Georgia Tech has installed water meters to measure makeup gallons to closed loop systems, irrigation systems, and cooling towers campus-wide. The information from dozens of these meters has helped diagnose leaks resulting in less wasted water and lower water bills.
The Institute has retrofit its plumbing fixtures with water conserving, low flow fixtures. Georgia Tech recognizes the importance and value of water. Leadership is water conservation is a role that Georgia Tech believes in and lives. All of our fixtures are low flow. Our design and renovation standards for water conserve more water than Georgia's Code requires and meet California's water conservation codes.
Georgia Tech's clothes washing machines are low flow. When selecting washing equipment on campus and other water dependent devices, we work to select the most energy and water efficient models that meet our needs. New dishwashing equipment uses only 70% of the water required by older machines. Where available and appropriate, we are selecting EnergyStar appliances. Green cleaning floor washing systems use 90% less water than models used a decade earlier.
Our dining halls server nearly 9000 meals a day. By eliminating the trays used to carry meals in 2007, over 3000 gallons of water are saved every day. It adds up. After the drought in Georgia ended, we didn't reinstate the trays in the dining hall. We moved to encourage students and visitors to think about whether they needed a tray for the meals served in the food court and retail establishments on campus. Trayless dining not only became a way of life, it continues to spread.
Georgia Tech dug two wells, near our main chiller plants. By not using city processed water, we are avoiding the energy needed to process it and distribute it to the chiller plants. As our buildings continue to becomes more and more energy efficient, they use chiller water more efficiently too.
Using only the condensate water from the two buildings with hoses from the roof to the collection containers, we avoided using 618,750 gallons of potable water in 2.5 months to irrigate our landscape and avoided the loss of value green assets during the 100-year-drought Atlanta experienced in 2007.
Landscaping has been installing irrigation systems that minimize the watering of landscape, in an effort to reduce our use of potable water for irrigation. These intelligent watering systems only water when no rain is forecast and only when the soil tests indicate irrigation is truly needed for that area. Gator bags allow water to slowly seep into the ground to water the roots of the plant, as opposed to running down hill away from the tree.
Use of water collected and stored as part of the Eco-Commons will further reduce our need to use potable water for irrigation. In the spring of 2006, GIT implemented 3 reforestation pilots. By July 2010, 13 reforestation projects had been implemented on campus. A tree can hold as much as 1000 gallons of water with it root system, thereby reducing stormwater runoff and reducing the need for irrigation.
Rain water and condensation from HVAC systems are captured in cisterns and used for irrigation. This was implemented around the Klaus Computing Building, which is LEED Gold certified. Campus has evolved to have many cisterns, currently holding over 500,000 of water, with another 1,000,000 of cistern capacity being implemented, and there are another 500,000 gallons of capacity in design phase.
The large cistern currently under construction will provide rainwater and condensate water collection for the new Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons Building. It has been designed to collect 30% of the rainwater runoff from the 12.8 acre site in the center of campus which includes Tech Green. The cistern was sized to provide 28 days of water storage, which will be used for toilet flushing in the new building and irrigation, when needed for its watershed.