Holy Names University (HNU) saved more than 7 million gallons of water in University-wide water usage this year compared to last year, which represents a drop in usage of about 19,000 gallons per day. HNU’s successful conservation of water resources is due to the continuing effort to locate and repair leaks and the recent installation of low-flow (1.2 gpf) toilets on campus.
The decrease in water usage is part of the University’s long-term sustainability plans. In October 2014, HNU activated the solar panel array on the roof of the Valley Center for the Performing Arts (VCPA). The solar panels produce approximately 162,000 kilowatt-hours for the University and ensure that the VCPA is energy self-sufficient. Since 2007, HNU has successfully increased the efficiency of its on-campus systems by installing new boilers and replacing piping insulation; reviving the on-site spring water storage and irrigation systems; installing low-flow showerheads and toilets; switching to drought-tolerant plants for landscaping; using LED lights for street and parking lot lighting, and by moving towards an LED lighting minimum standard.
Stuart Koop, vice president for finance and administration, and Luis Guerra ’02, MBA ’04, assistant vice president for facilities and events, have led HNU’s sustainability efforts and the initiative to decrease the campus’s water consumption. “The University is doing its part to conserve water—which is always important, but especially during a time of such severe and widespread drought,” Koop said. “HNU operates in accordance with the values of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and one of the corporate stands of the Sisters is that water is a human right. As a University community, we have made a commitment to sustainability and conservation.”