Dominican has the following sustainability-related operational practices.

Buildings     Climate     Food and Beverage    Energy    Grounds    Purchasing    Transportation    Waste    Water


  • Indoor Air Quality

Dominican's Science Center was constructed and is maintained according to California Title 24. This policy requires indoor air quality management and practices, which complies with the STARS's Indoor Air Quality credit. The Science Center has gone further than the other Dominican buildings in terms of greener operations and maintenance; however, it does not fully comply with the "Operations and Maintenance Green Building Rating Systems" (O&M) of the "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" (LEED) for existing buildings, which is used by STARS to evaluate institutions' buildings.


  • Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory

Dominican's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010-2011 included the following areas:
SCOPE 1 Emissions (Direct)
On-campus stationary sources (natural gas and diesel)
University fleet
Fertilizer application
SCOPE 2 Emissions (Indirect)
SCOPE 3 Emissions (Optionally reported)
Transmission and distribution losses from electricity    
Solid waste disposal
Paper purchase
For more information please check the following document: GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORY


  • Food and Beverage Purchasing

Epicurean Group features seasonal and sustainable products from local farmers,ranchers and dairies, the majority sourced within a 150-mile “sustainability” radius. All seafood is purchased in accordance with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guidelines.

  •  Tray Less Dining

Tray less dining began in August 2011. Dining Services doesn't have trays out in the cafeteria and doesn't serve meals on trays.  They are available upon request for faculty or conferences, though this occurs very infrequently. The program has reduced the amount of water waste, and food waste has also decreased, as people tend to take less without trays.

  •  Compostable Take-away Containers

To eliminate Styrofoam® and non-recyclable plastics, Epicurean Group established the GreenTown Co-op, an innovative non-profit buyers' cooperative that replaces petroleum-based products with compostable materials to reduce landfill waste. Since the initiation of the program, an estimated 21 tons of trash annually have been kept out of the landfill.

  • Trans-Fats, MSG, Hormones and Chemical Additives

 Epicurean Group avoids trans-fats and MSG in their food preparation. Epicurean Group uses only heart-healthy oils and fats in cooking and food preparation. Dairy products are hormone-free. Sauces and salad dressings are prepared fresh, not from cans. No pre-prepared/processed food, which can contain harmful chemical additives, is ever used.

  • Reusable Container Discounts

Patrons can bring their reusable mugs to Chilly's Cafe, where to-go food and beverage service is offered, and receive a ten-cent discount on their beverage purchase.


  • Timers for Temperature Control

Time clocks technology is used to regulate the temperature in 89% of Dominican's building space (sq. ft.). Currently, the following buildings have this system: Alemany Library, Angelico Hall, Bertrand Hall, Caleruega Hall, Fanjeaux Hall, Guzman Hall, Meadowlands, Pennafort Hall, Conlan Recreation Center, Science Center and Magnolia House. In these buildings, 100% of the occupied space is covered by this control system. Only facilities-authorized staff manages and controls the time clock; an authorized employee manages the boilers in order to turn on and off the heat in the buildings.

  • Lighting Sensors

Dominican uses the WattStopper technology for the lighting sensor. It manages all the lighting and has a default setup (the lights are turned off if the room is unoccupied for more than 30 minutes). Currently, 100% of the building space in the Science Center and San Marco has this technology.

  • Energy Metering

Ninety-two percent of Dominican's building space has energy and natural gas meters; however, five buildings have building-level energy meters, which use the PG&E SmartMeter technology.  The following buildings have the PG&E SmartMeter: Edgehill Mansion, Edgehill Village, Conlan Recreation Center, Bertrand Hall, and the Facilities' building. All other buildings also have PG&E Meters, but not SmartMeters. The following buildings have no gas meter: Brown House, Guzman Gazebo, Guzman Hall, and Martin de Pores.


  •  Integrated Pest Management

The department follows the four-tiered Integrated Pest Management System on 60 of the university's 81 acres, with action thresholds being set depending on the type of pest and its location. Student safety is a determining factor; if student safety is an issue, then control will be an issue. Trees are also prioritized in the landscape, so if pests are attacking trees, control may be employed. Pests are monitored to ensure that accurate and appropriate decisions are made. The focus is on prevention, keeping plants healthy, since healthy plants tend to be less susceptible to pests.  In cases of infestation, plants will be replaced with something that is pest resistant, rather than implementing pest control.  If pest control is required, it is targeted and specific, and no broadcast spraying is done. To keep weeds out, lawns are aerated, and mulch is used as a prevention throughout the grounds. With deer, one of the major pests, their behavior is studied and then strategies are put in place to discourage that behavior.

  • Native Plants

Native plants are used in the landscape throughout campus when they fit in with the design of an area.  Native plants are also used in new plantings along Dominican's two creeks. Non-native eucalyptus trees are being replaced with native redwoods and oaks.  Currently, approximately 30% of the campus landscape consists of native plants, but with the continued replacement of eucalyptus, eventually more of the landscape will become native.

  • Landscape Waste Composting

The facilities department is composting and mulching the waste from landscaping, including leaf debris and grass trimmings. There is a compost pile system consisting of five piles, with compost at different stages. After approximately 12-15 months of being turned over and broken down, the compost is ready to be used in the landscaping on campus. Additionally, downed branches and pruning debris are brought to the chip pile, where a tree company hired by Dominican chips the branches to create mulch. The mulch is then distributed throughout campus.


