Water: Environmental Sustainability
- Environmental Health and Safety employs the use of "compost socks", which are stacked in the ground during construction projects to prevent soil from floating away during rainfall. "Gutter buddies" act as miniature compost socks during construction projects.
- Campus Services uses hydroseeding to plant seed, as well as to control erosion, which utilizes a slurry of seed and paper mulch, made from recycled newspaper, to stabilize soil, moisten seeds and soil, as well as to help seeds germinate.
- Environmental Health and Safety aims to keep as much grass in place as possible during construction by minimizing the amount of soil tracked out by vehicles and motorized equipment through the best management practice of building driveways and sidewalks first to create a hard surface to drive on.
- Landscaping Services uses bioswales, otherwise known as rain gardens, incorporating water-loving plants to capture run-off, filter toxins and prevent flooding. Campus bioswales are incorporated throughout campus and are most easily viewed at Troxel Hall and the Applied Science buildings.
- At the end of a project, Iowa State goes above and beyond by putting in six inches of top soil, compared to the four inches required by law to ensure soil stabilization.
- All soil hauled out of construction sites goes to the ISU Compost Facility, is amended and then brought back to campus to help water move more slowly through soil.
- Environmental Health and Safety strictly adheres to Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans for all sites, which outline potential sources of pollution and practices to reduce pollutants.
- Iowa State's Stormwater Management Team, composed of professionals from Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Planning and Management, Department of Residence, as well as Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology-AGLS, won the 2016 CYtation Team Award for developing a solution to concrete cutting slurry, addressing a challenge noted as "the worst problem we face today," according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The team's solution is a super-absorbent powder that captures the concrete slurry and solidifies for safe removal, effectively keeping it from entering the stormwater system, and therefore, campus waterways.
- Custodial Services uses accurate chemical dilution systems to eliminate unnecessary waste by measuring out the exact amount of cleaning product needed for a given task. With this dilution system, Iowa State mixes in-house with on-site water, also reducing transportation costs of cleaning products.
- Most of Iowa State's major buildings have water bottle-filling stations, moving steadily toward the goal of all central campus buildings offering at least one filling station. These stations encourage users to utilize reusable containers and rely less on bottled water, resulting, on average, each filling station preventing tens of thousands of plastic water bottles from entering the waste stream.
- ISU Dining locations use a “pulping system” for dish washing that
filters out food waste, preventing unwanted items
from entering the waste water stream and beneficial items to be provided to the ISU Compost Facility.
- Iowa State has three campus buildings that reuse rainwater to flush toilets: Biorenewables Research Laboratory, State Gym and Hach Hall.
- Iowa State has more than 52,000 square feet of green roofs, covered with vegetation like sedum, native prairie plants, succulents and chives, including the roofs of Troxel Hall and the Memorial Union, on campus. Green roofs offer many benefits to buildings, including natural insulation, as well as stormwater filtering and absorption.