Winter 2008: Sustainable Efforts
In the midst of a level-four drought, Emory works to save water
For months, Georgia has been drying up, its lakes and rivers shrinking and its lush greens turning brown and brittle. This fall the state declared the most severe level of drought for sixty counties, including the Emory area.
As long ago as 1995, Emory reevaluated its policies and developed a statement of principles to reduce water consumption on its campuses. The University has taken some innovative steps such as installing low-flow shower heads, dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals at Crawford Long Hospital and other locations on campus, high-efficiency drip irrigation, and a policy by which no irrigation of trees and shrubs takes place after three years. A closed-loop laser system helps the Math and Science Center save 2.8 million gallons of water per year; water use in Candler Library has been reduced by 30 percent; low-flow fixtures in Goizueta Business School reduced water use by 20 percent, and cisterns capture storm water and condensate from air-handling units for irrigation; water-saving fixtures at Winship Cancer Institute reduced water use by 24 percent; and Whitehead Biomedical Research Building conserves water and energy by using large heat wheels to wring the humidity out of the atmosphere and storing it underground. The heat wheels at Emory’s Children’s Center and Whitehead combined result in almost four million gallons of water being captured and used in Emory’s chilled water system.
Together, these five buildings include underground rainwater cisterns that collectively hold 300,000 gallons of water, which is reused on plants and trees.