Sustainability at Facilities Management – Landscaping
Facilities Management believes the key to being a more sustainable campus is managing the landscape from a systems perspective with the intent of creating a more progressive, species-diverse landscape for CSU. A prime example is the renovation of the Lagoon. This beloved location underwent a transformation into a smaller pond with the intent of lessening evaporation, including a water quality feature to clean campus stormwater. There is a walking path to engage the campus community, as well as areas for the public to directly experience the pond, including handicap accessibility. The overall outcome, which is a goal of all of our sustainable-landscaping efforts, is an environment that offers physical and mental health benefits for the CSU community.
Campus Arboretum & Tree Campus Higher Education
Facilities Management is responsible for approximately 10,000 trees, distributed over three campuses. Trees benefit our environment by providing shade and cooling effects, enhancing the beauty of our campus, protecting us from the wind, and cleaning our air. The CSU campus is a designated Level III ArbNet Arboretum and is Tree Campus Higher Education certified. Learn more: https://www.fm.colostate.edu/arboretum.
Pollinators & Bee Campus USA
Facilities Management intentionally promotes best practices for creating pollinator-friendly spaces on campus. One such effort has been the installation and maintenance of pollinator gardens. Considering the critical role pollinators play in our surrounding ecosystem, CSU has made a commitment to make our campus more welcoming to these essential creatures by becoming Bee Campus USA certified. Learn more: https://www.fm.colostate.edu/pollinators.
Integrated Pest Management
Facilities Management applies a holistic approach to managing animals, insects, and weeds, through our IPM procedures, following the EPA’s standards for environmentally safe practices. Learn more: https://www.fm.colostate.edu/ipm.
Facilities Management Outdoor Services makes veggie donations to the food bank. In August 2021, we donated 79 lbs. of zucchini, beets, and green beans. In September 2021, we donated 68 lbs. of zucchini, pumpkins, beets, carrots, and potatoes.
Irrigation – Drought Response Plan
Irrigated landscapes in Colorado account for only 3% of the total water consumption. The approach for water use on the CSU campus since the drought of 2002–03 has been to work with an irrigation water budget, taking specific measures to reduce water usage. This approach has resulted in a 25–30% irrigation water use reduction.
Of the approximately 650-acre feet of water we use within our budget each year:
- 96% of irrigation water comes from non-potable sources, and we have a current project to take that to 99% plus in the next 2 years
- 400-acre feet of irrigation water can only be used for this purpose per our water allocation regulated by state water law
- On average over half of the water we use on campus per year has a first use in hydraulics experiments at the CSU Hydraulic Laboratory. For smaller experiments this water is recirculated.
- Some water is used for evaporative cooling (the campus cooling system), which avoids the use of treated domestic water for the cooling of campus buildings
- And what water is not absorbed into the ground for plant growth or consumed for cooling, runs off as a return flow to the Poudre River, which in itself has an environmental benefit.
Ongoing measures taken to conserve irrigation water include:
- Reduction of irrigated turf areas
- The use of native and low-water-use adapted plant materials in new landscapes
- Watering per the evapotranspiration rates of the plant materials managed
- The use of “flow sensors” on major legs of our system to shut off these legs of the system when excess flows are detected
- Pilot use of soil moisture sensors attached to our irrigation controls
- Central irrigation controls with smart phone control
- Watering within a 12–13 hour nighttime water window
Vital to a drought response plan is the economic, public health, and environmental benefits of an irrigated, appropriately-landscaped and fully stocked urban forest. The CSU Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Department has a publication on the Hidden Values of Landscapes https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/garden/landscapes.pdf that quantifies these benefits.