A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Monday, August 16, 2010

Greywater New Norm for Dorms

When Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue proclaims that Georgia is going to save water, he means business. According to this article  in Online Athens, the University of Georgia has just opened a new dormitory that will set the pace for other campuses to follow. Where does greywater fit into the picture? "The six-level building even has the first gray water system of its type in the nation, said project manager Eric Kerley of Juneau Construction, which is owned by a UGA graduate. Instead of going directly to the sewer system, water from the building's showers and sinks will be used again to flush toilets before going down the drain, Kerley said".

And that is not all. "The new hall's residents got a big kick out of another feature of the toilets. Along with a copper roof, cherry paneling, carpeting throughout and other amenities, workers installed silent toilet seats that won't bang down loudly - so roommates won't wake each other up in the middle of the night".  
Stealth greywater reuse; indeed, this does "sound" like a first for just about any campus. I wish these facilities existed when I was going to college in the "dark ages" when recycling meant reusing a beer can for a dorm room decoration.

Oregon State University is constructing a new residence hall to the tune of USD$32 million, and is also boasting to be "one of a kind". In this article in the Daily Journal of Commerce, "...the new 148,000-square-foot building will house rooms for 350 international and American students, as well as provide classroom space, a 110-seat classroom auditorium, a coffee shop and a market serving fresh produce and fruit. It will also use heat-recovery ventilation, rainwater reclamation and other sustainable design tactics to exceed Oregon state’s energy conservation guidelines by as much as 60 percent". But nothing on greywater reuse. And not every Oregon student is happy about the mega-expenditure during these tough economic times. 

Oregon State University does not have a shortage of rainwater during most of the school year and few students reside on campus during the dry summer term, so it makes sense that a greywater system is not part of the design for the new international student dorm. But given the popularity of greywater reuse in many of the countries that OSU recruits students, and the "...university’s plan to internationalize our campus and provide a diversity of global perspectives that will enrich the educational experience for all of our students,” said Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president", incorporating greywater reuse into the new dormitory would certainly provide for such an experience. But it is unlikely given that the new facility is anticipated to open September 2011 and that the earliest Oregon's graywater rules would be ready for adoption is October 2011 according to Oregon DEQ's workplan.

In addition to being ranked in the top 18 Green Honor Roll of college campuses for 2010-2011, the University of Georgia came in first as the nation's "top party school", too. Greywater helps the good times roll.

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