The building industry has a significant environmental impact, accounting for emissions into the air, waste generation, soil pollution, and resource consumption. While it is necessary for a University campus to enhance its facilities and maintain certain standards, it is also critical to engage in building practices that preserve our environment. Since the 1980's, Pepperdine has actively sought, evaluated, and implemented sustainable elements into campus enhancement projects while designing buildings according to, among other things, the criteria of "lifecycle" cost and energy efficiency. In addition to the sustainable elements incorporated into University facilities described below, energy performance standards go beyond code for all buildings.

New and Remodeled Building Elements

Both new construction and remodel projects are assessed for ways to incorporate sustainability into the facility. Not every measure is included in every building, but where feasible and complementary to the facility's purpose, such measures are incorporated. These include:

  • Installation of high-efficiency fluorescent and LED lighting
  • Following topographic slopes to reduce grading
  • Providing more efficient climate control systems
  • Tinting windows with solar reflective film
  • Installing water efficient low flow toilets and showers
  • Using optimal solar orientation and energy efficient glass
  • Energy management system
  • Motion sensors and electronic timers to shut off lights and HVAC
  • Natural ventilation
  • Native vegetation in landscapes and reclaimed water for irrigation
  • All paint used on campus is low VOC
  • Centrally controlled automation systems - computerized system that controls HVAC and lighting to reduce energy consumption
  • Chiller water cooling - uses primarily water instead of Freon to cool the air
  • Gas-fired hydronic heating systems - uses natural gas which is cleaner, produces less carbon dioxide, and is more plentiful than fossil fuels
  • Solar sun shade (Elkins Auditorium)

Water Saving Devices

In 2003, Pepperdine decided that dual flush toilets would be utilized for all future toilet replacements. One dual flush toilet can save 18,000 gallons a year. 76 have already been installed on campus. Low flow shower heads are also utilized on campus, which reduce water usage by about 50%.

Recycled Carpet Tiles

Projects since 2007, including the Thornton Administrative Center first floor renovation and the Elkins remodel, have utilized Interface Flor carpet tiles. This is a product that has no net negative impact on the environment from the manufacture, sale, installation, or disposal. The carpet tiles are climate neutral, which means they zero out all greenhouse gas emissions associated with the entire life cycle of the carpet. We have learned a lot about sustainability from this innovative company.

Construction Recycling

During new construction, our average diversion rate for construction waste is 80%. This means that 80% of all the construction wasted is recycled and reused. Since a large portion of construction waste can be recycled, Pepperdine ensures that it maintains a high diversion rate.

"LEED" Accredited Staff

The director of the Center for Sustainability, Rhiannon Bailard, and Emily Mead, Sustainability Coordinator, are LEED accredited. This will allow them to counsel the University on sustainable practices and provide one point towards "LEED" certification on every project they work on. "LEED" accreditation, knowledge of sustainable building, and the ability to feasibly incorporate such measures is a consideration in the hiring process of architects for upcoming campus enhancement projects.

LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a Green building certification that recognizes the most sustainable building strategies and practices.

Sustainable Building Maintenance

Once constructed, the University emphasizes sustainable maintenance of campus buildings. For example, Pepperdine uses environmentally friendly cleaning supplies including Green Seal certified products.