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Reducing Water Consumption On Campus

VU students can use water wisely; reduce water consumption in residence halls

By Emily Golan, Eco-Dore, Lupton House

In January, the Vanderbilt Eco-Dores peer residential educators learned about water consumption and conservation on campus. Water is a necessity in every society, as it is a fundamental to human health, sanitation, food production, transportation, energy production, and much more. At Vanderbilt, residents use water in their dormitories for everyday tasks like cooking, washing dishes and clothes, brushing their teeth, and showering. Students also need access to water while working in the classroom for laboratory-based courses and research experiments. Other uses for water on campus include: janitorial and housekeeping operations, drinking fountains, vehicle and equipment washing, landscaping, steam and chilled water distribution, and air conditioning. Clearly, water is an integral part of life on campus, and conservation of this precious resource is key to ensure it doesn’t become scarce in the future.

Vanderbilt has already made large progress towards improving water usage and efficiency on campus. The athletic fields are irrigated with non-potable water collected from underground utility tunnels, reducing water usage by over 50 million gallons a year. Vanderbilt University and Medical Center collectively conserve an additional 31 million gallons of water and save approximately $175,000 a year through the installation of low flow, dual-flush toilets, waterfree urinals, and sensor-operated, low flow faucets. These fixtures can be seen in many places on campus, such as the Commons Center, Sarratt Student Center, and numerous other academic buildings and campus facilities, and incorporation of additional water-conserving fixtures are underway elsewhere on campus. Through these conservation efforts and others, Vanderbilt has reduced total water consumption by 47.7% since 2006. This is an amazing accomplishment, but the Vanderbilt community can reduce their water use even more.

Did you know that 16,250 gallons of water could be saved each day if every Vanderbilt student cut their shower time by just one minute? This means Vanderbilt would save 3,702,720 gallons of water a year!

 

How can you help conserve water on campus?

-       Only wash full loads of laundry in cold water, when possible. If you only have a few items that need to be washed, ask a friend to add them to their load. You’ll save water, energy, Commodore Cash, and time!

-       Report dripping faucets and water leaks to your Area Maintenance Supervisor. 

-       Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, lathering soap, and washing dishes.

-       Take shorter, more efficient showers!

 

More information on how to conserve water is available on the SustainVU Water page. To learn more about the Eco-Dores peer residential education program, contact SustainVU.