Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.84
Liaison Kalyna Procyk
Submission Date June 6, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Muhlenberg College
OP-22: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.00 / 5.00 Jim Bolton
Assistant Director
Plant Operations
"---" 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’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas:
Medium to High

Total water use (potable and non-potable combined):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water use --- 63,815,559 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 26,078,551 Gallons 63,815,559 Gallons

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2016 June 30, 2017
Baseline Year July 1, 2012 June 30, 2013

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

The baseline is the year several water significant water conservation strategies were adopted for implementation the following year.


Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 2,017 2,281
Number of employees resident on-site 10 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 2,503.88 2,490.68
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 603 492
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 2,836.91 2,807.26

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 9,192.59 Gallons 22,732.33 Gallons

Percentage reduction in potable water use per weighted campus user from baseline:
59.56

Gross floor area of building space:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Gross floor area 1,488,494 Gross Square Feet 1,451,443 Gross Square Feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 17.52 Gallons / GSF 43.97 Gallons / GSF

Percentage reduction in potable water use per unit of floor area from baseline:
60.15

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 3 of this credit? (reductions in total water use per acre/hectare of vegetated grounds):
Yes

Area of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Vegetated grounds 172.80 Acres 172.80 Acres

Total water use (potable + non-potable) per unit of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water use per unit of vegetated grounds 0 Gallons / Acre 369,303.00 Gallons / Acre

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

A brief description of the institution's water-related behavior change initiatives, e.g. initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices such as signage and competitions:

Behavior change, e.g., initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices such as signage and competitions. Low-flow showerheads, sinks, and toilets have been installed in the bathrooms.
Muhlenberg College does use xeriscape-landscaping techniques, including the selection of drought tolerant plants. Muhlenberg College gives preference native drought resistant plant species to reduce the necessity to irrigate.
Muhlenberg College does use weather data or weather sensors to automatically adjust irrigation practices. Weather data is used to determine whether rain is in the forecast. Plant Operations will adjust the automatic watering systems to adjust so that they do not go off if it is suppose to rain.
Plant Ops made a choice to switch to native plants and drought resistant plants; in the dryer months, the grass was allowed to go dormant to cut down on water use.
Plant Ops purchased a water gallon – a 250 gallon water tank that directly waters plants on a selective basis rather than watering large areas with sprinklers.
Plant Ops has been doing repairs on infrastructure with steamline repairs and condensation lines to reduce leakage.


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

Muhlenberg College utilizes water retention ponds and underground storage. In one location, the retention pond water is re-used as hillside irrigation.


A brief description of the institution's initiatives to replace plumbing fixtures, fittings, appliances, equipment, and systems with water-efficient alternatives (e.g. building retrofits):

Water metering and management systems:
The Main Campus building are all metered and sub metered. All of Muhlenberg’s MILE properties are separately metered amounting to 81 buildings.
Building retrofit practices:
Low-flow showerheads, sinks, aerators, and toilets were installed in the bathrooms. Steam trap maintenance was conducted extensively. Efforts were made to proactively engaging in preventative maintenance to catch leaks. Steam lines were replaced during this time.
Replacement of appliances, equipment and systems with water-efficient alternatives:
Two major water conservation efforts were implemented at the level of the central physical plant. Additives were added to the boiler system water and the chilled water system to prevent those systems from building up deposits and necessitating frequent flushing of the water from the entire system. This has reduced the number of times the system needs to be flushed resulting in decreased water use.
Water-efficient landscape design practices:
Muhlenberg College does use xeriscape-landscaping techniques, including the selection of drought tolerant plants. Muhlenberg College gives preference to native drought resistant plant species to reduce the necessity of irrigation. In recent years, the College has very specifically selected these plants to thrive in this region without much if any additional water (aside from rain). Lawn design has also reflected a preference for little to no additional watering and a tolerance for allowing the lawn to be dormant at certain times. Muhlenberg has significantly changed its landscape watering to remove the use of hoses. If specific water is needed for planting, a 250 gallon water truck is utilized for that purposes. This represents a significant departure from previous practices.
Weather-informed irrigation technologies:
Muhlenberg College does use weather data or weather sensors to automatically adjust irrigation practices. Weather data is used to determine whether rain is in the forecast. Plant Operations will adjust the automatic watering systems to adjust so that they do not go off if it is suppose to rain.
Other water conservation and efficiency strategies:
Muhlenberg College has recently significantly reduced its water use by installing water efficient fixtures, adding water softeners to the hard Allentown water to reduce water flushing in the boiler and chiller systems, and dramatically reduced lawn and landscape watering by changing plantings and allowing grass to go dormant.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Tim Korn, Brett Fulton and Kalyna Procyk contributed to the reporting.

Numbers used to calculate “weighted campus users” for the performance year were obtained from the 2016-2017 Source Book.

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.