Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.69
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Emory University
OP-21: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.79 / 6.00 Kelly Weisinger
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
"---" 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:

Total water withdrawal (potable and non-potable combined):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal 275,988,716 Gallons 306,699,704 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 274,988,716 Gallons 304,735,000 Gallons

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period Sept. 1, 2018 Aug. 31, 2019
Baseline Period Sept. 1, 2015 Aug. 31, 2016

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

Emory's updated Sustainability Vision calls for a baseline of 2015, so that this decade of goals is measured from 2015-2025.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 4,479 4,352
Number of employees resident on-site 16 24
Number of other individuals resident on-site 712 702
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 15,214 14,521
Full-time equivalent of employees 16,664 14,676
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 85 9
Weighted campus users 25,680.50 23,687

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 10,708.07 Gallons 12,865.07 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 16,640,636 Gross Square Feet 10,641,529 Gross Square Feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 16.53 Gallons / GSF 28.64 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 489.28 Acres 489.28 Acres

Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds 564,071.12 Gallons / Acre 626,838.83 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:

The WaterHub at Emory is the first water reclamation facility of its kind in the U.S. and, by recycling sewage to usable water for heating and cooling campus buildings, reduces Emory’s water footprint by over 40%. The Water Hub docent program has educated more than 5,000 visitors since the facility opened, which includes water conservation and behavior change information.

During the reporting period, Emory University and Emory Healthcare participated in the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, with goals to reduce energy and water consumption 20% by 2020. Emory buildings were recognized as Top Performers for the greatest energy and water reduction every year.

Emory designates every February as Water Awareness Month, and conducts behavior change and educational programming and communications focused on water during this time.

Emory has informational signage on its water-related infrastructure projects such as bioswales and rain gardens, educating the community about the importance of stormwater management and watershed stewardship.

Emory's voluntary Green Offices and Green Labs programs educate and reward behavior change toward water use reduction.

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

The Water Hub at Emory reclaims and reuses up to 400,000 gallons of water per day for make up water in our chiller plants and steam plant, as well as for toilet flushing at the Hub and in a residence hall. In 2019, Emory’s WaterHub displaced nearly 66 million gallons of potable water to Emory’s major utility plants, providing 75% of total make-up to cooling towers around campus. This volume is not included in the water withdrawal numbers to eliminate double-counting.

Emory installed rainwater collection cisterns from which we draw irrigation water, and an underground storage system that collects rainwater for use in flushing toilets in two of our residence halls. These cisterns decrease Emory's potable water consumption by approximately 1 million gallons of potable water per year.

A unique graywater system collects shower and sink water and repurposes it for use in flushing toilets in two other residence halls.

Emory's steam plants harvest condensate water for reuse.

A closed-loop laser system helps the Math and Science Center save 2.8 million gallons of water per year.

Completed in 2017, the Emory University Hospital Tower is the first LEED certified hospital building at Emory. It is designed to use 30% less water than a typical hospital through water-saving fixtures, and is designed to recover approximately 2.5 million gallons of water annually through condensate recovery.

Emory has ambitious goals to use water resources even more efficiently in the coming years, and we are diligently working toward by 2025:
* All of the water for heating, cooling, toilet-flushing and other non-potable needs across all Emory facilities will be supplied by rainwater and grey water as opposed to treated drinking water.
* Emory will use half the water that it did in 2015.

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

During major renovations, plumbing fixtures that are in need of replacement are replaced with low-flow fittings. Specific hardware is defined in Emory's design and construction standards and have been incorporated due to their conservation benefit as well as performance and ease of maintenance.

Green Labs at Emory offers funding for initiatives to make research and teaching labs more sustainable, and frequently funded projects include water-saving equipment and process changes, such as replacing water aspirators and single-pass-through cooling with recirculating vacuum pumps. https://sustainability.emory.edu/programs/green-labs-at-emory/

Emory employs smart irrigation technology known as UgMO (underground monitoring). UgMO uses specialized sensors buried in the soil to detect moisture levels. The system then uses algorithms to determine how much irrigation water is needed to maintain a healthy landscape while minimizing water waste.

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

Data reported for 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Emory is in the Chattahoochee River watershed, which is designated High physical risk for quantity by the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.

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.