U Michigan Reduces Water Consumption by 68%
As a result of a computerized irrigation system installed in 2006, the University of Michigan has announced a 68 percent reduction in campus water consumption. The system plugs into a campus weather station that watches wind speed, rain, temperature and humidity to gauge the best times to irrigate and when irrigation should be shut off. The project initially cost $350,000, and the university has reported a total of $564,000 in water bill savings.
Ball State U Journalism Students Work for Water Conservation
Ball State University’s (IN) journalism students will collaborate with nonprofit Circle of Blue to report on water conservation issues in China, and how climate change is impacting the Great Lakes region. The partnership will provide students with the opportunity to delve into an internationally significant sustainability issue.
Harvard U Students Create Interactive Water Footprint Map
Students at Harvard University (MA) recently won a competition by data visualization community Visualizing.org that challenged the design community to visualize urban water data. The contest was held in honor of the United Nation's International World Water Day in March. The graduate students' "What is Your Water Footprint?" interactive online graphic shows visitors how much water they use based on what country they live in and allows users to see how much water is used to create common consumer beverages and products.
California State U Sacramento Signs Water Consulting Contract
California State University, Sacramento has signed a $300,000 consulting contract with California’s Department of Water Resources to troubleshoot difficulties with the state’s water delivery and conservation measures. The contract stipulates that the university is responsible for providing consulting, research, education and training services to the water resources department.
Montana State U Saves 40,000 Gallons of Water in a Week
A weeklong campaign at Montana State University increased water conservation on campus and produced a savings of 40,000 gallons of water. The events during the campaign included documentaries, presentations and community meetings. The Water Conservation Week focused on four individual consumption habits: shaving a minute off your showers, turning the water off while you brush your teeth, doing larger loads of laundry and not buying bottled water.
U South Florida Sculpture Raises Water Conservation Awareness
The University of South Florida is collaborating with the Southwest Florida Water Management District to initiate a water conservation campaign called “Every Drop Counts!” The first stage of this campaign began with a sculpture installation in the lobby of the Marshall Student Center by a university alumnus who constructed a pyramid of 111 one-gallon jugs. The number correlates to the amount of water used by the average individual in the Tampa Bay, Fla. region.
U Oklahoma Establishes New Water and Sustainability Institute
The University of Oklahoma has announced plans to establish an Institute for Water and Sustainability. Funded by a $2 million gift from Corix, the institute will include the new Oklahoma Water Survey, patterned on the Oklahoma Geological Survey, which is also housed at the university. The institute will also consist of the Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center and a future program focused on water and sustainability in critical regions. The university plans to begin its search for the institute's leader immediately.
U New Brunswick Students Discover Lead, Iron in Campus Tap Water
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that while students at the University of New Brunswick were trying to prove that tap water was just as safe as bottled water, they found lead and iron levels over the acceptable health limits in water from drinking fountains in two of the older buildings on campus. After letting the water run for two minutes and then five minutes, however, the water levels tested fine. The university is now working with provincial and municipal authorities to resolve the issue. The students, who now recommend letting the fountain water run for at least two minutes, are asking that the university replace the fountains with hydration stations for filling reusable water bottles. The stations are similar to $6,000 models that the university has placed on other parts of campus and is monitoring for usage.
Emory U Debuts Campus Water Reduction Competition
Emory University (GA) has tallied the results of its annual campus energy reduction competition that featured a new water reduction category this year. As a result of the competition between research, residential and other campus buildings, the university saved more than 54,000 gallons of water and experienced a $30,500 drop in utility costs during the month of October. Sponsored by the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, winning buildings will receive $1,000 toward a sustainability-related building improvement.
NY Times Highlights Campus Efforts to Ban Bottled Water
Campus campaigns to curb bottled water consumption have been hindered by contracts with beverage suppliers, says a recent article in The New York Times that highlights student efforts to ban bottled water at higher education institutions. The University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point and Seattle University are featured for their plans for a campus-wide ban on bottled water beginning fall 2011. Washington University in St. Louis started the movement last year.
U Wisconsin-Whitewater Creates Water Council
In an effort to create student awareness of the opportunities in water conservation and business, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has formed the Water Council in collaboration with the Milwaukee Water Council. The organization plans to host a series of lectures, conferences and films to increase the awareness of water conservation and hopes to serve as a mentor to other university institutions in promoting water conservation.
U California Santa Barbara Installs Sustainable Water System
The University of California, Santa Barbara has installed a portable sustainable water system. The system converts humidity into fresh water. The portable machine captures moisture from the air, then condenses, filters and stores the byproduct. Campus sustainability coordinators anticipate that the machine can significantly reduce the university’s carbon footprint over time.
