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Pepperdine installs eco-friendly projects

Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor
12:38 pm PDT July 28, 2014

With a severe, prolonged drought affecting the State of California, Malibu’s Pepperdine University has been making strides throughout the dry months to maintain it’s “renowned green lawn” with the use of a water reclamation project, said Rhiannon Bailard, associate vice president at Pepperdine’s Center for Sustainability.

Pepperdine has been using reclaimed water to irrigate its 830-acre campus, utilizing a wastewater treatment program, since 1972, Bailard said, a feat which is aided by the use of native vegetation for one third of the school’s land. 

“Today, reclaimed water accounts for 99 percent of irrigation campus-wide,” Bailard said. “The University’s renowned green lawn was specifically selected to ensure reuse of all of the recycled water generated in lieu of an ocean outfall.”

Although their water reclamation project is one of the school’s better-known sustainability programs, Bailard said Pepperdine has been working recently to lessen their environmental impact on land and in the sky. A campus-wide plan to reduce wasted light has been enacted by the Center for Sustainability, in which the school has pledged to place all existing exterior globe lights with directional fixtures that will direct all light to the area intended to be lit, instead up toward the sky. Included the project will be removal of the light stanchions as well as the replacement of conduits, heads and bulbs. 

The project is ongoing, with headway already made at the Firestone Fieldhouse and at all crosswalks on campus. 

“Additionally, we are installing highly efficient LED bulbs in these new fixtures,” Bailard said. “So this project will significantly reduce energy usage, it will effectively reduce the amount of glare and prevent wasted light and it will limit unwanted illumination of the night sky will efficiently lighting the appropriate areas.” 

Also, in keeping with Malibu’s move toward banning all rodenticide use within the city, Pepperdine has teamed up with the Malibu Agricultural Society to transition to a more sustainable method of rodent control. 

The university now utilizes a poison-free management system by EcoLab, phasing out rodenticides on campus by the end of May 2014. 

“We are looking to predator bird species — raptors — that could further control the rodent population through natural predation,” Bailard said. “The university is now developing plans to strategically install perches around campus, providing favorable positions from which these birds can hunt rodents.”

Pepperdine has also made strides in furthering their sustainability mission by installing electric vehicle charging stations around campus, funding for which was provided by Chevrolet in fall 2013.

Installation of three stations will be complete by the end of summer, Bailard said. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the start of the fall semester. 

Possible plans for a “green” residence hall, titled “The Eden Project,” have been discussed by the Center for Sustainability. Energy efficiency retrofits, coupled with a behavior campaign would establish the space as a forward-thinking, sustainable hall.

“Long before ‘green’ became part of our common vernacular, Pepperdine University recognized our obligation to manage, conserve and sustain natural resources,” Bailard said. “The Center follows the university’s mission of graduating academically knowledgeable and ethically responsible students with a lifelong commitment to purposeful service and leadership.”