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Report Card 2010

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University of Southern California

Campus Survey

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With the publication of the College Sustainability Report Card 2010, more than 1,100 school survey responses from over 300 institutions are now available online. In total, these surveys offer more than 10,000 pages of data collected from colleges and universities during the summer of 2009 . To access surveys from other schools, go to the  surveys section  of the website. To see grades, or to access additional surveys submitted by this school, please click the "Back to Report Card" link at the beginning or end of the survey.




Date survey submitted:





1) Does your school have its own formal sustainability policy?
[x]  No


2) Has the president of your institution signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)?
[x]  No


3) Has your institution signed the Talloires Declaration?
[x]  No


4) Is there a sustainability component in your institution's master plan and/or strategic plan (check all that apply)?
 [x]  Yes, in the master plan. Please describe and provide URL, if available:

We have a series of planning documents for various departments. For the campus development “Master Plan” sustainability is a key issue that is addressed and the Sustainability Manager (Matthew Oden) actively works on a committee to integrate sustainable design features into development projects.



5) Does your school have a council or committee that advises on and/or implements policies and programs related to sustainability?
 [x]  Yes


If you answered "No" to question 5, please proceed directly to question 11.


6) Please provide the name of the committee and list the number of meetings held since August 2008.

Name: Sustainability Steering Committee
Number of meetings: 7


7) Please provide number of stakeholder representatives on the committee.

[# 12]  Administrators
[# 3]  Faculty
[# 2 ]  Staff
[# 2]  Students
[#  3]  Other. Please describe: Special guests pertaining to specific sustainability issues are invited to sessions.


8) Please provide the name of the chair(s) of the committee for the 2009-2010 academic year, and indicate which stakeholder group the chair(s) represents.

If 2009-2010 academic year information is not yet available, please provide information for 2008-2009 instead.

Name of chair(s): Charlie Lane, Associate Senior Vice President, Career and Protective Services

Position(s): Administration


9) To whom does the committee report (e.g., president, vice president)?

Senior Vice President of Administration and University Board


10) Please list key issues/programs that the committee has addressed or implemented since August 2008.

Key issues/programs that the group has addressed/implemented since August 2008:


Hiring of Sustainability Manager

Creation of GHG inventory Taskforce

Est. Office of Sustainability

Environmental Management System Implementation

Centralizing Media and Awareness


Progress made on each of these issues since August 2008:


Hiring of Sustainability Manager - Complete

Creation of GHG inventory Taskforce – Taskforce Functioning

Est. Office of Sustainability - Complete

Environmental Management System Implementation – In Progress – System Integration

Centralizing Media and Awareness – New sustainability.usc.edu web portal launched



11) Does your school employ sustainability staff (excluding student employees and interns)?

 [x]  Yes. Please provide titles and number of sustainability staff.

[# ]  Number of full-time staff (in FTE). Titles: [ 1]


12) Does the head of the sustainability staff report directly to the president or another high-level administrator (e.g., vice president, vice chancellor)?

[X]  Yes. Please describe: Sustainability Manager reports to Associate Senior Vice President



13) Does your school have an office or department specifically dedicated to furthering sustainability on campus?

 [x]  Yes. Please describe (including name of office or department and year created): USC Office of Sustainability Est. 2009



14) Does your school have a website detailing its sustainability initiatives?

 [x]  Yes. Please provide URL: http:sustainability.usc.edu



15) Does your school have a formal green purchasing policy?

[x]  No


16) Does your school purchase ENERGY STAR qualified products?

 [x]  Some. Please describe: Our computer equipment, available appliances, servers, some specialized lab equipment, +more.


17) Does your school purchase environmentally preferable paper products (e.g., 100 percent post-consumer recycled content, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council)?

 [x]  Some. Please describe: Our bookstore sells FSC certified paper internally and our mailing dept. also supplies internally – their contract is currently renewed and will be 100% post-consumer and/or FSC, many internally depts. Order 10%+, toilet paper and paper towels.