Study: Habit, Availability Spurs New York U Bottled Water Use
A study by a New York University Ph.D. student found that habit, campus availability and aesthetics (taste and clarity) motivates bottled water consumption at the university. The qualitative research study, funded by the university's Green Grant program, concluded that the university consumes the equivalent of one million bottles of water a month. The research was conducted to provide an academic foundation and basis for the culture of water consumption and quality of water on campus.
U Maryland Reduces Campus Stormwater Runoff Pollution
The University of Maryland has begun efforts to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff pollution on campus. The stormwater that runs through the university ultimately makes its way to a nearby river. To help the problem, the university has built a brick pad at the most-used bus stop with pavers far enough apart that water can trickle through instead of running off. Funded by Prince George’s County and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the university also plans to build three stormwater treatment facilities on campus as part of a larger project for nutrient and sediment removal from stormwater.
U Utah Students Install Rain Gardens
Graduate students at the University of Utah have installed multiple rain gardens as a solution for water treatment and conservation. The 1,500-square-foot rain gardens are designed to treat polluted stormwater from nearby roadways and parking lots. The strategy will conserve water and keep many pollutants from entering the storm drainage and a nearby creek. The project uses native plants to filter pollutants and release clean water back into the ground.
U New Hampshire Installs Low-Flow Plumbing in Residence Halls
The University of New Hampshire has installed low-flow toilet valves, showerheads and sink faucets in three residence halls. In 2009, the three dorms used an estimated 21 million gallons. With the new plumbing, the university expects to save more than five million gallons of water a year.
U Maryland Develops Bio-Filtration System
The University of Maryland has developed a bio-filtration system to reduce urban runoff pollution in the Anacostia watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. University researchers have re-engineered rain gardens to improve the removal of phosphorous, nitrogen and other prime urban pollutants from runoff. With a $600,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Prince George's County Government, researchers will conduct a three-part demonstration project near parking lots on campus.
U San Francisco Upgrades Water Fountains
The University of San Francisco (CA) has upgraded existing water fountains to make it easier to fill up a reusable bottle. The upgrades come as the result of a three-year campaign by the student-led university Green Team to get the campus to stop selling single-use water bottles. To prepare for the lack of bottled water for purchase, the university has purchased kits to that will convert existing fountains and add a second spout to allow for easy filling.
U Texas to Decrease Water Fountain Hours
The University of Texas has announced a plan to reduce campus water fountain operation hours to save money and conserve water. Operating hours will be reduced from 17 to 10 hours per day, saving an expected one million gallons of water per year.
Fanshawe College Debuts Green Roof
Fanshawe College (ON) has installed its first living green roof. Drought-resistant perennial plants cover 850 square feet of rooftop space. The plant modules, each filled with six different types of sedum, are designed to be waterproof and impenetrable while supporting drainage and root growth. The roof will reduce noise and storm water runoff, save energy, improve air quality, provide better insulation and aid in fire prevention. Students who worked on the roof received training and professional certification in green roof installation.
North Carolina State U Installs Green Roof
North Carolina State University has completed the installation of a 3,780-foot green roof at the campus' new engineering building. The roof features 10 drought-resistant plants and will save the university an estimated 25-50 percent in heating and cooling costs.
Washington State U Students Build Green Roof
Washington State University landscape architecture students have built a green roof as part of a multi-phased display garden. The students had the opportunity to design a space, do a cost estimate on the materials and build the roof. Located atop a shade and storage pavilion, the roof was constructed almost entirely from 100-year-old recycled wood. The roof supports small drought-tolerant plants and will reduce water runoff.
U Utah Debuts Bio-Retention Garden
The University of Utah has announced the completion of a bio-retention garden. Dubbed the "Rain Garden," the plot features drought-resistant, native plant species that pool rain water, storing it underground and re-channeling it to help alleviate the burden of the university's current irrigation system. The garden was built with funding from the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund, which is collected from a portion of student fees.
Antioch U New England Launches Pervious Pavement Demo Site
Antioch University New England (NH) has unveiled a new demonstration site for pervious pavement. Pervious pavement is a stormwater management strategy that allows water from rain or snowmelt to flow through the pavement, into a stone base, and infiltrate into the native soils. The pavement reduces the amount of stormwater runoff and protects nearby surface waters from pollution. Research has shown pervious pavement to reduce the need for de-icing products by as much as 70 percent and to eliminate water pooling on pavement. The demonstration site will serve as an educational resource for students, faculty, staff, and the greater community.
California State U San Bernardino Builds Water Efficient Garden
California State University, San Bernardino has begun constructing a water conservation demonstration garden. The garden will showcase ways to conserve water with an attractive and water-efficient landscape that will thrive in the local climate. The project will be built on more than once acre of campus grounds and will utilize native and drought tolerant plants and irrigation technology. The University’s Water Resource Institute will incorporate the garden into academic programs and provide educational tours.
