MHC Students Save Water and Money

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 10:45am

Posted: May 23, 2007

As a project for their Environmental Studies Senior Seminar in fall 2006, Courtney Moore '07 and Nathalie Cooper '07 have successfully implemented a new water conservation plan on campus. What began as a simple project for a community-based learning class sparked an interest in larger water conservation ambitions. Working closely with facilities management plumbing supervisor Jim Moynihan, the two decided that water savings would be most effectively achieved by altering faucet flow in dorms. This was accomplished by switching the faucet screens, effectively changing the flow from 2.2 gallons per minute to 0.5 gallons per minute without significantly affecting water pressure.

Moore and Cooper initially tested the project on one floor of Buckland Hall. They informed students in advance about the change and polled them after the installation. Responses to the project were positive. Moore and Cooper then met with Mary Jo Maydew, vice president for finance and administration, to discuss a budget for the project. They projected annual water savings of approximately 7,318,500 gallons, which translates into a monetary savings of $29,274 based on current water prices, with a minimal installation cost. This does not include energy costs incurred by water heating, which will amount to greater savings. Implementation will occur shortly in all buildings on campus, helping to further the goal of a greener Mount Holyoke. "Their work is an example of purposeful community engagement at its best," said their seminar instructor Lauret Savoy, professor of geology and Leslie and Sarah Miller Director of the Center for the Environment.

The students are pleased with the results of their efforts. "Changing something so small is great," Moore said. "It supports the whole conservation philosophy."

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