Water Metering and Conservation

Project Leads: Lindsay Miller & Elliot Nahman

Sponsor: Berkeley Institute of the Environment
TGIF Grant: $58,600

Project Theme: Water Conservation & Tap Water

Project Location

2010 Application Submission

Status: Complete

Project Description: This project carried out phase II of 2009 TGIF Grant Project Water Metering and Sub-Metering of UC Campus Buildings by expanding the building scale metering to include eight additional buildings. The installations provide real-time online water metering of all water consumed in these campus buildings. The project also upgraded bathroom fixtures in these eight buildings to ultra-high efficiency rates. The project connected building meters to the Obvius System in Etcheverry, Valley Life Sciences Building, Stanley, Dwinelle, MLK Jr. Student Union, Cory, Soda, and Minor Addition.

Goals: Order and install meters that are compatible with the Obvius System. Work with the UC Campus Dashboard project to provide the Dashboard with real-time water-use data. Provide campus sustainability initiatives with water data and assist the campus in reaching water conservation goals. Attain progress and credits toward LEED EB certification of campus buildings. Help the University identify leaks and other water maintenance issues by providing the data. Save campus funding by avoiding human labor to manually read water meters. Educate the campus community about their water consumption habits. Assist CACS with its 2009-2010 focus on campus water issues.

2011 Poster

2010-2011 Accomplishments
The Water Metering projects (see also Water Metering and Sub-Metering project) installed and upgraded meters in 21 buildings with the help of PP-CS, connecting these meters to the campus Obvius server so that real-time metering updates can be viewed online. The project leaders

  • Upgraded meters in 15 buildings: Evans, Dwinelle, Hearst Mining, Hilgard, Koshland, Kroeber, Latimer, LeConte, Life Sciences Addition, Martin Luther King, McCone, Minor Addition, Stanley, University, and Wurster Hall.
  • Purchased meters for installation and connection with Obvius in Barrows, Birge, Boalt, California, Cory, Lawrence Hall of Science, Simon, and Tan Hall.
  • Installed nine sub-building meters in Wurster Hall.
  • Collaborated with PP-CS on connecting electric and steam meters to Obvius in Barrows, Birge, Boalt, California, Cory, and Simon Halls.
  • Conducted a water audit on every toilet and urinal in Wurster Hall using ultrasonic water meters to determine gallons of water per flush, finding that that 71% of fixtures use more than their rated 1.6 gallons per flush, around 2-4 g/flush, with several at 5 gallons per flush. The sub-meter data will be used for leak detection and occupancy use.

Final Report

The Water Metering and Sub-metering project and the Water Metering and Conservation project were not without their challenges. The project leaders had intended to replace ten fixtures in the Wurster bathrooms with ten water efficient and dual flush fixtures, but the equipment slated for installation did not match PP-CS's required fixtures. Because the fixture installations were not completed, a post-water efficiency audit was not feasible for the Wurster fixtures. 
Other challenges faced by the project leaders included managing a delayed project timeline and managing unforeseen expenses. Despite these challenges, it is a major accomplishment to have installed meters in 21 buildings and to have their data readily available online for the campus. The meters can count towards points in the LEED Certification process. The data could be used by the Energy Management OE initiative, for education and outreach, and for potential conservation competitions between building occupants. For now, the data will be displayed by the UC Berkeley Campus Dashboard project and will help PP-CS detect leaks in a timely manner, saving on labor and water costs. In the future, the data may be displayed by the Pulse Energy Dashboards.

Final Update: The project leaders met with PPCS in May 2012 and the latest figure was that 67 water meters had been installed/upgraded as a result of the collaborative project efforts. All of these meters will be connected with the Obvius system if they are not already connected.

Obvius results in Stanley

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.