Florida Gulf Coast U Installs Low-Flush Toilets
Florida Gulf Coast University has installed low-flush valves on university toilets. Fifty valves have been installed in restrooms in six buildings. The University hopes to retrofit all of the older bathrooms with the low-flush valves. A reduction in utility bills will be the deciding factor.
New Mexico Highlands U Installs Rainwater Harvesting Cisterns
New Mexico Highlands University has announced plans to install rainwater harvesting cisterns on its campus. The cisterns store rainwater captured from roofs and uses the captured water to irrigate drought-tolerant landscaping for the buildings. The first underground unit will hold 90,000 gallons of water and planned cisterns will add an additional 200,000 gallons of water storage.
California State U Northridge Saves Water
California State University, Northridge has received incentive money for water-saving projects. One incentive of $108,000 was used to replace 265 urinals with waterless versions. An incentive of $347,000 was used to create a computer-based irrigation system. In addition, the University is considering rainwater harvesting and buying grey water.
Oregon State U Students Build Green Roof
Oregon State University students have begun building a green roof on top of a storage shed as part of a landscape construction course. The green roof will help regulate temperature and minimize storm water runoff. Sensors will allow students to monitor a variety of factors including rainfall patterns.
Washington State U Installs Permeable Paving
Washington State University has installed permeable paving at its Research & Extension Center. The concrete is designed so water flows through it and into the ground beneath. The installation is part of a $1 million stormwater research effort to help revolutionize urban development.
EPA Designates North Carolina State U as Ctr of Excellence
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated North Carolina State University (NCSU) as a Center of Excellence for Watershed Management. To become a recognized Center of Excellence, the institution must demonstrate technical expertise in identifying and addressing watershed needs; involve students, staff, and faculty in watershed research; demonstrate the capability to involve the full suite of disciplines needed for all aspects of watershed management; and have the financial ability to become self-sustaining, the willingness to partner with other institutions, and the support from the highest levels of the organization. NCSU is the managing entity of the Water Resources Research Institute for the entire University of North Carolina system.
U Central Arkansas Installs Green Roof
University of Central Arkansas has installed a $60,000 green roof on campus. The roof includes 2,000 square-feet of various sedum plants and is designed to reduce heating and cooling costs, extend lifespan of the roof, and decrease storm water runoff. If the green roof is successful, it could be expanded throughout the campus.
U of Oklahoma Introduces Green Roof
University of Oklahoma has debuted a green roof on top of one of its research buildings. The new installation has 160 trays measuring a combined 1,280 square-feet that will hold plants, grasses, sand, and organic material. The green roof is designed to reduce both storm water runoff and energy use and cost. Depending on the conditions, the University could save 25 to 75 percent of its annual air conditioning costs.
U Southern Maine Installs Green Roof
University of Southern Maine has installed an 880-square-foot green roof on the Wishcamper Center, an academic building that houses the School of Public Service and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Eight different varieties of plants now grow in 110 trays on the structure's roof in a mixture of sand, gravel, and mineral. The green roof is designed to reduce water runoff, extend roof lifespan, and reduce heating and cooling needs.
U Utah Install Rain Garden
University of Utah students install a rain garden. The rain garden will utilize a special blend of soil that stores the rain and slowly releases it to the plants over time. The rain garden is among the first projects to be funded by the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund. Last year, students voted to assess the fee of $2.50 per semester to fund campus sustainability initiatives.
U Washington Students & Faculty Construct Rooftop Garden
University of Washington students and faculty have constructed a rooftop garden on an existing greenhouse to demonstrate the various uses of a green roof. Three trays with different planting areas will be used to explore different ways to grow food in an urban environment. Students are interested in demonstrating that green roofs not only provide a habitat for plants and animals, but also help to alleviate potential water-flow issues. The roofs help reduce the rate at which water enters the storm system and also reduce the storm-water runoff overall.
Syracuse U Unveils Rain Garden
Syracuse University (NY) has unveiled its first campus rain garden. The Waverly Rain Garden will capture and absorb some of a nearby parking lot's storm-water runoff. This will reduce the amount of rainwater entering storm drains and help lessen storm system overloads. The garden covers 400 square feet and is capable of capturing nearly 2,000 gallons of water. A total of 55 volunteers, mostly SU and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry students, helped to build the installation. The rain garden was designed by a SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry landscape architecture graduate student, and the idea was developed by an SU student.
Vanderbilt U Urinals Go Waterless
In an effort to conserve water, Vanderbilt University (TN) has begun replacing all of its non-residential urinals to waterless versions. 40 to 50 percent of the urinals have already been replaced, and the University says millions of gallons of water have been saved. Vanderbilt expects to replace all the urinals by 2013.
