Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.94
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Dec. 19, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Virginia Tech
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.88 / 2.00 Dennis Cochrane
Sustainability Program Manager
Facilities Services, Office of Energy and Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
2500 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 2200 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 0 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 300 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 2500 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):

Management of Lawns and Grounds:
Virginia Tech’s lawns and grounds cover approximately 300 acres. Although lawns and grounds do not adhere to a prescribed IPM plan, they are maintained with herbicides for broadleaf weeds and invasive plant material.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
88

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

Management of Crop Lands:
Virginia Tech’s crop and farm lands cover approximately 1,800 acres all of which is maintained in accordance with a four-tiered Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan as follows:
1. Action Thresholds: Each of our crops (corn, alfalfa, barley, grass hay, pasture) is grown over numerous fields through the CALS farm system. Each field is treated separately in the IPM plan, so we never treat an entire crop as one unit when making applications- its one field at a time. One of our managers is regularly scouting fields to determine what, if any, course of action is required. We make applications only if the manager thinks crop losses will outweigh application expenses.
2. Monitor and Identify Pests- Managers regularly monitor crop needs, identifying pests and pest damage, and we take actions only when they’re warranted, not as a standard practice.
3. Prevention- our goal is to utilize approved Best Management Practices which necessarily maintain pest damage prevention practices.
4. Control- our goal is to always use the lowest pesticide rates possible to control pests; we also use concentrated pesticides and purchase in bulk containers to reduce plastic container waste.

Management of Buildings:
Virginia Tech’s building footprint covers approximately 400 acres. All administrative, academic, residence halls, dining services, health services, student centers, athletic, and recreational sports facilities are maintained with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan. The plan for residence halls and dining services provides pest management control service in offices, 4,500 student rooms, all public areas such as kitchens, lounges, laundries, stairways, bathrooms, mechanical rooms, and crawl spaces. The plan includes the outside ground areas directly adjacent to the residence halls. Individual student/occupant requests and any visible indications of infestation prompt immediate action. The IPM contract requires the technician to visit the department two times per month at which time he or she inspects all assigned areas, attends to any requests by identifying pests and making recommendation for mechanical, structural, or sanitation needs that would prevent the presence of pests. If these recommended measures are not effective, low risk controls such as bait stations and targeted chemicals to disrupt pest mating are initiated. In the event these low risk control measures are not effective the targeted spraying of pesticides is employed.

Management of Lawns and Grounds:
Virginia Tech’s lawns and grounds cover approximately 300 acres. Although lawns and grounds do not adhere to a prescribed IPM plan, they are maintained with herbicides for broadleaf weeds and invasive plant material.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:
0

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

The Campus Design Principles prepared by Sasaki Associates (Revised August 2010) contains the following reference to native plants: ‘to the practical extent possible, tree and shrub plantings should consist of species that are native to the Appalachian Mountain region.’ A listing of acceptable native plants for use on campus is also provided in the document.


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

Virginia Tech has a comprehensive Composting Program. The recently established program involves Dining Services, the local firm Bob's Refuse Service (BRS), and the regional composting facility Royal Oak Farm (ROF). ROF is a large commercial firm located near Lynchburg, Virginia, which is about 80 miles from the university. ROF is the only practical composting enterprise in Southwest Virginia.

Composting Process: Dining Facilities personnel at all of the 11 campus dining facilities places food waste in totters which, when full, are positioned on the loading docks for collection. BRS collects the food waste at the loading docks, transports the material to a central storage location on campus, and deposits the material in an ROF Sledge Container for transport to Lynchburg. The Sledge Container is covered and can hold about 10 tons of food waste. When the container is full, ROF is notified, they deliver an empty container to Virginia Tech, and they haul the full container back to Lynchburg. We average 1 to 2 hauls per week. Virginia Tech has an estimated 600 tons of food waste per year which can account for nearly 25% of our total principal recycled materials.

All lawn mowers utilize mulching blades for normal mowing operations. This allows the grass clippings to be used as mulch for the lawns. We no longer vacuum ares of lawn that have clippings built up but rather use newly purchase high velocity blowers to distribute the clippings evenly across the lawn. Additionally in the fall the mulching mowers are used to chop leaves to avoid the need to collect leaves and transport them off of main campus. All tree limbs less than 4” in diameter are also chipped and used on campus to mulch areas under large canopy trees and storm water management facilities.


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

The Buildings & Grounds Department has a truck mounted brine tank that will allow them to pre-treat specific roadways and sidewalks with the expectation that immediate removal activities may be held off or eliminated altogether. Depending on the temperature and the consistency of the snow, plowing operations may be suspended by as many as much as six to twelve hours, thereby eliminating multiple snow route passes as well the need for tons of road salt. The reduction in snow route passes will lower our carbon foot print by reducing vehicle emissions and the potential reduction in the use of road salt will also lessen the environmental impact. It is also believed these practices will enhance the safety of campus pedestrians and motorists in the long-run.

Educating and reminding employees to be sparing and not over-use hand applied chemicals is also a major factor in Virginia Tech’s efforts to avoid runoff and to protect campus plant material.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Anthony Watson is the Associate Director of Facilities: Buildings and Grounds.. He can be contacted at anwatson@vt.edu or (540) 231-6852 for more information about grounds maintenance.

Greg Canaday is the Associate Director for Facilities: Housekeeping. He can be contacted at gregmc1@vt.edu or (540) 231-9614. for more information about the IPM plan for all academic and administrative buildings.

David Chinn is the Associate Director of Facilities: Housekeeping- Dining Services and Housing & Residence Life (HRL). He can be contacted at dchinn@vt.edu or (540) 231-4984 for more information about HRL’s IPM plan.

Gwyneth Manser is the Sustainability Manager for the Division of Student Affairs which includes Dining Services. She oversees our Composting Program day-to-day operations. She can be contacted at gmanser@vt.edu or (540) 231-1139.

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.