Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Natalie Walker
Submission Date Feb. 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Pennsylvania
OP-22: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
0.00 / 5.00 Madeline Schuh
Sustainability Analyst
Facilities and Real Estate Services
"---" 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 --- 757,800,500 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 976,771,800 Gallons 757,800,500 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, 2013 June 30, 2014

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

The water baseline year corresponds to the release of the "Climate Action Plan 2.0", in October of 2014.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 6,380 6,494
Number of employees resident on-site 50 50
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 50 50
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 21,358 21,296
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 17,354 16,710
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 30,691.50 30,190.50

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 31,825.48 Gallons 25,100.63 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 15,864,661 Gross Square Feet 15,493,215 Gross Square Feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 61.57 Gallons / GSF 48.91 Gallons / GSF

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

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

Area of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Vegetated grounds 73.90 Acres 72.10 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 10,510,409.15 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:

The Sustainability Office has run several campaigns targeted at reducing water use by students. In 2012, students applied for a Penn "Green Fund Grant" to implement a digital shower timer project, to track water use in showers in two of Penn’s eleven College Houses. The "Digital Shower Timer" Project's goals were to save water and to encourage lifelong sustainable conservation policies. In response, 200 digital shower timers, divided evenly between Hill College House and one of the Quad College Houses, were installed during Summer 2012. The student project team monitored water usage results on a monthly basis. Different signs and techniques were used on different halls of the same dorm and analyzed to discover the most effective timer and signage combination. See https://www.sustainability.upenn.edu/get-involved/green-fund/digital-shower-timers-project

In 2011, a different Green Fund Grant was awarded to Chi Omega sorority to implement a series of water conservation retrofits at their Chapter house. Retrofits installed over the summer of 2011 included low-flow faucet aerators and showerheads, dual flush toilets, and a rain barrel. In addition to the retrofits, Chi Omega hosted a pledge-based conservation competition between the eight sororities on campus in conjunction with Fall 2011 Greek Week.

In 2011, the Penn Women’s Center installed a rain cistern that captures rainwater used to flush the toilet on the ground floor public toilet in the building. Signage explains how the cistern works and the importance of water conservation.

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

Several projects across Penn's campus reuse rainwater for irrigation. Of note are two new open green space projects on Penn’s campus that collect and store rainwater used for irrigating the same planted spaces, helping to reduce water use, improve water quality and minimize runoff. Shoemaker Green, a 2.75 acre public commons, features a 20,000 gallon cistern that captures rainwater. This Green is also designed to capture condensate from air conditioning units in the adjacent building for reuse.

At Penn Park, a 24 acre park for recreation and sports activity, stormwater is captured in a 300,000 gallon cistern, where it is stored and pumped out as needed for irregation.
The Penn Women's Center has a basement cistern that captures rainwater, which is used to flush the toilet on the ground floor as a demonstration project and to build student awareness.

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):

Penn follows the Philadelphia Plumbing Code as a guide for maximum flow rates, and has updated old fixtures to reduce water waste in all of its older buildings as they are renovated. The current water flow rates are as follows:
In public bathrooms all faucets have 2.2 gpm aerators, toilets are 1.6 or 1.28 gallons per flush, and shower heads are 2.2 gpm.

In 2010, all showers in student residences and the gymnasia were updated to reduce water flow and comply with current standards.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The University of Pennsylvania is a major research institution, with over 3,000 degrees granted annually from twelve professional and academic schools at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels. Penn is committed to reducing emissions and energy use, as stated in the 2014 "Climate Action Plan 2.0". This submission documents Penn's efforts during the FY17 year and compares them to the FY14 baseline year which corresponds with the University's "Climate Action Plan. 2.0". The submission relies on information related to the main, academic, West Philadelphia campus, but to more fully document efforts across the Penn system, information related to the Morris Arboretum and New Bolton has also been referenced and noted as outside the boundary in descriptions. The information is used to enrich examples of University efforts and is not intended to be the primary justification for credits. The responses for each of the questions and sub-questions are drawn from University materials, both internal and public documents. Each section notes the website where the information can be found.

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.