Between fiscal year (FY) 2012 and 2013, Colgate’s water usage plummeted by about 8 million gallons of water, saving the university over $100,000 in operating costs (not including the energy savings due to a reduction in hot water usage!). To put that in perspective, 8 million gallons is approximately enough water to fill more than 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools!
How did Colgate manage to drop its consumption so dramatically in the course of a year? During the summers of 2011 and 2012, Colgate installed a total of 562 Moen low-flow shower heads around campus (107 in 2011 and 455 in 2012). These showerheads use only a third of the water some of the old showerheads used, which results in several gallons of water being saved every time a student showers. The total cost for the showerhead project over the two years, including labor, was approximately $17,400.
While not all of the water reductions might be attributed to the change of showerheads, such a significant drop in just one year is certainly due in large part to this project. In fact, since the showerheads were installed, Colgate’s water usage is down more than 11 million gallons from FY 2011. The use of the low-flow showerheads, coupled with the strong outreach of the Green Raiders (Sustainability Office Interns) has lead to a dramatic reduction in water use; proving once again that investments in sustainable practices can have dramatically positive payoffs.
The Sustainability Office would like to thank Colgate’s entire plumbing shop including Jim Albertina, Mike Bonsi, Jerry Bugbee, Steve Degroat, Chuck Haurik, and especially Tom Kane for making this project possible.