UCC is a member of the Irish Water “Water Stewardship Programme”. Reducing water use on campus is the strategic aim of the sustainability strategy in this area. Since 2007, around 850,000 cubic metres of water have been saved, and UCC hope to continue this trend through a number of developments including:
- Development and on-site demonstration of cutting-edge technologies and systems for water reduction and reuse.
- Development of a water management plan to minimise impact on water resources including reducing water consumption (green & blue) and water pollution (grey water).
- Exploring the reuse of grey water for appropriate applications.
Continuous monitoring of water usage and implementation of further savings in consumption is on-going in UCC. The water usage for all College properties is reported on in the Annual Energy Report.
Waterless cleaning technology has been rolled out in the Cavanagh Pharmacy building as part of their “Saver Saves” campaign.
All new projects in UCC look to incorporate the use of rainwater and greywater for toilet flushing.
- The Beaufort Building uses rainwater collection for toilet flushing.
- The Tyndall uses rainwater for plant watering.
- Western Gateway building uses greywater from river heatpump for toilet flushing
- The Glucksman gallery uses greywater from heatpump for toilet flushing.
Water usage savings of over €100,000 a year have been achieved by UCC through identifying and repairing leaks on the Main Campus and providing technical solutions. Leaks were identified using night time monitoring of water consumption on the main campus. The principle behind this approach is that there should be little or no water consumption when the university is unoccupied and therefore any water consumption is most likely due to leaks or unnecessary consumption in the system. Night time flow rates were reduced from 2.3 litres per second to 1.9 litres per second and an early warning system installed to alert on high usage patterns. The continuous monitoring of water usage has allowed further savings to be identified and the buildings and estates office is continuing to target these on an ongoing basis e.g. replacement of the conventional urinal control to an enzyme based / waterless system. On-going monitoring of usage and a list of locations for new water meters has been drawn up for implementation.
Over the last number of years the following actions have been taken:
- The real time metering of water usage has been expanded over the last 2 years to include significant water users such as the ERI, Beaufort, Boole Library and Cavanagh building.
- Active leak detection / alarm limits in place to detect leakages and increased usage on large water users.
- Out of hours automatic shut off of water supplies to buildings when high usage recorded, i.e. Lapps Quay.
- Continuation of the roll out of low flow taps / appliances and grey water schemes as applicable part of our general building refurbishment programs / capital projects.
Upon completion of the Water Stewardship Programme UCC will have:
- The development of water charter for the University, similar to our ISO 50001 energy management system.
- Implementation of water conservation action plan and awareness campaign.
- Achieved accreditation and certification to the AWS International Water Standard.