Sustainable Grounds Maintenance

American University receives frequent recognition for the beauty of its campus grounds, but the landscaping is not only beautiful, it also is managed with environmentally responsible practices. Many of American University's grounds management practices help to decrease stormwater runoff from campus. The Washington, DC region is focused on managing stormwater to better protect the Chesapeake Bay from the harmful effects of pollution and on campus we are using many techniques to promote native and adaptive species, reduce the use of harmful chemicals, and reduce runoff. 

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is practiced throughout campus. Natural pest prevention strategies are prioritized and chemical pesticides are used only as a last resort after other options have been exhausted.
  • Native and adaptive plants are prioritized in all new plantings, which decreases irrigation and fertilizer use.
  • Green roofs reduce runoff and improve energy efficiency in buildings. Kogod, MGC, the Media Production Center, Ward Circle Building, SIS, McKinley, and Asbury all host green roofs. 
  • Rain gardens and other stormwater management features are located across campus. Examples of these features can be found near SIS, on the beach by McKinley, and across from the President's Office Building. These gardens serve to slow down, clean, and absorb stormwater, ultimately reducing the amount of runoff generated on campus that enters the city's combined stormwater and sewage system.
  • Permeable pavers located next to Ward Circle Building help decrease runoff by allowing water to soak down into the ground below the pavers.
  • AU is recognized as a Tree Campus USA for sustainable urban forest management and environmental stewardship annually since 2009.
  • AU hosted DC's first-ever Tree Summit in 2015 and is a partner organization of Canopy 3,000, an initiative to plant 3,000 trees in the city in 2016.
Various types of colorful flowers surround the bridge

All 84 acres of the campus is recognized as an accredited arboretum.

AU Arboretum

100 percent of electricity is sourced from renewable energy.