December 11, 2000
New building means more (water) savings
Alexandra Adams is a student
in environmental studies.
(Editors note: This is the first installment of a new column devoted to environmental
issues on campus and steps the University is taking to address them.
Anyone wishing to contribute a 500-word column for consideration should
call 404-727-0645 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Local residents know water shortages well, but this year water was scarce even by Atlanta standards. However, innovative projects at Emory are turning water conservation into a regular feature of life and work at the University. From collecting 2.5 million gallons of condensate per year to using storm water for irrigation, its all happening here.
If the Whitehead Memorial Research Building appears to be a building
of the future, thats because it is. Now under construction at the
corner of Clifton and Michael streets, Whitehead will be equipped with
cutting-edge water conservation technology. Piping systems will capture
condensate from the mechanical equipment and send it to the Michael Street
Parking Deck, where it will be deposited into cooling towers.
Two-and-a-half million gallons of water is lost in condensate per
year, and it just goes into the sewer, said Laura Case, associate
project manager for Facilities Management. Now we can capture that
The cooling towers use a large amount of water because much of it evaporates.
This new system will take all of the lost water and redirect it to the
towers; and saving 2.5 million gallons annually is substantial. It
is the amount of water 100 people use in a year, said Jen Fabrick,
director of campus planning.
According to Case, rainwater that would ordinarily be added to the problem
of storm water runoff is now being utilized for irrigation. We built
an underground vaultbut made it deeper and bigger so it could hold
more water, she said. The rainwater is stored in the underground
vault and is connected to pumps and timers, just like a regular irrigation
system. This method of water collection will be used for both Whitehead
and Science 2000.
This could potentially supply the whole science building area with
irrigation year-round through storm water, said Scott Wheeler, staff
architect at Cooper Carry, designer of the Science 2000 project.
Many of Emorys new building projects incorporate the Leadership
in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) system into their design. A rating
system of the U.S. Green Building Council, the LEED program evaluates
environmental performance from a whole building perspective, offering
the standard for a green building.
We can bring down water usage to meet LEED requirements,
said Wheeler, adding that the University also will be utilizing drip irrigation,
a water-saving method for irrigating
The LEED assessment is based on sustainable sites, water efficiency,
energy and atmosphere, environmental quality, materials and resources,
and design excellence. Because water is a large part of the LEED assessment
and a big issue in Atlanta, meeting LEED requirements for water conservation
is a high priority for Emory.
With the Campus Master Plan and President [Bill] Chaces attitude
of environmental responsibility on campus, as weve begun new projects
and generated budgets for projects, [weve decided that] now is the
time to build into those projects the ability to address environmental
issues, Fabrick said.