Virginia Tech took another stride toward sustainability this summer when Housing and Residence Life replaced 266 showerheads in 21 residence halls.
Traditional showerheads were replaced with more energy and water efficient models that use 2.5 gallons of water per minute, compared to the 3.5 gallons that previous traditional models used. Before this summer, a limited number of low-flow models were installed in a few residence halls.
A student in Slusher Hall noticed these low-flow showerheads and submitted a proposal to Green RFP, a program that takes student sustainability projects and puts them into action.
The proposal was originally only for Slusher Hall, but was later extended to more residence halls.
“After we looked at the cost of putting the showerheads in Slusher we asked what was required to extend this idea to other buildings, and other residence halls,” said Denny Cochrane, sustainability program manager.
Thousands of students living in residence halls may not have noticed the small change, but it's slated to save about 23 million gallons of water. This initiative will also cut down the university’s water bill by $45,000 a year.
“We wanted to install these showerheads across the whole outfit to reduce water consumption,” said Tim Gift, associate director for facilities management.
The new showerheads are longer and sit lower— a negative point for taller students.
“We’ve gotten some negative feedback on how low they are, especially in some of the older buildings where the showerheads are situated lower on the wall,” Gift said.
Installation of new showerheads went smoothly and wrapped up before students returned to campus this fall.