Get Involved and Learn More: Join the Water Working Group of the Environmental Impact Sub-Committee – contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Water Working Group 2013-2014 Annual Report (pages 10-13)
Did you know? Roughly 1/4th of the water consumed at the University is used at the heating and chiller plants to generate steam and chilled water to heat and cool buildings.
Energy & Utilities strives to utilize water as efficiently and effectively as possible. From increasing our capabilities to detect leaks through better measurement to identifying potential ways to recapture water, E&U is working to achieve greater water conservation throughout the Grounds. While the University continues to benefit from the many water conservation initiatives that have been implemented, the construction of energy and water intensive research and hospital facilities tends to cause higher water consumption trends. Facilities Management, and the Energy & Utilities Department, have been actively involved in accomplishing most of the traditional “low hanging fruit – some examples are below.
Water Use Reduction
- Converted all air handling systems using “once-through”, i.e. domestic water, cooling to chilled water use
- Converted most domestic water process cooling applications to use chilled water
- Installed low flow shower heads and toilets in most housing facilities.
- Installed water and energy conserving laundry equipment at some housing facilities
- Captured cooling coil condensate at some air handling units to use for landscaping purposes
- Installed underground water collection systems (cisterns).
- Capturing condensate from air handling units (air conditioning). Water captured from condensate is used to water grounds. E&U is currently working to expand this effort.
- Added a collection sump to collect water from condensation drains. In an effort to save approximately 1 million gallons of water annually, E&U has installed a collection sump in the Chemistry building that collects condensate from the air handlers which is then used as make up water in the central chilled water plant cooling towers.
Elimination of Water as a Cooling Source
- Conducted a comprehensive survey of our facilities.
- Identified air handling units (air conditioning) and water coolers that use domestic water as a source of cooling. UVa replaced those and prohibited their future use.
- Identified research and clinical equipment that used domestic water for cooling. UVa installed process chilled water service to those units. This is water that is 100% re-circulated.
- Added water meters to buildings on grounds. This helps us to target our efforts and identify specific problems to make sure water is used efficiently.
- Conducted an ultrasonic survey of the underground water distribution system. By surveying the water distribution system, E&U was able to identify and repair all leaks and update piping to ensure more efficient distribution of water.
- Revised UVa Building Design Guidelines to include low-flow fixtures and plumbing systems.
- Implemented LEED water conservation standards in all new buildings.