18) Does your school purchase Green Seal, Environmental Choice certified, or biorenewable cleaning products?

 [ x]  Some. Please describe: Many of the cleaning products we use are green seal. In our business school we are working on becoming LEED compliant for EBOM – thus use only env. Preferred produts.


19) Are your school's computer/electronics purchase decisions made in accordance with standards such as the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)?


Possibly – purchasing is spread through 27 depts. Env. Purchasing is recommended.


20) Does your school use only pesticides that meet the standards for organic crop production set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or Canadian Organic Standards (excluding on-campus farms)?

 [ x]  Some. Please describe:





21) Has your school completed a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory?

Please check all that apply.

 [x ]  In progress. Please describe status and provide estimated completion date: Feb. 2010



The purchase of carbon offsets does not count toward greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions for this indicator. They are counted in a subsequent indicator.

22) Has your school made a commitment to reducing GHG emissions by a specific amount?

[  x]  No


If you answered only "No" or "In progress" to question 21, please now skip to question 27.





27) What programs or technologies has your school implemented to improve energy efficiency (e.g., cogeneration plant, retro commissioning of HVAC systems, performing system tune-ups, temperature setbacks)?


* Retro-commissioning is considered and implemented on a case by case basis, either at a project or building level. We have in-house Commissioning staff and plans to expand our retro-commissioning efforts as appropriate and opportunities allow. It is tough to quantify currently, and decide what the appropriate metric would be (square footage, $, etc.).

    * Temperature set-backs and other related control system optimization is an on-going task we undertake and is based on the building function and the appropriateness for implementing such strategies.

    * Lighting retrofits have in the past been completed and significant part of the portfolio related to our energy efficiency measures. We continue to look for these types of opportunities yet many of our buildings needing these retrofits have been addressed.  We would require a bit more time to provide more specific metrics.

    * Building Automation is of primary importance to the construction of new buildings and the on-going retrofits of existing. We have a robust and expandable campus wide infrastructure that allows us to communicate, control, and monitor HVAC and other primary MEP systems as they come on-line. These systems also allow us to trend and trouble shoot remotely.

    * TES: Our central chilled water system coupled with our TES tank allows for us to operate satellite chiller plants at low electrical rate periods, and high equipment efficiency periods; in respects to these system operations. Our storage of this thermal energy and service to campus buildings connected onto, allow us to discharge this chilled water during the day and minimize the operations of our central chillers. This system also allows for taking advantage of building load diversities, thus minimizing the future installation of stand alone chillers and related plant equipment.



28) Do you facilitate programs that encourage members of the campus community to reduce energy use (e.g., cash incentives, signs reminding individuals to turn off lights and appliances)?

 [ x]  Yes. Please describe: During Earth Week 2009 we organized an energy reduction competition with daily updates of energy consumption at the building level in 90+ buildings. We divided the buildings into 3 categories based on building types. We also use signage in many offices through our green office program to encourage energy reduction/conservation.



29)  Does your school generate renewable electricity?

[x]  No




30)  Does your school have solar hot water systems?

Not presently, but we commissioned and paid for a study on feasibility to use solar hot water for our Olympic pools.



31) Has your school purchased electric energy from renewable sources or renewable energy credits (RECs)?

 [ x]  No


32) Has your school purchased non-electric energy from renewable sources?

[x]  No



33) Please provide total BTUs of energy for heating and cooling from on-site combustion:

Heating Case: Total approximate annual USC natural gas consumption is 500 x 10^9 BTU's for which it is estimated that 90% is utilized for on-site combustion by steam and hot water boilers.


Cooling Case:  Not applicable as it relates to derived from "on-site combustion".


34) Please list each fuel source (e.g., coal, natural gas, oil) and the percent of overall BTUs derived from that source:

We do not burn any coal, and primarily use natural gas for steam and hot water boilers.


35) Is any on-site combustion for heating and cooling derived from renewable sources?




