Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.30
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date May 31, 2024

STARS v2.2

Boston University
OP-21: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.94 / 4.00 Stephen Ellis
Director, Data Analytics
BU 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 433,494,248 Gallons 434,888,206.41 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 433,494,248 Gallons 434,888,206.41 Gallons

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2022 June 30, 2023
Baseline Period July 1, 2005 June 30, 2006

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

The water use baseline year is FY2006, the same as the greenhouse gas and other sustainability performance baselines.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 11,441 11,185
Number of employees resident on-site 191 181
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 29,964 24,623
Full-time equivalent of employees 9,780 8,439
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 1,505 1,605
Weighted campus users 31,587.25 26,434.25

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 13,723.71 Gallons 16,451.69 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 15,591,247 Gross square feet 13,426,870 Gross square feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 27.80 Gallons per square foot 32.39 Gallons per square foot

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

Area of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Vegetated grounds 34.30 Acres 30 Acres

Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds 12,638,316.27 Gallons per acre 14,496,273.55 Gallons per 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:

Boston University has building-level metering across campus, including sewer abatement meters on cooling towers and irrigation. The University has a decentralized irrigation program with over 140 irrigation systems (approximately 50% incorporate drip irrigation) installed across the Charles River Campus. All these irrigation systems incorporate localized rain sensors to reduce water waste. Below are a few initiatives worth noting:

  • Completed in June of 2012, the Medical Student Residence (MSR) at 815 Albany Street uses landscape features that are designed to require as little water as possible and uses 100% rainwater harvesting for irrigation, resulting in an 11% reduction in water used for the project. In addition, MSR uses drought-tolerant landscaping to reduce potable water consumption for irrigation.

  • The New Balance Field uses a rainwater storage tank; in addition to rainwater, the tank captures and reuses the water that is released onto the field by the six water cannons used to wet the playing surface before and during field hockey games, as required by NCAA rules.

  • BU has seven Certified Green Restaurants on campus. As part of the certification, certain requirements are met that include low-flow, pre-rinse spray valves in dishrooms, low-flow nozzles on prep and hand sinks, as well as Energy Star rated dish machines. Marciano Commons, a dining room on campus, is built in a LEED Gold building and employs state-of-the-art energy savings infrastructure such as a heat recovery system for both HVAC and water heating.

  • At the Yawkey Center for Student Services, located at 100 Bay State Road, water passing through the compost disposal system in the commercial kitchen is recycled throughout the day.

  • In 2008, Dining Services eliminated the use of trays in all residential dining halls. By doing so, we reduced our water use by an estimated 35,000 gallons per week as well as reduced food waste by 30%.

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

Below are a few initiatives worth noting:

  • The Medical Student Residence has reduced water use in the building by 40% through the installation of features such as low-flow kitchen and lavatory faucets, and showers.

  • The Center for Student Services at 100 Bay State Road features similar low-flow plumbing and kitchen fixtures.

  • Located in many places on campus, the EcoPower hydro turbine in faucets and toilets are powered by the motion of the water running through them; this motion creates an electrical current, which is then stored in rechargeable cells that power the Smart Sensor Systems.

  • Dual-flush toilets can also be found in around 25 locations on campus and throughout all 26 floors at 33 Harry Agganis Way (Student Village 2). 

  • Waterless urinals are in use at 670 Albany Street.

  • Clothes washing machines in campus housing have been replaced with high-efficiency machines.

  • Dishwashers at the Yawkey Center for Student Services have a built-in heat recovery system that uses exhaust heat from freezer compressors to preheat rinse water, significantly reducing water and energy usage. In addition, these dishwashers only use about 60 gallons of water compared to the 300 gallons per hour used by a conventional commercial dishwasher.

  • Low-flow showerheads and toilets, as well as sewer abatement meters, are employed by BU.

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

This represents FY2022 BU Metrics. We have identified an inaccurate representation of "Area of vegetated grounds" in the past few submissions the acres from PRE-4 were applied to this value. We have updated this section based on the estimated values determine on the "Landscape Management" credit OP-9. In the coming years, BU will be able to have a more accurate assessment of its vegetated ground through its updated space management system.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.