Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.31
Liaison Natalie Walker
Submission Date Aug. 9, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Pennsylvania
OP-21: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.31 / 5.00 Natalie Walker
Sustainability Manager
Penn 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:
Medium to High

Total water withdrawal (potable and non-potable combined):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal 783,733,456 Gallons 844,883,204 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 783,733,456 Gallons 844,883,204 Gallons

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2019 June 30, 2020
Baseline Period July 1, 2008 June 30, 2009

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

The water baseline year corresponds to the release of the "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0", in October of 2019.


Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 4,386 6,310
Number of employees resident on-site 259 244
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 23,770 21,454
Full-time equivalent of employees 18,367 14,415
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 378 0
Weighted campus users 32,480.50 28,540.25

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 24,129.35 Gallons 29,603.22 Gallons

Percentage reduction in potable water use per weighted campus user from baseline:
18.49

Gross floor area of building space:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Gross floor area 16,164,770 Gross Square Feet 15,089,426 Gross Square Feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 48.48 Gallons / GSF 55.99 Gallons / GSF

Percentage reduction in potable water use per unit of floor area from baseline:
13.41

Area of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Vegetated grounds 74 Acres 72 Acres

Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds 10,590,992.65 Gallons / Acre 11,734,488.94 Gallons / Acre

Percentage reduction in total water withdrawal per unit of vegetated grounds from baseline:
9.74

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

The Water Center at Penn is a trans-disciplinary applied research center focused on solving today's urban water challenges. Aligning the University of Pennsylvania's academic resource with water practitioner expertise, the Water Center at Penn combines policy, science, and technology to create equitable, resilient, and sustainable solutions. The Water Center regularly hosts events aimed at educating the Penn community about emerging water issues. https://watercenter.sas.upenn.edu/recorded-events/

In 2019, the Water Center at Penn hosted an Urban Water Sustainability workshop in collaboration with the Urban Water Innovation Network to discuss opportunities for involvement with the $12M National Science Foundation Sustainability Research Network.


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 irrigation.

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:

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.


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 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 2019 "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0". This submission documents Penn's efforts during the FY20 year and compares them to the FY09 baseline year which corresponds with the University's "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan. 3.0". 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.

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