How Duke manages water is one of the key sustainability solutions for its Durham campus. 

The Facilities Energy Management team has aggressively worked to reduce the amount of potable water used on campus, resulting in a 28% reduction of overall campus potable water use, even as the campus adds new buildings.


Water-saving measures implemented across campus include:

  • Building Duke Chilled Water Utility Plant # 3.
  • Constructing the 10-acre Duke Water Reclamation Pond, which collects storm water runoff for reuse in the chilled-water cooling system, saving approximately 100 million gallons of potable water each year.
  • Constructing a piping system to collect condensate and returning it for reuse at Chilled Water Plant #2.
  • Auditing the top fifty water-using buildings on campus and adding water-conserving plumbing hardware.
  • Installing tanks that can hold up to 10,000 gallons of storm, cistern, and reclaimed water.
  • Requiring new construction and renovation projects to install the best-available water efficient plumbing hardware.
  • Using state-of-the-art technology such as a cyclical process water cooling, cooling tower water recovery, condensing economizer and water meters.

Faculty, staff and students can continue to save water by turning water off while washing hands, and reporting leaks, dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing leaks and dripping faucets can save hundreds of gallons a year.

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