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Key Objective: 5.2 Reduce cooling tower water use

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 5, objective 2 is "Improve the water efficiency of cooling towers by limiting the amount discharged to sewer to less than 20% of water intake for chiller plant towers, and less than 33% for stand-alone building towers, by FY20."

Associated Metric

No metric specified for this objective


In FY11, the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) sponsored a project to identify water conservation opportunities in our campus cooling tower operations.  By increasing the number of times water can be recycled through a cooling tower before it is drained to the sewer, it was estimated that the overall water use can be reduced by 26%.  We could initiate such a program in the chiller plant cooling towers by FY17, and extend this to all cooling towers by FY20.  In general, the water efficiency of cooling towers should be such that the amount discharged to the sewer should be one-quarter or lower relative to the evaporated amount. 

Project History

  • 6/6/2018

    There are still a dozen or so cooling towers on campus, and ISTC staff are meeting with related building representatives later this month to review the options for reducing water consumption in these towers.

  • 3/5/2018

    The Illini Union has demolished its old cooling towers for HVAC in the past 15 years, and recently demolished the old evaporator cooling system for the refrigeration chilling water in 2017.