GOAL: Net zero water. Reduce water use by 120M gallons.
Baseline: 225,164,787 gallons
Q1 2023: 200,699,033 gallons (10.9% reduction)
Goal: 104,625,094 gallons
Cumulative savings: Since 2012, the Medical Center has saved approximately 349,000,000 gallons of water—equivalent to 529 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The Medical Center water goal represents the natural water budget provided on campus, or the amount of water that falls on the campus as rain or snow in an average year. Water use on campus falls into three categories. Building (indoor) water use accounts for the largest amount of water used. Chillers and boilers, which are used to cool and heat buildings, are the second largest water users. Irrigation (outdoor) water use accounts for the least amount of water used on campus. There are multiple efforts across campus to reduce water use.
2021 Medical Center Water Use
The Medical Center is establishing 2 prairie landscapes on campus through a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant-funded project. These areas were covered in lawn grass, which requires irrigation to establish and maintain. The prairie habitat will not require ongoing irrigation, which will lead to a reduction in overall water use. Additional benefits including erosion control and native species habitat.
Every Drop Counts.
In spring 2019, the LiveGreen Ambassadors conducted a campaign designed to find specific ways to use less water called “Every Drop Counts”. LiveGreen Ambassadors identified numerous methods to reduce water and effectively communicated with staff and students to reduce water use.
The Medical Center campus continues to do a great job of incorporating water sensitive landscaping while still maintaining an attractive campus for staff, students, and visitors. Ornamental plants and bushes, instead of turf grass, inhabit much of campus. These plants are more attractive than turf grass, require less water, and require less maintenance once established.
The Medical Center recently received 10 saplings through a grant program. Conversion of turf to drought-tolerant long-lived trees will lead to a reduction in irrigation water.
The Facilities Team continues to update older systems with newer, more water efficient technology including faucets with aerators, new water softeners, and a new dishwasher in the Nebraska Café.
Clarkson Tower Refrigerators
Several walk-in refrigerators that are on a non-recirculating water-cooling system are being replaced, which will reduce water use.