UAB’s Energy Management has been conserving water with several initiatives. Here are a couple of existing and proposed projects:
Water cooled equipment was replaced with air cooled equipment or recirculation systems in eight buildings, resulting is a savings of 31,755,227 gallons of water per year, not to mention the sewer fees. The original equipment used domestic water one time for cooling and then discharged it to the drain system. The water savings is estimated at $107,819 per year.
Fire pump testing
Weekly required 10 minute surge tests of building fire pumps consist of proving the fire pump’s actual pressurized water flow by making water physically activate necessary system interlocks. At 1,200 gallons per minute, this mandated process can result in over 40,000 gallons of water per month entering the storm sewer system. By piping the exiting water back to the suction-side of the fire pump, the water is reused.
Standard specifications call for rain check devices designed to shut irrigations down in the event of heavy rains. Several existing irrigation systems have been retrofitted with rain checks. Standard specifications call for systems to be designed for plant specific dedicated irrigation zones. This allows for the amount of water delivered to the planting zone to be plant specific. In the landscape design process, drought tolerant plant selections are preferred. Shearing is avoided because it promotes rapid succulent growth which requires more water. Mowing blades are sharpened at regular intervals to provide a clean cut edge of the grass blade which provides more efficient water use by the plant, thereby requiring less irrigation.
Energy Management has hired an engineering firm to assist in designing systems to capture ground water for non-potable uses at UAB, such as irrigation. Several UAB buildings in low-lying areas have natural ground water infusions that require sumps and pumps to pump the ground water to storm drains. Methods are being investigated to capture and reuse this water for irrigation. This reduces storm water discharge and reduces the purchase of utility potable water.