Outdoor Spaces: Economic Sustainability 

  • In support of local economies and businesses, only plants and trees from nurseries located within 250 miles of Ames are planted on campus. 
  • The university owns a 500-gallon rainwater collector, nicknamed "the water bubble," which saves costs related to the upkeep of campus' plants.
  • Technology that manages water consumption is used to save money by making use of a tool utilized at Veenker Memorial Golf Course, as well as ISU athletic fields, that measures humidity and gives the best time to water plants. 
  • Ninety-five percent of the mulch Campus Services uses is produced on-campus, allowing the university to meet almost all of its mulch needs through in-house production. To make up any difference, Iowa State also accepts donations from community members and organizations that have leftover mulch from projects.
  • The campus-wide installation of solar trash and recycling compactors has saved money by reducing the number of trash pickups by a ratio of 5:1, and thereby reducing labor costs by more than 90%, as well as fuel emissions and costs of outdoor garbage bags.
  • Facilities Planning and Management is converting all traditional lighting (roadways, parking lots, sidewalks and building perimeters) to LEDs, requiring less maintenance and reducing energy costs.
  • Spot treating weeds rather than broad application of herbicides has drastically lessened pesticide and fertilizer use -- from three pounds per 1,000 square feet to one pound per 1,000 square feet.
  • Iowa native plants, which have minimal maintenance costs, are planted throughout campus.
  • Plants are caged during the winter months to protect from rabbits and avoid costs of replacement through ensuring long-term health and longevity.