Luther College Receives Grant for Permeable Pavement Construction
Luther College (IA) has been awarded an $85,979 grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to replace the asphalt paving of an existing 24,600-square-foot parking on the Luther campus with a more environmentally beneficial permeable surface. The grant money will pay a major part of the cost of removing the current 120-foot by 205-foot asphalt parking surface, grading the base and constructing a two-section permeable concrete parking surface. The new permeable surface of the lot will allow surface water and snowmelt water to seep through the paving and into the underlying soil, which significantly reduces the rate at which the water enters the river. The permeable surface paving has a design life of 50 years and is expected to function for at least 20 years with minimal maintenance. Construction on the project will begin in summer 2010.
Northeastern U Installs Permeable Asphalt, Receives LEED Gold
Northeastern University (MA) has retrofitted 18 street trees on campus with permeable asphalt bases to reduce storm-water runoff. The permeable material is comprised of recycled tires and stone, which allows rain water to penetrate and sink into the ground instead of ending up in the sewer. The University has also received LEED Gold certification for its Dockser Hall renovation. The project features low-flow lavatories and a new, more efficient irrigation system. Northeastern was able to recycle 96 percent of the waste generated during the renovation.
Stimulus Money Helps New York Schools with Green Infrastructure
The State University of New York (SUNY), Newburgh; SUNY Purchase; and Bard College have received stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through New York’s Green Innovation Grant Program. The program supports cost-cutting solutions for progressive water conservation, energy efficiency technologies for drinking water systems, and clean water infrastructure. SUNY Newburgh and SUNY Purchase will use the money for building green roofs. Bard College plans to install a new microfiltration system and a finished water storage tank.
UConn Installs Porous Parking Lots
The University of Connecticut has installed a porous concrete parking lot and a porous asphalt parking lot to learn the advantages and disadvantages of each. The permeable paving allows the water to sink into the ground rather than become runoff which can create erosion problems and pick up contaminants.
U Connecticut Installs Green Roof
The University of Connecticut has installed a green roof to help reduce water pollution of a nearby stream. The green roof will help to absorb storm water and reduce runoff into Eagleville Brook. The roof is ground level and is available to all faculty, staff, and students for its enjoyment.
Washington U St. Louis Installs Green Roof
Washington University in St. Louis (MO) has installed a 10,150-square-foot green roof on top of a campus residence hall. The roof contains grass, native plants, and 110,000 pounds of soil. The University expects that 90 percent of rainwater that falls on a green roof will be absorbed by the soil and vegetation, reducing the amount of runoff that flows to sewers and increasing the amount of rainfall naturally recycled through the atmosphere. The green roof also acts as insulation, keeping the building underneath cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, which reduces energy usage.
U Texas Athletics Bump Up Water Conservation Efforts
University of Texas Athletics has begun an initiative to participate in the City of Austin's effort to conserve water. The department has chosen to only water athletic fields twice a week, and the new artificial football field has reduced water usage by 80 percent. UT has also turned off several landmark water fountains across campus.
U Wisconsin-Milwaukee Reduces Storm-Water Runoff
The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee has undertaken a project that will divert approximately 84 percent of rainfall from minor storms away from the sewer system. Rainwater collected from a few campus rooftops and a parking lot will be directed into a new system of streams that are lined with native flowers, grasses, and sedges. The plants will filter and absorb a large portion of the water.
U Tampa Expands Recycling, Increases Energy & Water Conservation
The University of Tampa (FL) has expanded its recycling program and has implemented several new energy and water conservation initiatives. 15 new recycling receptacles have been placed in buildings around campus to allow faculty, staff, and students to recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Recent energy initiatives include replacing 729 175-watt light bulbs with 420 80-watt bulbs, which will save UT approximately $125,000 per year; replacing window air conditioning units in one campus building with central air, which will reduce energy use by 60 percent; and installing a new air chiller and two air handlers in a campus gymnasium. UT has also installed 955 tamper-proof 1.2 gallon-per-minute shower heads.
Purchase College Announces Green Landscaping Project
Purchase College (NY) has announced plans to renovate its central plaza. The renovation will reduce the amount of pavement by 25 percent and increase the thermal properties for the occupied spaces below the plaza. Plants will include a variety of native and adapted trees, shrubs, grasses and ground cover planted in soils specifically engineered to promote infiltration and plant health. In addition, about 4,000 linear feet of existing granite paving will be re-used as curbing around the perimeter of the new planting beds. The project seeks to reduce the amount of current surface runoff, slow the infiltration rate of rainwater, and act as a bio-filter to improve the water quality of runoff conveyed to the existing storm system. The work is scheduled for completion by August 2012.