Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.83
Liaison Parker Long
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Virginia Commonwealth University
OP-22: Water Use

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.36 / 5.00 Joseph Costa
Sustainability Projects and Program Coordinator
"---" 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 --- 320,726,000 Gallons

Potable water use:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use 303,364,000 Gallons 310,816,150 Gallons

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year June 30, 2016 July 1, 2017
Baseline Year June 30, 2007 July 1, 2008

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

The water use baseline was adopted in 2008 to coincide with the 2008 emissions baseline.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users":
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 5,157 4,706
Number of employees resident on-site 12 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 28,377 23,884
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 7,931 5,210
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 1,325 0
Weighted campus users 27,529.50 22,997

Potable water use per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per weighted campus user 11,019.60 Gallons 13,515.51 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 8,142,593 Gross Square Feet 3,820,371 Gross Square Feet

Potable water use per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Potable water use per unit of floor area 37.26 Gallons / GSF 81.36 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 720 Acres 224 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 1,431,812.50 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:

VCU introduced a rainwater garden as well as a new bayscaping initiative. The Grace E. Harris Hall Rain Garden is the first of it's kind at VCU. Promoted by the student organization, Green Unity for VCU, the planting of the garden was an opportunity for students to come together and help to “green” the VCU campus. The rain garden is planted in flowering species native to Virginia and is a small oasis of natural beauty in the middle of campus for students to gather and enjoy. The purpose of the rain garden is to reduce the pollution flowing into the James River by reducing stormwater runoff. As rainwater flows across roads, lawns and other impervious surfaces, the runoff collects chemicals, fertilizers and other pollutants. The rain garden captures the runoff from impervious or paved surfaces that would normally drain into the James River and Chesapeake Bay. The plants absorb the runoff, where toxins and sediments are filtered and retained in the soil, therefore reducing the amount of runoff making its way downstream. Rain gardens help to manage the amount and more importantly, the quality of stormwater runoff.The Bayscape Landscaping (bayscaping) at the Trani Center for Life Sciences is conservation landscaping that benefits wildlife, the James River and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. This type of landscaping uses native plants to reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff, filter pollutants and reduce landscape maintenance costs at VCU.

Bayscaping reduces the amount of time needed to care for a landscape since all of the plants are locally adapted. It also reduces the amount of water used for irrigation and the use of chemical fertilizers. By installing bayscapes in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we are helping to improve the water quality of local streams, the James River, the Chesapeake Bay and the habitat that the area provides for its wildlife.

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

Rainwater is collected and stored in a 12,000 gallon cistern and is used for landscape irrigation at the Cary Street Gym on the Monroe Park Campus. Rainwater is also captured for irrigation at the VCU Rice Center.

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):

VCU replaces plumbing fixtures and fittings on an ongoing basis and always replaces outdated equipment with the most efficient option possible.

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

Vegetated Grounds Acres includes Monroe Park Campus , Medical Campus, Ashland Farm and Rice Center for Performance Year. Rice Center was not included for the Baseline year.

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.