Greener Behrend: Indicator 1, Decrease Water Usage

Indicator 1: Decrease water usage at Behrend.

Between the years of 1996 and 2001, Penn State Behrend’s water usage grew by 43%. This water is used for potable uses (drinking, cooking, etc), non-potable uses (flushing toilets, cleaning laundry) and irrigation.

Water Usage Graph

As Behrend continues to grow, it will become more of a challenge to not increase water demand. There are currently some measures in place to decrease water demand. These include:

  • Food service uses high-efficiency hot water heaters.
  • Housing has installed low-flow shower nozzles on existing showers in all student residence bathrooms, and uses high-efficiency clothes washers.
  • Campus facilities have automatic shut-off faucets and low-flush toilets.
  • There is a cooling tower in the plastics lab to cool the water before dumping into the waste stream.  

Other alternatives to combat water usage on campus, include:

  • Student education (water used during normal morning routine, water-saving tips shower hangers).
  • Adopt a proactive approach for water conservation in food service practices.
  • Plumbing maintenance (water leaks) issues should be a priority (possibly through formation of a hotline).
  • Place informational plaques in public bathroom area (could provide information about Behrend's water source and what happens to wastewater).
  • Institute an educational program in Behrend's child care center on water conservation and recycling gray water and continue the program through graduation.
  • Study feasibility of on-campus wastewater treatment.
  • Continue to ensure efficiency of all plumbing fixtures.
  • New construction on campus requires use of low-flush toilets and low-flow faucets, low-flow shower heads, and high-efficiency hot water heaters.
  • Explore waterless urinals.