The food portion of this category is covered in a separate dining survey.



36) Please indicate which traditional materials your institution recycles (check all that apply).

[x]  Aluminum

[x]  Cardboard

[x]  Glass

[x]  Paper

[x]  Plastics (all)

[x]  Plastics (some)

[x]  Other. Please list: Lab Chemicals, Cleaning Rags à Fuel Prgm, steel.


37) Diversion rate: [ 54%]



38) Does your institution have an electronics-recycling program?

[ x]  Yes. If available, please indicate the total annual weight or volume of each material collected for recycling or reuse.

[    ]  Batteries

[    ]  Cell phones

[    ]  Computers

[    ]  Lightbulbs

[    ]  Printer cartridges

[    ]  Other E-waste. Please list:



39) What percentage of your campus's landscaping waste is composted or mulched?

[100%] – 3 rd Party Pickup Service


40) Do you provide composting receptacles around campus in locations other than dining halls (e.g., in residence halls, offices, academic buildings)?

[  ]  No



41) Do you have any source-reduction initiatives (e.g., end-of-semester furniture or clothing swaps and collections)?

 [x]  Yes. Please describe: We collect goods/furniture when students move out at the end of year and dispose of properly or resell.





42) Does your school have a formal green building policy?

[x]  No



43) Please indicate LEED-certified buildings.

[# 0 ]  Total number of LEED-certified buildings.

We are currently constructing 2 LEED Buildings that will likely have a Gold rating – minimum silver.


44) Please indicate buildings that meet LEED certification criteria but are not certified.

[#      ]  Total number of buildings that meet LEED criteria

[    sq ft]  Certified-level criteria met, but not certified (combined gross square footage). Please list building names:

[    sq ft]  Silver-level criteria met, but not certified (combined gross square footage). Please list building names:

[    sq ft]  Gold-level criteria met, but not certified (combined gross square footage). Please list building names:

[    sq ft]  Platinum-level criteria met, but not certified (combined gross square footage). Please list building names:


45) Please indicate buildings that are ENERGY STAR labeled.




46) Please indicate LEED-EB certified buildings.



47) Please indicate buildings that meet LEED-EB certification criteria but are not certified.



48) Please indicate renovated buildings that are ENERGY STAR labeled.



49) What energy-efficiency technologies have you installed in existing buildings (e.g., HVAC systems, motion sensors, ambient light sensors, T5 lighting, LED lighting, timers, laundry technology)?  

For each technology, please indicate the number and type of fixtures installed, and the number of buildings in which those fixtures are installed. If possible, include either the percentage of the overall campus fixtures each type represents or the percentage of overall maintained building space that has been renovated with the technology (e.g., 20 buildings representing 10 percent of maintained building space have been retrofitted with motion sensors; thus, 10 percent of the total maintained building space in square feet would be the desired data).


50) What water-conservation technologies have you installed in existing buildings (e.g., low-flow faucets, low-flow showerheads, waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, gray water systems, laundry technology)?  

For each technology, please indicate the number and type of fixtures installed, and the number of buildings in which those fixtures are installed. If possible, include either the percentage of the overall campus fixtures each type represents or the percentage of overall maintained building space that has been renovated with the technology (e.g., 20 buildings representing 10 percent of the maintained building space have been retrofitted with low-flow faucets; thus, 10 percent of the total maintained building space in square feet would be the desired data).  


UPDATE 9/2/09

Over the past three years, a central irrigation system has been phased in at the University Park Campus. Approximately 80% of the grassy areas are controlled by a Calsense Central Irrigation Control System. This system automatically updates each night’s irrigation program by monitoring daily Evapotranspiration (the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration). Moisture sensors are installed in some areas and monitor moisture in the soil. The Calsense System then takes the soil moisture information and Evapotranspiration data to change the irrigation schedule. Flow sensors are also utilized to determine, through flow levels (gallons per minute), when a problem occurs. The system notifies the operator of the problem and an Irrigation Technician is sent to the area to repair the break. This system is supported by recognized practices aimed at maximizing the effectiveness of the watering.  Examples of such sustainable watering practices in place at USC include: watering before 7:00 am to minimize water loss; pulling cores to verify optimum depth of watering; and cultural practices such as aeration to minimize run-off.

