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Center for Sustainability FAQs

Does Pepperdine have an established commitment to sustainability?

Pepperdine maintains a sustainability policy that states its steadfast and faithful focus on sustainability through communication of successes and challenges, implementation of practices, and education of those we are charged with serving. In order to ensure that the policy comes to fruition, Pepperdine created the Center for Sustainability to manage current and implement new sustainability practices for the University.

More info: Policy

Why does Pepperdine maintain a green lawn?

Pepperdine's wastewater treatment system was established because there was not a regional wastewater system available at the time. Pepperdine and the Malibu Country Estates paid for the construction of the treatment plant, which needed to dispose the resulting recycled water. The solution was to use it in irrigation, which provides a natural filtration system for the reclaimed water. We maintain a green lawn in order to utilize the resulting reclaimed water from treating our wastewater. For 38 years, the University has recycled all wastewater generated on the Malibu campus using tertiary treatment. The resulting recycled water is used for over 99% of campus irrigation, which would otherwise require drinking or potable water. Since 1987, Pepperdine University has also operated an irrigation monitoring program specifically designed to conserve water and reduce runoff on campus.

More info: Water

How does Pepperdine improve air quality?

Pepperdine promotes the use of carpools, vanpools, mass transit, and walking via a program that incentivizes employees to "rideshare." A shuttle service is also provided on campus and into the local shopping areas. The Facilities, Management, and Planning department uses a fleet of 20 electric vehicles and the Department of Public Safety utilizes a fleet of hybrid vehicles. The University's largest contribution to improving air quality is the provision of on-campus housing, because this conserves fuel while decreasing the number of rush hour vehicles. Pepperdine currently provides 2,110 student beds and houses 143 faculty/staff residents.

More info: Air Quality

What has Pepperdine done to reduce energy consumption?

Dating back to at least 1986, Pepperdine has periodically evaluated the Malibu campus for ways to reduce overall energy consumption. Through Southern California Edison, 36% of all energy used on campus comes from renewable energy resources. A campus-wide lighting audit was done on Pepperdine's major buildings in 2002. The audit resulted in the installation of more efficient light fixtures, replacement of most incandescent bulbs with fluorescents, reflectors to reduce the number of lights per fixture, and electronic timers and motion sensors. LED accent lighting has also been installed in two locations on campus. Collectively, the lighting audit and LED changes resulted in the annual conservation of over 325,000-kilowatt hours. The savings would power about 37 houses for an entire year. Additional energy-saving programs that Pepperdine utilizes include:

  • Tinting windows with solar reflective film
  • Using optimal solar orientation and energy-efficient glass
  • Motion sensors and electronic timers to shut off lights and HVAC
  • Solar sun shade (Elkins Auditorium)
  • Centrally controlled automation systems
  • Chiller water cooling
  • Gas-fired hydronic heating systems
  • ENERGY STAR rated appliances
  • Energy Management System

More info: Energy

What sustainability measures are incorporated into buildings on campus?

Since the 1980's, Pepperdine has actively sought, evaluated, and implemented sustainable elements into development projects while designing buildings according to the criteria of lifecycle cost. Pepperdine's energy performance standards go beyond code for all buildings. Low VOC paint is utilized throughout the construction and maintenance of campus buildings. 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
  • Providing more efficient climate control systems
  • Installing water-efficient low flow toilets and showers
  • Energy-efficient glass
  • Following topographic slopes to reduce grading
  • Natural ventilation
  • Native vegetation in landscapes and reclaimed water for irrigation
  • Solar sun shade (Elkins Auditorium)

More info: Building