removed.
-In 2018 alone, 2.3 million gallons, were conserved through the efforts of the landscaping team.
-A substantial upgrade to the central irrigation systems conserves roughly 87.5 million gallons or water per year.


Pollinator Garden (2019)
A student-led project funded through the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund(SCIF). The small garden near the Architecture building replaced turf with a bioswale to mitigate flooding problems and water-wise native plants.

Landscape Lab: Collaborative Re-Design of the Williams Building Landscape (2019-2020)
The Williams Building property in the University of Utah’s Research Park is the site of a demonstration project for the Red Butte Creek Strategic Vision. In partnership with the Office of Sustainability, the Global Change and Sustainability Center, campus facilities and planning, and the Real Estate Administration, the Center for Ecological Planning + Design has convened a collaborative design process to re-create the landscape of the Williams Building property. Led by a landscape architecture consultant, the project uses the campus as a living laboratory. It will restore native ecological diversity and function to this portion of the Red Butte Creek watershed; increase access to recreational space for occupants of the building, the campus community, and the public; and test research questions about urban stream restoration, urban runoff management, hydrology, use of public space, and more.

HYPER project phase 1
Based on the model from the Williams Building, a new water conservation garden is under construction on the HYPER complex and the new Gardner Building (old OSH). The basin will store and purify conserved water at that location that will in turn support the landscaping. This project has major support from a SCIF grant ($80K)and Red Butte Garden

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:


Kate Whitbeck, "Landscape: When Green Isn't Green" @TheU, July 26, 2019.
URL: https://attheu.utah.edu/facultystaff/when-green-isnt-green/


Kate Whitbeck, "Campus is Abuzz with Innovation," @theU, June 14, 2019.
URL: https://attheu.utah.edu/facultystaff/campus-is-abuzz-with-innovation/

Red Butte Creek at the Williams Building, Landscape Lab. Prepared by VODA Landscape + Planning, 2019
URL: http://cepd.cap.utah.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/09/Landscape-Lab-Master-Plan-FINAL-DRAFT_email.pdf


University of Utah Campus Master Plan, 2008.
URL: https://pdc.utah.edu/planning/master-plans/
Vision: capitalize on the natural landscape setting.
• Create smart open space and promote the intelligent use of landscape.
• Preserve significant views into, within and from the campus, including views to the Wasatch Mountains and Valley.
• Create a network of open spaces that improves campus connectivity and provides access to nature.
• Reduce the visual and physical impact of surface parking

Green Hill
On June 25, 2019 the University of Utah Board of Trustees’ Campus Master Planning (CMP) Committee designated the one –acre parcel directly adjacent to and south of 1408 Military Way property from ‘academic core’ to “outdoor green space.’ This action was taken in accordance with the commitment made by President Watkins to designate this land as such.

2017 Types of Landscaping (square feet)

Grass: 7,075,799.76
Flowerbeds: 33,320.82
Meadow: 17,350.30
Rock Mulch w/ Plants: 596,461.2
Bark Mulch w/ Plants: 1,496,213.44
Treewell: 412,751.79

Total: 9,631,897.34 square feet

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.