Water, as we all know, is essential to human life. Colorado, with about 14" of precipitation each year, is classified as a high desert. The water we use is delivered and purified via a complex, energy-intensive system. Due to droughts, fire, salination, reduced snowpack and other reasons, our water supply is increasingly unpredictable and future water supplies will be increasingly more expensive to deliver. Therefore, it is imperative that we manage this precious resource as wisely as possible.
In our Sustainability Strategic Plan, we identified the following objective with regard to water conservation: Institute water conservation practices and planning throughout the campus to reduce both domestic and outdoor water use, decrease utility costs, and model effective storm water management. The plan identifies three five-year targets from 2007 to 2012 with respect to water:
1) Decrease outdoor water use intensity on campus by 10%,
2) Decrease indoor water use in existing buildings by 10%, and
3) Develop a comprehensive stormwater plan that mitigates stormwater runoff and decreases impervious surfaces.
In pursuit of these targets, a portion of the $1.3 million Energy Performance Bond was applied to water savings retrofits. The university has started retrofitting buildings with low-flow fixtures, such as faucets and toilets.
For new buildings, the university pursues at least a LEED Silver certification, which includes points for water efficiency. Designed water savings for the Recreation Center (2007) are 30% over a baseline building. Designed water savings for the Science Engineering Building (2009) are 42% over a baseline building. For more information on what we are doing to reduce water usage in our new buildings, as well as other high performance building features, go here.
To view campus water use, access the UCCS utility management system here. Use 'uccs' for 'Username', 'Password', and 'Datasource'.
Public restrooms in Gallogly Events Center, Centennial Hall, University Center, Osborne Science and Engineering Center, and Campus Services Building feature low-flow urinals and toilets, and aerated faucets. Most of the toilets are dual-flush systems: pulling up on the handle uses less water for liquid waste, and pushing down on the handle uses more water for solid waste. The handles are also covered with a special anti-microbial film to help prevent disease transmission. The University intends to retrofit all restrooms on campus with similar water-saving fixtures.
UCCS is a state university and therefore is charged by the State of Colorado "to take a position of leadership in the new energy economy. State government will reduce energy consumption, increase the use of renewable energy sources, increase the energy efficiency and decrease the environmental impact of the state vehicle fleet, implement environmental purchasing standards and reduce waste and increase recycling." On April, 2007, Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., signed the Greening of State Government Executive Orders D011 07 and D012 07, which sets a goal of reducing water use from 2007 levels by 10% on or before June 30, 2012. At this time, UCCS is behind on achieving this goal, as shown in the chart below:
To do our part to improve local water quality, UCCS has adopted the Templeton Gap Floodway that is adjacent to east campus as part of Colorado Springs Adopt-A-Waterway program. To be in the program, UCCS has agreed to two volunteer events each year to clean up the waterway. The Office of Sustainability hosts one event each semester. If you would like to join us or if your group would like to host your own clean-up event, please contact the Office of Sustainability at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719.255.3089.