Though not a focus of many Climate Action Plans, water is included in the UNCG Climate Action Plan (CAP) for several reasons. Water resources are projected to become scarcer as consumption grows in concert with the population of the Triad; droughts are also projected to be more frequency in the region due to the effects of climate change. Supplying water also has its own, albeit small, climate footprint. Though these emissions represent only a small portion of UNCG’s emissions profile, the entire climate impact is not captured in this analysis, including emissions from the energy needed to pump water to campus and treat wastewater. Water consumption at UNCG has decreased over 63% since 2003, and the University will continue to implement the strategies that have proven successful over the last decade, including the leak detection and repair program and installation of water efficient fixtures. Longer term ideas within the CAP include installation of water capture and reuse infrastructure, expansion of xeriscaping, and perhaps building living machines to capture and treat wastewater on site.

Since 2003, the University has avoided over $13 million in costs through technology and maintenance programs. Below is a graph illustrating UNCG Water Consumption as well as some examples of the University’s past, present, and future initiatives.

UNCG Water Consumption

  • Installed aerators in sink faucets that reduce the flow of water to a rate of no more than five-tenths gallons per minute (0.5 g.p.m.)
  • Installed low flow toilets that reduce the flow of water to a rate of no more than one and five-tenths gallons per minute (1.5 g.p.m.)
  • Installed showerheads that reduce the flow of water to a rate of no more than one and five-tenths gallons per minute (1.5 g.p.m.)
  • Reset hot water heaters to a water temperature of 120 degrees
  • Installed water efficient dishwasher at Dining Hall that reduced water consumption by 50%
  • Trained staff to monitor the use of irrigation systems and to base the use of the system on the moisture content of the soil, and either the elimination of potable water for irrigation or the reduction of water consumption in the building by 20%, based on water consumption for the 2002-2003 fiscal year
  • Limited irrigation to early morning hours to reduce evaporation
  • Installed rain gauges on all irrigation systems to shut off sprinklers during rainy weather
  • Installed non-potable water wells to irrigate the baseball and soccer fields and golf course
  • Installed non-potable water well for vehicle washing
  • Installed sub-meters on irrigation and cooling towers to receive non-sewer credits for water that does not go into the City of Greensboro sewer system
  • Established a process of finding and repairing leaks
  • Installed most buildings with sub-meters that the campus can read and manually enter into a database
  • Take shorter showers (around 4 minutes)
  • Only do full loads of laundry and fill dishwasher before running
  • Turn off water when: shaving, washing face, and brushing teeth
  • BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) instead of buying bottled water for $10 / gallon – saves money, petroleum, plastic waste, and landfill space
  • Report water leaks, dripping faucets, running toilets, and broken sprinklers to Facilities Operations by phone at 334-3456 or via email to workrequest@uncg.edu