A.8 University Makes the Most of Onsite Alternative Water Sources
After capturing all feasible sources of onsite alternative
water that would otherwise be wasted, UT Austin is now
preparing to use city-supplied reclaimed water as an addi-
tional source of make-up water to help achieve its goal
of using non-potable water wherever possible. UT Austin
is currently reengineering the campus’ infrastructure to
be able to use reclaimed city water in its processes. This
includes installing water meters, replacing valves where
needed, and installing additional piping at the property
boundary to connect the city-supplied reclaimed water to
the cooling towers.
In addition to water efficiency, UT Austin is focused on
sustainability as a whole. As of 2007, all new buildings
on the UT Austin campus have received at least LEED
Silver certification, and several are LEED Gold certified.
To continue with its water-efficiency initiatives, UT Austin
has begun focusing on measurement and verification and
has installed submeters on water, steam condensate, and
chilled water lines. Newly constructed buildings have all of these techniques incorpo-
rated into the design phase, while existing buildings are being retrofitted.
In the early 1980s, UT Austin’s facilities were using 1 billion gallons of potable water
per year. In 2010, UT Austin reduced this potable water use to 668 million gallons.
This decrease in total potable water use was achieved despite a 70 percent increase
in overall building square footage. Much of this reduction is attributed to the use of
onsite alternative water sources.
In 2009, UT Austin used approximately 395 million gallons of water for cooling, 11
percent of which was supplied from onsite alternative water sources, including recov-
ered single-pass cooling water, foundation groundwater, air handler condensate, and
rainwater. The University also recovers rainwater to provide supplemental irrigation.
UT Austin has recovered and reused more than 1.6 billion gallons of water since the
water conservation program began, saving $7.5 million in water and sewer costs.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense® program acknowledges Mr.
Rusty Osborne, Utilities and Energy Management at UT Austin (retired), for providing
information for this case study.
Construction of city-supplied reclaimed water