Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.66
Liaison Megan Litke
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

American University
OP-21: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Courtney Stoner
Sustainability Analyst
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Level of ”Physical Risk Quantity” for the institution’s main campus as indicated by the World Resources Institute Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas:
Low to Medium

Total water withdrawal (potable and non-potable combined):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal 73,394,755.43 Gallons 124,148,668 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 73,394,755.43 Gallons 124,148,668 Gallons

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2018 June 30, 2019
Baseline Period May 1, 2005 April 30, 2006

A brief description of when and why the water use baseline was adopted:

Water use baseline was established as FY06 due to the availability of water data.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 4,140 3,200
Number of employees resident on-site 14 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 13,452 10,000
Full-time equivalent of employees 2,910 2,500
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 1,057 0
Weighted campus users 12,517.25 10,175

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 5,863.49 Gallons 12,201.34 Gallons

Percentage reduction in potable water use per weighted campus user from baseline:

Gross floor area of building space:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Gross floor area 4,415,975 Gross Square Feet 3,328,064 Gross Square Feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 16.62 Gallons / GSF 37.30 Gallons / GSF

Percentage reduction in potable water use per unit of floor area from baseline:

Area of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Vegetated grounds 33.32 Acres 29.81 Acres

Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds 2,202,723.75 Gallons / Acre 4,164,665.15 Gallons / Acre

Percentage reduction in total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds from baseline:

A brief description of the institution's water-related behavior change initiatives:

A brief description of the institution's water recovery and reuse initiatives:

Two cisterns on campus collect water and are used for irrigation at Cassel Hall and East Campus. McCabe Hall has a rain barrel made from an upcycled hot tub.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to replace plumbing fixtures, fittings, appliances, equipment, and systems with water-efficient alternatives:

The university typically retrofits plumbing fixtures and fittings during total building renovations. During renovations all fixture retrofits are specified to be low-flow. In the event that an individual fixture needs to be replaced prior to a renovation, the retrofit is always low-flow.

The following flow and flush rates are required minimums for all new and replacement plumbing fixtures. Indoor plumbing renovations must include plumbing fixture replacements compliant with the flush and flow rates below as a minimum or as required by local code, whichever is more stringent. Improvements to the DC Building Codes/Plumbing Codes have also helped reduce water usage.

Water closet - 1.28/.08 GPF dual flush
Urinal - .125 GPF (pint flush) urinal
Lavatory faucet - 0.5 GPM
Kitchen/janitorial sink - 2.2 GPM
Shower - 1.5 GPM

Some water conservation methods include:
-Low-flow faucets and shower heads, dual flush toilets, and waterless urinals across campus.
-Individual building level water meters in Clark, Roper, Gray, McCabe, Katzen, Nebraska Hall, and SIS which allow us to catch water leaks early.
-Replacement of older washing machines with newer, ENERGY STAR models, which use 43% less water than a standard washing machine.
-Planting of native and adaptive plant species used across campus to minimize irrigation water usage.
-A computerized irrigation system capable of adjusting water usage based on weather and rainfall patterns.

All new buildings that have been built since 2010 are required to be LEED certified, which requires increased water efficiency.

Website URL where information about the institution’s water conservation and efficiency efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

2005 baseline year data = fiscal year 2006; 2005 baseline year population data = Academic year 2004-2005.

For the performance year, 3201 New Mexico Ave has been excluded as it has been in the rest of the report. AU owns the building and has some offices there, but there are additional tenants that are independently operated and not part of university operations (dry cleaning, restaurants, deli, other offices).

FY19 data was used due to the impacts of COVID-19 on FY20 data.

Potable water use per capita decreased about the same rate (~50%) in the District of Columbia in the same time frame (since 2005, data available on https://waterdata.usgs.gov). Water efficient upgrades, code changes, metering, and intentional irrigation all contributed to such a large decrease in potable water usage. Campus population and square footage increased by a considerable amount in this time frame, but systems were built and operated with efficiency in mind so that the total potable water usage still decreased.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.