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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 67.42
Liaison Beverley Ayeni
Submission Date Oct. 6, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Western University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Stefanie De Adder
Sustainability Coordinator
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate No
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing Yes
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work No
Investment No
Public Engagement Yes
Other Yes

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Immediately adjacent to the Spencer Engineering Building and Thompson Engineering Building, the Claudette Mackay-Lassonde Pavillion is a LEED certified building that allows for student engagement and educational experiences through research. The labs located in this facility cater to students interested in green technologies, processes and materials. The design phase of the facility itself gave Western engineering students, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, an opportunity to collaborate with the institution's engineers to develop new ideas and design strategies to make the CMLP one of the most sustainable buildings on campus.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Every academic year there are two main problems that Dining Services in campus residence buildings with regards to dishes. Firstly, a large proportion of the year's dish supply is removed from the front-of-house operations, primarily as a result of students taking dishes up to their rooms and not bringing them back. Secondly, the paper service options that are provided increase the amount of waste generated by these operations. Currently, co-op students are involved in the process of implementing solutions and determining the success of initiative such as XChangeforChange. The XChangeforChange program allows students to purchase a plastic reusable container for a one-time cost of 5 dollars with a meal. When the student returns the used container they can either collect a new, clean container for their meal or they receive a card that allows them to come back at a later time to take out a new plastic container. The role of the co-ops in this solution is to asses the effectiveness of this program at reducing eatery waste and to gauge the accessibility of the solution from a student perspective.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Energy Dashboard is a relatively new, online tool that allows the Western community to view, in real time, the energy, steam and water consumption of any building on campus or of campus as a whole. The Western Energy team who manages the application is in the process of making some changes and are working with students in the software engineering program to brainstorm solutions. Last year a group of 6 engineering students worked on the dashboard as part of a small class project , and since then a summer co-op student has also been hired to take on a role in this process.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Students and volunteers for the Sherwood Fox Arboretum (all natural space on campus) are continuously monitoring and recording the state of biodiversity on campus. Archives can be found on campus in the Herbarium main office.

Additionally, summer students who work on the Grounds/Landscaping crew are taught the value and importance of native plants in a training presentation and are encouraged to collect data through observation throughout their work term.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A class of 2013 graduate student from the Master's of Environment and Sustainability program was responsible for the creation of a draft of Western's Sustainable Procurement Guidelines. This project allowed the student to learn more about current purchasing procedures at Western while also communicating sustainability initiatives within operations at a campus-wide level. The final document is currently in-review with Procurement Services. It will be released in the upcoming academic year in an effort to serve as a strategy to achieve the 2022 goals defined in the President's Advisory Committee on Environment and Sustainability campus strategy.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A PhD student in Engineering is currently collecting data on the most common modes of transportation that students and faculty take to get to work. The objective of the work following this baseline study is to improve navigability of campus and encourage more sustainable modes of transportation for everyone in the Western community.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

In the 2013-2014 academic year, a group of graduate students from the Master's of Environment and Sustainability program conducted a waste audit that allowed for the comparison of waste compositions between 12 high-use buildings on campus. This project was a requirement for the course "Interdisciplinary Consulting Project (EnviroSust 9200X)". The data collected from this waste audit and waste reduction report will directly benefit the Facilities Management team in their efforts to improve Western's diversion rate and to encourage proper waste disposal across campus.

Co-op students have also recently been involved in the expansion of the waste program at Western. The primary task of these individuals has been to take the data collected and presented in the MES project and implement strategies to encourage recycling and composting initiatives on campus. A new project that Hospitality Services and Housing Services are focusing on is implementing an oil and grease collection program in the suite style residence buildings (residence buildings where students have kitchens in their suite). This will prevent cooking oil and grease from being poured down the kitchen sink.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Currently, several students at the graduate and undergraduate level are taking part in thesis projects or class projects that examine the implications that the Green Roof, semi-permeable pavement, and other developments on campus have on local hydrology. Water harvesting and use of greywater in the LEED certified Claudette- MacKay Lassonde Pavilion (CMLP) is also an area of research for students and full time engineering staff on campus. Data is currently being collected to improve existing features and encourage the reuse of rainwater in CMLP.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A class of 2012 graduate student from the Master's in Environment and Sustainability program was responsible for drafting Western's Zero Waste Action Plan as a project during her final term as a co-op student. This is a crucial guideline in Western's goal to become zero waste by 2022 (a diversion rate of 90% or greater). Drafting this document provided the student with an opportunity to learn how waste management efforts operate at an institution-wide level as well as creating a valuable resource for future use institution-wide.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Indigenous Food and Medicine Garden, provides an educational opportunity to all members of the Western community and surrounding area. This garden was created by graduate student Andrew Judge and is currently managed by the Student Development Center and Indigenous Services. The garden provides a unique learning opportunity for students enrolled in First Nations Studies, as well as work-study students. The Indigenous Food and Medicine Garden is an outdoor space that fosters a welcoming and inclusive community on-campus and promotes Indigenous presence, Indigenous Knowledge exchanges, and community involvement while engaging people in growing Indigenous organic and sustainable foods and plants for future generations.

Please see more at: http://indigenous.uwo.ca/about%20is/indigenous_food_and_medicine_garden.html


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

In an effort to promote new, functional, innovative methods in which to get people thinking about sustainability, students from a Western Gallery Practices class created an art exhibit that focused on sustainability themes. Students designed pieces that highlighted an issue that they were particularly passionate about. These included: organic living, technological waste, the built environment, and asbestos mining; the primary theme of the art exhibit was "Colony Collapse", addressing the possible fate of bees. Admission was offered free of charge to all who were interested.


The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects 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.