  • Computer Purchasing

Dominican's Computer Purchasing Policy from the Information and Technology (IT) Department has a sustainability statement, which reads as follows: "As part of Dominican's commitment to being environmentally sustainable, our policy for all computer purchases is for them to be 'Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool' (EPEAT) silver or gold rated". All purchases of computers and monitors at Dominican go through the IT Department; because of this, the department can ensure that the Computer Purchasing Policy is followed.  

  • Cleaning Products Purchasing

MBM Services, Dominican's custodial services provider, has a green cleaning product purchasing policy. Their document states that all cleaning solutions purchased and used by the institution's custodial service will be Green Seal certified, and this document is included with Dominican's cleaning contract. Additionally, they have outfitted the university with cleaning solution dispensing systems containing Green Seal products. No other products are brought in for use.
MBM Services green cleaning product purchasing policy intranet link:

  • Office Paper Purchasing

Although the university does not have a policy for purchasing recycled content office paper, it is purchasing this paper.  Most of the office paper purchased by the university is in the range of 30% to 49% recycled content.


  • Campus Fleet

Eight of the 21 vehicles in the institution's fleet are 100% electric vehicles.

  • Employee Commute Modal Split

A survey taken by a sample of the university's employees showed that 14% are utilizing more sustainable commuting options (e.g. walking, biking, carpooling, mass transit).


  • Waste Reduction and Waste Diversion

In 2008 Dominican's custodial services provider, MBM, presented a recycling plan proposal to implement a recycling program for the entire campus, excluding only the Dining Hall, which is managed by Bon Appetit. According to the plan, an estimated average of 18 tons of debris would be recycled annually. For the FY 2010-2011, it is estimated that Dominican diverted from the landfill an average of 31.72 tons of debris from the recycling program alone. Other programs, such as the residence halls move-out waste reduction program (donation of unwanted items to local charities) and an on-site composting pile have been contributing to additional tons of trash diverted from the landfill, respectively, 12 tons and 17.89 tons.

  • Limiting Printing

Students can print their work at printing stations located in the libraries; to authorize the printing, students need to swipe their I.D. card in the printer. Each semester every student receives printing credits for 100 free pages, which are controlled through their I.D. card. After that amount, every printing is charged. Art students and others who use the small computer labs and classrooms pay a fee to allow them additional printing for class work, which is controlled by their professors.

  • Materials Online

Dominican has been going paperless since 2010. The Registrar's office digitized all paper forms and printed instructions, and it published all class calendars, schedules, and catalogs online.

  • Move-Out Waste Reduction

At the end of the academic year, a group of students, normally from the Residential Advisory group, collect the waste from the dorms, bring it to a central place within the university boundaries, sort the material, and distribute it at different local non-profit organizations, such as homeless shelters. Each year they divert around 60-100 cubic yards of unwanted materials, including blankets, bedspreads, cleaning supplies, food, books, school supplies, microwaves, fridges and other items.

  • Construction and Demolition Waste Diversion

California, as well as the City of San Rafael, has strict regulations regarding construction and demolition waste. According to San Rafael Green Building Requirements, at least 50% of all construction and demolition debris generated by the project will be diverted (ordinance #1879 and 1881, page 11). However, Dominican made a greater effort and diverted 99% of its construction and demolition waste in 2010, resulting in over 2,000 tons of construction and demolition debris being recycled, donated, or otherwise recovered.

  • Electronic Waste Recycling Program

Staff and faculty are aware they can bring their E-waste to the IT department for recycling. E-waste (computers, monitors, printers, keyboards, mice, cables, refrigerators, and scales) is brought to the IT department and a local technology recycling company, Renew Computers, collects, roughly bi-monthly, all the E-waste. Once the electronic waste is collected at Dominican, it is reused or transferred to a state approved recycler.


  • Water Consumption

Even though Dominican does not have a formal commitment to achieve water use reduction, this practice is being pursued by Facilities. Average yearly water consumption on campus was reduced by 20% from FY 2005-2006 to FY 2010-2011. To receive points in future assessments, Dominican will need to monitor its water usage to continue this reduction trend.

  • Stormwater Management

Dominican has stone and vegetated swales and three retention basins to manage stormwater. A medium-size basin is located close to the Edgehill Village Dorms and two large basins are located along the soccer field. In general, water runoff is diverted to a swale. The swale directs water to a large basin allowing water to percolate into the ground and end up in the University well. Then Dominican uses this water for landscape irrigation. During heavy rains, if basins fill with water, there is an overflow allowing water to go to the creek. This process holds the water and slowly drains it into the creek, rather than having it go all at once, swelling the creek to high levels. In the new athletic field, water is diverted to the two large trenches, which are the length of the field and filled with drain rock. Near the bottom of the trench there is a small pipe that diverts the water, at a slow rate, out to the creek.

  • Non-Potable Water Usage

Dominican has a well that generates around 12,000 to 15,000 gallons of non-potable water per day; this water is used for landscape irrigation.

  • Xeriscaping

Dominican's landscaper has been replacing foreign plants with California native plants, which are more appropriate for the regional climate and require less water for irrigation.

  •  Weather-Informed Irrigation

Dominican's Associate Director of Facility Services has been taking care of the university's landscape for years and he is at the site daily. This allows him to use the weather forecast and his knowledge of the regional climate to execute weather-informed irrigation throughout the year.

  • Building Water Metering

One hundred percent of the Municipal Water District water consumed at Dominican campus is metered, and 54% of the building space has building-level water consumption meters, which use the Municipal Water District meter. The Municipal Water District meters Dominican's water consumption using Sensus SR and SR II meters.