An inside look at Pepperdine’s sustainable practices.
By Rhiannon Bailard
Director, Center for Sustainability
Pepperdine University’s commitment to sustainability began in 1972, during the construction of the Malibu campus, when the University implemented a program that reuses reclaimed or recycled wastewater for campus irrigation.
Today, Pepperdine continues to engage in responsible stewardship by undertaking practices that ensure the sustenance of our environment and natural resources. At Pepperdine, sustainability is viewed through the lens of our faith-based mission resulting in a moral imperative for the University to do the right things for the right reasons.
Here are some ways in which Pepperdine facilitates environmental stewardship through communication, implementation, and education of a values-centric framework.
All five schools currently provide sustainability curriculum aimed at teaching students about topics ranging from environmental policy to the Christian perspective on sustainability. The Graziadio School of Business and Management has taken this one step further and offers a sustainability emphasis, a certificate in Socially, Environmentally, and Ethically Responsible (SEER) business practices.
Reclaimed water accounts for 99 percent of irrigation campus- wide. Turf grass was specifically selected at Alumni Park to ensure reuse of all of the recycled water generated by the campus in lieu of releasing it into the ocean as remains standard practice for many wastewater treatment facilities.
Native vegetation is sustainable, because it does not require irrigation, fertilizers, or pesticides and has a superior carbon balance. Within the 300 developed acres of campus, the University maintains 40 acres of native landscaping. Pepperdine also preserves the remaining 500+ acres of the Malibu campus in a native state, which supports the native flora and fauna of the surrounding ecosystem.
Pepperdine’s commitment to green building dates back to the mid-1980s, when the University emphasized energy efficiency, reduced topographical grading, and optimal solar orientation. Today, Pepperdine’s buildings utilize energy- efficient features, including an energy management system to control heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and lighting; the use of sustainable building materials such as carbon- neutral carpet tiles; and water conservation features, including low-flow fixtures and drought-tolerant vegetation.
Pepperdine’s campus-wide recycling program provides for disposal of all on-campus waste through a single-bin system, which is then sorted, separated, and recycled offsite. Of all of the waste disposed of at Pepperdine, 78 percent is diverted from landfills. The University also provides recycling options for batteries, e-waste, and clothing.
Pepperdine’s Sustainable Commute program provides incentives for carpooling and mass transit, as well as subsidized vanpools for employees. Preferential carpool parking is provided for students. The University also provides a very successful Hertz car-sharing program, wherein six vehicles are available for short-term rentals to reduce the number of personal vehicles on campus. In the summer of 2014, Pepperdine will also implement the first of four electric-vehicle charging stations.
Over the past several years, Pepperdine Dining Services has significantly increased their offerings of local, organic, and vegetarian/vegan foods. In order to reduce waste, Dining Services eliminated the use of Styrofoam and plastic stir sticks for coffee, composts all food waste, recycles cooking oils for use as biofuel, and emphasizes trayless dining. The “Green Box” is the newest program, which encourages the use of a reusable to-go box in place of the alternative: a compostable ecotainer.
Pepperdine is committed to preserving dark skies. The University will replace all clear “globe” style lights on-campus beginning in December of 2014, which will have a profound impact on sky glow. Pepperdine is also working closely with the International Dark Skies Association to determine how to further minimize campus lighting impacts while providing necessary lighting to maintain the safety and security of the campus.
Pepperdine seeks to maximize the energy efficiency of the University’s built environment. Examples include the use of an energy management system, which allows for remote control and fine tune adjustments of lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning to schedule areas to shut down when not in use and to ensure occupancy comfort while minimizing energy consumption. During times when the University is in session but a given room or space is unoccupied, occupancy sensors shut down systems. The University utilizes energy-efficient lighting and has begun a campus-wide Light Emitting Diode (“LED”) replacement plan to further maximize energy conservation.