ASU campuses are central components and partners in their respective communities. Each is in a position to not only create a sustainable identity for itself, but also serve as a model of sustainability for the surrounding community and to promote meaningful change.
Life on land
ASU ensures the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of ecosystems and habitat on new projects, not just reducing impacts of landscapes. This encourages native species, reduces urban heat island effect and enhances desert habitats. Existing areas are being managed to reduce impact and overall land use for adaptation to climate change.
- Read more: Site Improvements Design Guidelines.
ASU is a Tree Campus Higher Education institution. Tree Campus Higher Education, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. To obtain this distinction, ASU met the five core standards for effective tree campus forest management, including the establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observation and the sponsorship of student service learning projects. Campus trees provide spaces of refuge and reflection to students, staff, faculty and the community.
- Read more: ASU Tree Campus USA.
The ASU Arboretum collection is registered with the North American Plant Collections Consortium and the American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboretums.
- Read more: ASU Arboretum.
ASU's metropolitan Phoenix campuses are located in drylands. ASU requires Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification for all new construction of university-owned and operated buildings. ASU's requirement for LEED construction is supplemented with the university's Sustainable Design Guidelines. As part of this certification, ASU must not develop land deemed sensitive, such as habitat identified as threatened or endangered species or ecological communities.
- Read more: Sustainable Design Guidelines.
The Carbon Sink and Learning Forest mitigates ASU's carbon emissions while providing a learning laboratory for ASU faculty and students. The forest consists of 1,000 trees on 10.5 acres at the ASU West campus. As a living laboratory, faculty and staff have access to investigate a wide range of research questions while the trees mature and sequester carbon.
- For more information about the ASU Carbon Project, email University Sustainability Practices.
ASU has worked with the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe to plant native trees with the help of many volunteers. As they grow, the trees will sequester carbon to reduce ASU's carbon emissions. During their life, the trees reduce the urban heat island effect, beautify the community and provide shade.
ASU Grounds Services and the Office of the University Architect acclimate the current plan palette of permitted species across all ASU locations for the adaptation to climate change.
The designated plant pallette acts as the baseline for all site development work at ASU and was developed to highlight native desert-adapted species and reduce and/or eliminate the use of invasive species.
All ASU landscapes are designed without the use of the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed invasive alien species and managed to reduce invasive non-natives. IUCN species have been identified with ranges that extend onto ASU property. No critical habitat has been identified.
- Read more: Please see Site Improvements Design Guidelines above.
All endangered and threatened species are required to be permitted and tagged by the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Native Plant Division. Where possible, all existing plant material should be noted and cataloged for potential salvage operations.
- Read more: FDM Project Guidelines.
ASU is an IUCN Red List Partner. IUCN Red List quantifies global species extinction risk to inform policy, planning and conservation action around the world. ASU evaluates and applies scientific data, assisting global leaders to develop strategies for species conservation and biodiversity decision-making.
- Read more: ASU-IUCN partnership.
ASU houses a living laboratory for students to add to conservation's understanding of behavior, biology, and habitat needs.
- Read more: Burrowing owls at ASU Polytechnic.
Life below water
ASU's Facilities Development and Management is responsible for the oversight and management of ASU's Stormwater Program as well as the Enforcement Response Plan. The ERP presents ASU enforcement provisions as specified in its Stormwater Management Program. ASU's SWMP was developed in 2004 and underwent significant revision in 2017, in response to ASU growth and geographic expansion. ASU's SWMP is intended to be in general conformance with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.
ASU controls the contribution of pollutants to the watershed by stormwater and non-stormwater discharges through our comprehensive stormwater management program.
- Read more: Stormwater Management Program.
ASU designs spaces to control runoff to contain stormwater on-site utilizing drywells, bioswales and retention basins to maintain the health of our water discharge system. ASU is a producer of wastewater and stormwater in urban watershed management.
ASU works to capture and use rainwater for buildings and landscape use so as to minimize water withdrawals and protect our Salt River ecosystem and watershed.
ASU uses green infrastructure to slow stormwater surges and minimize alterations of the Salt River ecosystem due to both chemical runoff and the physical impact of flood waters.
Small scale Urban Ecological Infrastructure bio-retention basins are installed at ASU's Orange Mall and Student Pavilion in Tempe. This design process encompasses a design process associated with the collaborative development of an eco-hydrological monitoring protocol for assessment of post-construction performance of this UEI system. The UEI system has two key design goals: stormwater capture and stormwater quality improvement.
- Read more: Eco-hydrological monitoring.