SCARP students assess the impact of water saving technologies at UBC residence halls and research facilities
October 2014 – Students enrolled in the SCARP course, Planning for Water Resource Management (PLAN 597), reviewed water consumption data from over 20 buildings on campus to evaluate the impact of building retrofits that included the installment of water saving technologies, such as low flow toilets, sinks and showerheads. The analysis suggests that in some buildings, the retrofit program has led to significant water savings. In other cases, the retrofits were too recent, or water consumption patterns were too variable to generate statistically significant results.
Highlights of the analysis include:
- The retrofits in the Ritsumeikan-UBC House student residency in June 2012, which replaced 80% of the toilets and sinks, is associated with a 30% drop in water use.
- In the last 15 years, mean water consumption in Vanier-Hamber has been cut in half.
This data analysis demonstrates a steady reduction in water consumption over the last 4 years at Green College and a more pronounced reduction since the installation of water saving technologies.
- Water consumption in the Walter Gage South Tower student residency has dropped 50% following the installation of low flow toilets and sinks.
- Tec de Monterrey, a Vanier residence built in 2003, was found to use significantly less water per resident than Robson, a Vanier residence built in 1959.
- Gage Apartments has seen no difference in water consumption following retrofits in the summers of 2010 and 2011 that replaced all plumbing fixtures with low-flow alternatives
Sixteen students participated in the project, which was an optional assignment in the course designed to teach students quantitative data analysis. The project was developed in collaboration with the SEEDS (Social Ecological Economic Development) program which provides students with real world sustainability experience.
This exercise has demonstrated the need to maintain accurate data on water use in order to assess the impact of conservation efforts on campus.
“This exercise provided us with the invaluable opportunity to learn by doing – to collect, analyze and interpret real water consumption data, and have the final reports put into the hands of people with the power to influence infrastructure decisions.” – Cassandra Cummings, 1st year SCARP Master’s student
For more information contact Daniel Ward, Research Coordinator at the Water Planning Lab. (firstname.lastname@example.org)