Other water saving practices put in place have been to minimize the frequencies of hosing down sidewalks and pavement. Most areas are now being blown instead of washed. Pressure washers are also being used in some areas. It has been determined that areas are able to be washed in approximately half the time, from the same source, using half the water.


51) What percentage of your institution's non-hazardous construction and demolition waste is diverted from landfills?

[   %]





52) Are there any sustainability-themed residential communities or housing options at your school?

[ x]  No



53) Does a portion of your new student orientation specifically cover sustainability?

[x]  Yes. Please describe how sustainability is incorporated (e.g., information sessions, green tour): In the campus tour we specifically cover the new LEED building that are being constructed; especially since one of our largest and greenest buildings is the new Student Center! Furthermore, we had a breakout session for new students that specifically covered sustainability. We had 7 sessions with an average of 100 attendees at each session who learned about the sustainability office and programs that they could be involved in.



54) Does your school offer on-campus office-based sustainability internships or jobs for students?

[x]  Yes. Please provide number of students and average number of hours worked weekly per student:

[# 2]  Paid positions. Average hours worked weekly per student: 15

[# 6]  Unpaid positions. Average hours worked weekly per student: 15


55) Does your school have residence hall Eco-Reps or other similar programs to promote behavioral change on campus?

[x]  No – not yet. Launching this program in a few months.



56) Does your school have active student-run organizations devoted to sustainability efforts on campus?

 [x]  Yes. Please provide total number of active organizations, names of organizations, a brief description of each, and URLs, if available:


Sustainability Leadership Committee is composed of representatives from the following students groups that have a specific environment/sustainability focus:


GPSS - Graduate and Prof. student senate – Sustainability Committee

USG - Undergrad. Student Gov.

Environment First

ALIVE - Always living in view of the env.

Greek Life

Residential Advisors Association


Net Impact - Undergraduate

Net Impact - Graduate

Env. Science Dept.


PSA - Political Student Assembly

Earthly Creations

Biology Grad Student Assn (GSA) and Molecular & Computational Bio

Center for Women and Men

The Fishbowl



57) Does your school organize any sustainability challenges/competitions for your campus and/or with other colleges?

[x]  Yes. Please list details for all competitions.

Name of competition: Energy Reduction Competition

Year initiated: 2009

Frequency of competition: 1 time/year

Participants: Entire Campus (90+ bldgs)

Incentives: A engraved potted plant that gets passed btwn. Buildings each year!

Goal of competition: Reduce Energy and Education/Awareness raising

Percent of energy/water/waste reduced: Unknown

Lasting effects of competition: Education/Awareness – Habitual Changes

Website: http://sustainability.usc.edu/content/usc-2009-energy-reduction-competition





58) How many vehicles are in your institution's fleet?

[#        ] 168 in the USC Auxiliaries Fleet


59) Please list the number of alternative-fuel vehicles in each class.

[#        ]  Hybrid. Please list makes and models: 5 Total : 3 Saturn Vue, 1 Toyota Prius and 1 Ford Escape

[#        ]  Electric. Please describe type of vehicles: 30 Total : 9 Chrysler GEM, 2 Easy Go, 10 Ford Think, 17 Taylor Dunn

[#        ]  Biodiesel. Please describe type of vehicles and list biodiesel blend(s) used: Our entire fleet (24 vehicles) of USC Trams has been converted to B20 bio-diesel fuel this year. To diversify our fleet, we are purchasing our first natural gas-fueled “cutaway” bus, which will be operational in fall 2007


24 vehicle running 10% bio-diesel : 18 Bluebird Bus, 2 GMC Trucks, 1 Sterling and 2 Thomas bus


[#        ]  Other. Please describe:


Propane - Three GMC buses

                One Tennant sweeper

                One Tennant scrubber


60) What is the average GHG emission rate per passenger mile of your institution's motorized fleet?




