Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.77
Liaison Andrew Porter
Submission Date March 6, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Cincinnati
OP-21: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
2.98 / 4.00 Daniel Hart
Sustainability Coordinator
Planning + Design + Construction
"---" 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 549,540,773.00 Gallons 584,137,587.08 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 328,739,079.36 Gallons 426,644,240 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 July 1, 2008 June 30, 2009

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

For consistency's sake we have adopted a 2009 baseline across the board for all STARS operational credits, as that is the earliest year for which we have strong consistent data sets across categories.


Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 6,285 5,200
Number of employees resident on-site 0 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 33,419 26,055
Full-time equivalent of employees 7,108 7,403
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 2,582 0
Weighted campus users 30,030 26,393.50

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 10,947.02 Gallons 16,164.75 Gallons

Percentage reduction in potable water use per weighted campus user from baseline:
32.28

Gross floor area of building space:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Gross floor area 14,911,353 Gross Square Feet 13,705,694 Gross Square Feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 22.05 Gallons / GSF 31.13 Gallons / GSF

Percentage reduction in potable water use per unit of floor area from baseline:
29.18

Area of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Vegetated grounds 239 Acres 234 Acres

Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds 2,299,333.78 Gallons / Acre 2,496,314.47 Gallons / Acre

Percentage reduction in total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds from baseline:
7.89

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

The University of Cincinnati (UC) takes the conservation of water seriously throughout the daily operation of its buildings—as evidenced by UC’s commitment to building all its new buildings or large- scale renovations to LEED standards. In existing buildings, facility staff are given comprehensive training on detecting and fixing water leaks as soon as discovered. From a purchasing perspective, it is the policy of UC facilities to install high efficiency water fixtures, where appropriate water saving technologies exist. UC’s water conservation policies also extend to the proper maintenance of the utility plant’s chilled water and steam distribution and return systems. These utility systems utilize a vast amount of water and the proper return and reuse of this water represents an enormous ongoing savings for the campus. These building-centered water management strategies parallels additional efforts on the campus to manage storm water runoff and minimize harmful impacts to the larger Cincinnati sewer system.


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

The University of Cincinnati has worked diligently to try and handle water in the most efficient, conservative, and multi-functional ways possible. Some of the ways this is achieved involves water conservation strategies campus wide through the use of chilled water to regulate building temperatures, harvesting water for irrigation and retention purposes, incorporating pervious hardscapes, and sustainable landscaping. Additionally, UC has a series of underground retention basins to hold water and slow its release during heavy rain events, in the pursuit of reducing UC's contribution to Combined Sewer Overflow events. The following are of the water saving initiatives UC has put in place. UC has converted building cooling system technology to recirculating water systems. The two utility plants have installed technology to reuse water that used to be lost from the boilers, the cooling tower, and chillers.

Currently, the University has two extensive green roofs, one on the DAA addition of the DAAP complex and one on Procter Hall. The University also has the Zimmer Hall Roof Garden that functions as a green roof. The new College of Business also feature an intensive green roof. In addition to reducing the amount of stormwater runoff and lessening the probability of combined sewer overflow events, green roofs are multi-functional as they reduce the urban heat island effect, provide habitat, enhance biodiversity, reduce heating and cooling costs of buildings, and add aesthetic, rejuvenating, and biophilic qualities.

Bioswales are a form of green infrastructure that work to sequester and retain stormwater in order to reduce the possibility of combined sewer overflow events, assist with irrigation, filter out contaminants, and keep water on site. The University has a number of bioswales, most notably the Teachers-Dyer Complex courtyard and in the parking lot of the 1819 Innovation Hub.


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

UC also promotes the conservation of water and has installed low-flow toilets and other fixtures wherever possible. Annually, UC hosts a Residence Hall Conservation challenge to encourage residence hall students to compete to see which hall can conserve the most water.


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