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Obtain and Publicize Water Data (In Progress)

Project History

  • 7/18/2017

    The Water and Stormwater SWATeam recommendation to install a real-time water meter on the greywater pipes in the Business Instructional Facility has been approved by F&S leadership.  This project will proceed with funding from the Student Sust

  • 7/18/2017

    The 2016 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Water Quality Report was released in June.

Description

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 5, objective 1, is "Obtain and publicize more granular water use data by FY16, including water quantity and quality data where available." The campus should obtain and publicize the usage, costs, and quality of water for campus.

The campus publicly displays water quality and quantity data to encourage transparency, instructional use, and campuswide participation in water conservation activities. The site interface could be modeled after the current energy dashboard to facilitate consistency, and could potentially be implemented in tandem with the energy dashboard to leverage the interest of current users of that system.  Real-time water meters for each of the source locations on campus are now connected to the utilities database, and a website display is being developed to share the data for total campus water usage.

Background

One way to look at water in the context of reducing green house gas (GHG) emissions is to account for the fact that certain energy efficiency improvements reduce water use. In other words, the economic value of energy efficiency is often greater than just the economic value of the energy saved. For example, energy efficiency improvements that reduce cooling loads will save a proportional amount of cooling tower water. When cooling towers use less water, they require proportionately fewer chemicals, maintenance, etc. Therefore, a cooling efficiency improvement will result in savings in the cost of energy, the cost to purchase water, the cost to discharge water to the sanitary sewer, the cost of cooling tower chemicals, and the cost of cooling tower maintenance. Economic justification is easier when all of these cost savings are captured. The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center has performed true cost of water accounting for Ford and Caterpillar, and the results have shown that the actual cost to use water can be 5 to 20 times greater than the cost of the water alone.

Campus has begun to utilize efficient water fixtures, including low-flow aerators for faucets, dual-flush and high efficiency toilets, high-performance low-flow showerheads, and pint urinals. These fixtures will continue to be utilized in new buildings and retrofits, and newer technologies to improve upon these efficiencies will be researched and harnessed. Non-potable sources of water will also be utilized when appropriate, including untreated raw water, sump pump discharge, cooling tower wastewater, stormwater, and graywater. The University has a raw water system across campus that has yet to be activated. This would allow campus to purchase lower cost, non-treated raw water from the water company. The Business Instructional Facility is already plumbed in a way that would allow for raw water to be used for toilet and urinal flushing when available. The BIF greywater pipe system project was developed to allow for greywater usage and real-time water meters are pilot tested in some campus buildings.

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