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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.76
Liaison Trina Innes
Submission Date Oct. 10, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

University of Alberta
OP-T2-47: Xeriscaping

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.25 Ray Dumouchel
Associate Director, Buildings and Grounds Services
Operations and Maintenance
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution use xeriscape landscaping techniques, including the selection of drought tolerant plants?:
Yes

A brief description of the program or practice:

The principles of xeriscaping are considered and incorporated into all landscape design initiatives, whether in landscape rejuvenation or in new capital projects. The underlying objective is to reduce dependency of all plant materials, whether trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals or turf grass on potable water.

The following eight practices of xeriscape landscape design and maintenance have been part of the Buildings and Grounds Services maintenance philosophy for the past three years:

- Design for water conservation and water harvesting by directing rain water and surface run-off to planting beds
- Design groups of plants rather than single plants with similar water needs
- Amend soil to improve nutrient availability and water retention capacities; this provides for healthier plants that can survive with less frequent watering
- Practice water conservation for lawn areas through irrigation schedules that provide water at optimum times of the day and in optimum quantities to avoid water waste and plant dependency on too much moisture
- Reduce lawn areas, wherever practical, by replacing grass with mulched shrub beds or expanding shrub beds to remove the narrow strips of grass along sidewalks and boulevards
- Increase mowing heights to three inches to decrease evaporation of moisture, encourage deeper plant roots, and promote more vigorous, weed-resistant growth
- Explore the extensive selection of drought tolerant plant materials available for prairie climates and incorporate them into campus landscapes
- Place organic mulch on all soil surfaces in shrub beds, borders and tree wells to conserve water

Four examples of new landscape construction projects that incorporated xeriscaping principles are Triffo Hall, Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS), completed in 2011, the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA), with the addition of prairie grasses to the north forecourt in 2013, and the bioswale and rip rap as part of the Medical Isotope and Cyclotron Facility (MICF) completed in 2013.


The website URL where information about the program or practice is available:
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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.