61) Does your school offer incentives for carpooling?

[x]  Yes. Please describe details of the program including the type of the incentive and eligible community members (e.g., faculty, staff, students): Students, staff, and faculty are all eligible to join the carpool and vanpool programs. There are preferred parking spots available for car pooling and van pools are subsidized and organized by the University for people.


62) Does your school offer public transportation subsidies?

[x]  Yes. Please describe the program including the size of the discount (as a percent of full price) and eligible community members (e.g., faculty, staff, students): We currently subsidize 22,336 public transit passes at 50% ­discount. This is available for students, staff, and faculty.


63) Does your school provide free transportation around campus?

[x]  Yes. Please describe: We have a campus cruiser program that students staff and faculty can use. All they have to do is call and request a pickup – Vehicles will take them anywhere within the vicinity of our Campus.


64) Does your school operate a free transportation shuttle to local off-campus destinations?

 [x]Yes. Please describe: We have shuttles that take students, staff, and faculty from our two main campuses directly to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, where they can connect to train, subway, and bus lines.



65) Does your school offer a bicycle-sharing/rental program or bicycle repair services?

[x]  No – However, we have a huge biking culture here. We allow bikes to be ridden everywhere on campus. In fact we don’t even have dedicated lanes. If you are riding a bike, you can get anywhere on campus. There are bicycle shops located conveniently around campus.



66) Does your school partner with a car-sharing program?

 [x]  Yes. Please provide details below.

Zip Car

Year created: 2007

Total number of vehicles: 13 (expanding to add 10 more in late August!)

Number of hybrid vehicles: 3

Fee for membership: $35



67) Does your school have policies that support a pedestrian-friendly or bike-friendly campus (e.g., in the school's master plan, a policy prohibiting vehicles from the center of campus)?

[x]  Yes. Please describe: We actively promote our pedestrian friendly and bike-friendly campus in all of our planning activities. We pride ourselves on this feature of our campus and don’t allow internal vehicle traffic in the main corridors except for special deliveries, events, and emergencies.


68) What percentage of individuals commute to campus via environmentally preferable transportation (e.g., walking, bicycling, carpooling, using public transit)?

[     %]

Here are the numbers for ridesharing.

    * 260 carpool permits. Each permit is for two rider or more riders.

    * There are 180 vanpool riders.


We issue (per month):

    * 350 vouchers (these folks purchase transit passes on their own)

    * 600 TAP passes (Metro Annual passes)

    * 800 monthly passes (Metro & EZ monthly paper passes)

    * 230 Metrolink passes

    * 25 Commuter express passes




69) Campus setting:

[x]  Urban


70)  Total number of buildings: [#360+ ]

71)  Combined gross square footage of all buildings: [16,358,964 ]

72)  Full-time enrollment (undergraduate and graduate): [#29,517]

73)  Part-time enrollment (undergraduate and graduate): [#4,230 ]

74)  Part-time enrollment as a proportion to a full-time course load: [All Part Time Students are under 12 units, no further data]

75) Percent of full-time students that live on campus: [30%]


Questions 76-87 are for informational purposes only; responses will NOT be included in the Report Card evaluation process.




Please mark an "X" next to each item that applies to your institution.


76)  Outdoors club: [x]

77)  Disposable water bottle ban: [  ]

78)  Participation in Recyclemania: [  ]

79)  Student trustee position: [  ]

80)  Environmental science/studies major : [x]

81)  Environmental science/studies minor or concentration : [x]

82)  Graduate-level environmental program: [x] – Research, Architecture, Engineering.

83)  Student green fee: [  ]

84)  Alumni green fund: [  ]

85)  Revolving loan fund for sustainability projects: [  ]

86)  Campus garden or farm: [  ]

87)  Single-stream recycling: [ x]


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