Water Conservation and Protection

In 2010, Colgate University used 85.5 million gallons of potable water costing $926,517 in utilities.  That is enough water for every faculty, staff, and student to drink 1,006 glasses of water every day. 

Current practices and recent accomplishments:
  • Ongoing program to identify and replace standard flow shower heads, sink faucets, toilets and urinals with water saver low flow devices in dorms and public restrooms.
  • Watering the artificial turf of Tyler’s Field for field hockey practices uses approximately 210,000 gallons of water annually.
  • In 2010, Colgate replaced the last 21 top-loading washing machines with high-efficiency, Energy Star front-loading washers. All washers on campus are now water and energy efficient saving the university money and reducing our ecological footprint. Colgate's old top-loading units used 30 gallons of water per cycle while the new front-loading machines use only 14.8 gallons per cycle. On average, front-loading washers use between 40-75% less water and 30-85% less energy than typical top-loaders.

4.9.1 Install low-flow showerheads in first- and second-year housing
Change all current 2.5 gallon per minute (gpm) showerheads with 1.5 gpm showerheads in first-year and second-year housing.  This project is broken down into two phases.

By 2013, we will have replaced 335 2.5 gpm showerheads in first- and second-year housing with 1.5 gpm low-flow showerheads.

Metrics and Timeline:
This project will be implemented in two phases:
  • FY 2012: Phase 1 – first-year housing (Andrews, Curtis, East, Gate House, Stillman, West).
  • FY 2013: Phase 2 – second-year housing (Bryan Complex, Cutten Complex, Drake, Townhouses).

Recommended Action:
  • Select brand and model of low-flow showerhead as campus standard and procure the selection.
  • During 2012, we select models and begin piloting in a few select locations.
  • B&G staff installs first round of new showerheads during Fiscal Year 2012 (summer of 2011).  

Low-flow showerhead project with estimated cost savings and greenhouse gas reductions. 

Low-flow showerhead phase 1 and phase 2 project overview.

4.9.2 Reduce watering of artificial turf
The watering of Tyler’s field for field hockey practices has a negative environmental image and uses approximately 210,000 gallons of water annually. Tyler’s Field is artificial turf designed specifically to drain large amounts of water rapidly, but field hockey often has the field watered prior to practices in order to promote better “playability”. Gas powered water wheels are put into place and run prior to the team taking the field for a significant amount of time in order to make it wet enough to have any significant impact. This policy requires a tremendous amount of water and labor to achieve, especially if the weather is promoting the evaporation process. In many cases the watering impact doesn’t last very long. Although this is an NCAA requirement for games, we could eliminate this environmentally wasteful policy for practice sessions. Although we would still have to run water wheels for games, we could eliminate the hand watering done by the team for practice sessions. Eliminating this wasteful procedure for practice sessions would reduce the amount of annual water usage by about 210,000 gallons. This would be a step in the right direction toward promoting greener policies in this realm. The biggest political barrier may come from the field hockey staff, but from a public perspective it would be readily accepted to cease this practice. If we can gain acceptance from the staff to eliminate this from at least practices it would have a measurable impact.

By 2013, we will save money and water by reducing the unnecessary watering of turf at Tyler's Field.