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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 69.67
Liaison Trina Innes
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alberta
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Ray Dumouchel
Associate Director, Buildings and Grounds Services
Operations and Maintenance
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
26,370.96 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 235.54 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) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 235.54 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):

Agricultural experimental land *this makes up the majority of the excluded areas*
Building footprints
Areas maintained by other parties (e.g. hospital, transit)

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:

Please see attachment for detailed description.


Effective and environmentally sound land stewardship is a fundamental component of the university’s landscape management philosophy. Controlling invasive pests while promoting healthy growth of desirable species helps to fulfill this responsibility by:

• Reducing health dangers caused by insect or disease infestations
• Maintaining indigenous and cultivated/introduced landscape vegetation
• Supporting stakeholder activities, i.e. sports, recreational pastime, aesthetic enjoyment
• Maintaining wildlife habitat

Buildings and Grounds Services uses integrated pest management (IPM) to promote healthy vegetation and guide pest control activities on lands owned and leased by the University of Alberta. This program follows a “traditional” IPM approach (cultural/biological, mechanical, chemical, legislative) to improve plant health and to prevent and manage pest infestations. IPM is a decision-making guideline that gathers critical information and uses all necessary techniques to suppress pest populations effectively, economically and in an environmentally-sound manner that sustains a healthy landscape. IPM strives to reduce reliance on pesticides and to integrate preventative measures and alternative control technologies.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:

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:

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

During new construction projects, landscape renovation and restoration initiatives, Buildings and Grounds Services always seeks opportunities to incorporate native and drought-tolerant plant species. The objective is to reduce irrigation demands and to select plants which more readily adapt to Edmonton's climatic conditions. To this end, landscape architects are encouraged to consider native plants – both shrubs and grasses. The use of grass as a ground cover is discouraged and used only in gathering spaces such as the quads.

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

The university actively looks for ways to incorporate water capture and reuse into landscape management plans and practices. Several examples of water capture for irrigation are highlighted in OP-22 Water Use. Additionally, the university's xeriscaping principles are outlined below.


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 are part of the Buildings and Grounds Services maintenance philosophy:

• 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.
• Schedule lawn irrigation to provide water at optimum times of the day, and in optimum quantities, such that water is not wated and plants do not become dependent 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.

Examples of landscape construction projects that incorporated xeriscaping principles include:
• Triffo Hall (2009)
• Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (2011)
• Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (2013); prairie grasses at the north forecourt.
• Medical Isotope and Cyclotron Facility (2013); bioswale and rip rap.

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

All mowers have a mulch kit to grass-cycle trimmings.

Yardwaste such as branches and leaves are collected and sent to a local composting facility. The university receives compost back from the same facility to use in flower and shrub beds.

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

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):

Edmonton receives an average of eight months of snowfall from October to May, with an average annual snowfall of 115 cm (45 1/4 inches). By comparison, Vancouver receives an average of 43 cm (17 inches) over six months; and Toronto receives 133 cm (52 3/8 inches) over seven months. Thus, snow and ice removal practices are an important part of our operations and maintenance strategy.

Buildings and Grounds Services (BGS) has taken steps to ensure the safety of the university community while minimizing any negative impact on the landscape. Steps include:

• Eliminating salted sand use.
• Using a rock chip that requires only a small percentage of salt content to keep the material usable, even in Alberta’s coldest winter months.
• Using an eco-friendly ice melt product (Regard Eco-Melt) that minimizes the effects on landscaped areas.
• Training staff in the proper use of the ice melt product.


Augustana Campus in Camrose, Alberta receives an average annual snowfall of 122 cm over eight months, similar to Edmonton.

Augustana Campus has implemented a snow and ice removal program that further enhances the practices already in place at other campuses. Along with standard practices consistent with those listed above, a detailed diagram of the campus has been prepared to assist equipment operators in ploughing and storing snow in such a way as to least affect grass, trees, shrubs and spring water runoff.


Weather statistics presented here are from http://www.theweathernetwork.com/statistics/ and represent the average weather conditions over the past 30 years.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Additional Responsible Party Information:

North Campus
Tom McLean
Manager of Landscape Services

Augustana Campus
Chris Blades
Facilities and Operations Manager

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.